Over the past decades, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has implicated itself in numerous conflicts across the globe with the endeavor of offering practicable solutions to inherent political upheavals. The present conflicts in Libya and the on going militant aggressions in parts of the Middle East are a few areas in which the world has witnessed its attachment. However, despite its efforts of promoting global peaceful coexistence amid nations, it has, in numerous occasions, faced criticisms for its way of handling crucial instances of human rights violations. This write up examines the powers of the United Nations Security Council with greater emphasis on the problematic issue of expanding its peacekeeping remit. The paper focuses on the motivational reasons behind its formation at the done of the second global conflict, its objectives, powers and failures in addressing it prime objectives.
The United Nations Security Council is the key U.N appendage tasked with the principal objective of fostering international peace and security. It has a foundation that dates back to1946 at the done of the Second World War. Crisell (2007) reiterates that the formation of the United Nations Security Council emanated as a consequences of the second global conflict. The need for global tranquility possible to propagate the fittingly desirable economic expansion acted as a motivation for its conception.
The institute, formed to exemplify the benefits of coexistence and global peace among nations, aimed to promote peace in nations across the globe and act to avoid the consequences of another global confrontation. De Wet (2004, p.123) denotes that since its formation, the organization has faced shores of criticism including its handling of global conflicts and the handling of groupings accused of violating human rights across the world. Similarly, De Wet (2004) observes that many have over the years viewed it as a stage for holding international baseless talks. Nonetheless, she is indicative of the certain areas that it has excelled by restoring peace through introduction of fiscal sanctions on belligerent and dictatorial regimes.
The institute is the most authoritative unit of the United Nations organization. It comprises representatives from fifteen nations with two categories of membership. A clique of members is termed permanent as they enjoy unending membership to the union (Vanhulle, 2009). At the onset of the entity, the organization had five permanent members, who were the victors of the second global conflict. The list included the United Kingdom, Taiwan, the USSR and France. Over the years, a revision of the initial group has resulted in the inclusion of the peoples’ republic of China as a replacement for Taiwan in 1973. Similarly, following the crumble of the USSR, Russia assumed the ensuing available position in 1991. Currently, the five nations comprising the special body include China, United Kingdom, Russia, States and France (Hurd, 2008).
According to Hurd (2008, p. 242), the other ten members have an impermanent association that expires every two years. Their election is on the basis of their geographical location and regional memberships across the globe. The regional groups do the proposition of these members before an approval by the U.N’s general assembly. Similarly, all the members of the entity are members of regional groupings. Such groupings include the African collection, The Latin America and Caribbean cluster, The Asian set, The Eastern Europe group and the western European assembly and other assemblies while the U.S.A is a stand alone entity. Each individual group’s contribution to the membership of the Security Council follows a predetermined allocation as follows. Africa proposes three members, Western Europe and other members contribute two associates, and Latin America and Caribbean add two, Asia two members while the Eastern Europe contributes the remaining one member (Hurd 2008, p. 242).
The composition of the permanent membership has over the decades raised criticism with nations like India, Japan, Germany and Brazil seeking its expansion to include twenty five nations (Crisell 2007). De Wet (2004, p. 12) denotes that, the expansion of the Security Council requires an approval by about two thirds of the overall U.N”s general assembly. Reportedly, the presidency of the council is a rotational activity among member countries based on the alphabetical order of their English names and lasts about one month. Each member of the Security Council must maintain a representative at all times within reach of the U.N headquarters in New York City to facilitate decision making in the event of an emergency.
Hurd (2008, p. 29) outlines the functions of the UNSC as to foster international peace and security in line with the guidelines of the UN’s propositions. It is bestowed the task of investigating disputes and events that may lead to a misunderstanding amid nations and report to the UN recommendations of dealing with such acts. Similarly, it impress on members to adopt non forceful means of dispute resolution such as economic sanctions to avert possible aggressions among nations, take forceful action against aggressive nations. Lastly, they participate in the formulation of strategies that aim at regulation of armaments. Hurd (2008, p.31) indicates that the council has the advisory function in the admission of novel members.
UNSC Veto Power
The major difference amid the provisional and undeviating membership of the UNSC is the veto power exhibited by the permanent members. De Wet (2004, p. 124) observes that this unlimited power exhibited by the five permanent member nations affords them the ability to shut down any scheme championed by member nations irrespective of the extent of support the scheme enjoys within the international community. The exercise of this power is evident when a disgruntled permanent member casts a negated vote on a significant draft resolution. According to Hurd (2008, p. 35), veto power had its foundations in the foregone league of nations back in the nineteen twenties.
The presence of up to fifteen members with veto power made decisions impossible to make. Each member could easily shut down any unfriendly ideas proposed in the league’s sessions. At the conception of the UNSC, nations sort to establish a similar right as this appeared favorable in the protection of each member state’s sovereignty, national rights and interests. Additionally, the benefits principle powers of the globe acting, as one in the solution of a global situation was apparently favorable to the chief countries (Hurd 2008).
It is evident from this preposition that the idea behind the UNSC establishment was to serve the self interests of the world superpowers right from the beginning. The need to establish the veto was to minimize conflicts a mid the powerful nations by ensuring the presence of an agreement on major issues. Additionally, it ensured that the UN had deficient capacity to issue directives that jeopardized any future actions by any of its founding members. However, it addressed the issue of bringing all the major powers together. Apparently, this had contributed to the breakup of the previous League of Nations, evident in the expulsion of the USSR 1939 (Hurd 2008). According to Vanhulle (2009), the provisions for Veto powers have their basis in chapter five of the charter of the United Nations and defined by article 27.
Since its inception, the principle of Veto has severally found applications in the functions of the UNSC and has formed a core factor in decisions made in the execution of its duties. Hurd (2008) reports that, over the decade, the number of resolutions vetoed had continuously increased reaching 215 by the year 2009. Reportedly, the cold war era saw a wide use of the principle reaching a maximum of five vetoes per year.
However, the past decade has witnessed a considerable decline in vetoes equaling an approximate one veto a year. Observably, the use of the veto has over the years reflected the ambassadorial stand of the vetoing nation on issues deemed sensitive to its national principles. The trepidation of the veto by permanent members of the UNSC has seen modest involvement of these members of the UNSC in international confrontations in which a colleague is involved. This was evident in the Vietnam hostilities of 1979, the Afghan war of 1979, Iraq conflict of 2003 and Georgian war of 2008 (Hurd2008).
In all the above mentioned conflicts, there was massive abuse of human rights. The conflicts meant to serve personal interests of the involved nations. The individuals who suffered the consequences of the ensued military aggressions did not deserve the levels suffering to which they were exposed. The inherent fear by the UNSC to act in all these accounts discredits its principle objective of subverting human suffering through the establishment of mediation among the wrangling nations.
These actions serve to confirm the already established view that the UNSC only acts to serve its interests (Hurd2008). Crisell (2007) denotes that while the lack of action by the UNSC was in some cases attributable to fear of the veto, certain cases they failed to upon owing to sheer lack of interest. Iran Iraq conflict of 1980- 1986 and the recent Darfur conflict of 2003are excellent instances in which despite the knowledge of the conflict, the UNSC simply failed to act. It is equally vital to put into perspective the recent Afghanistan and Iraqi wars in the critical investigation of the roles of the UNSC.
UNSC and Its handling of Global Diplomatic and Political Issues
Vanhulle (2009) observes that the United Nations has over 100000 peace keeping troops and staff around the globe. However, incidences warranting the use of these peace keepers to avert possible human suffering have occurred without any intervention from the intentional peace keepers. Crisell (2007) denotes that the issue of peace keeping is a function of the UN executed by the UNSC. Such discriminatory acts are a reflection of the general perception of the council about the stirring events.
The discriminatory way of handling diplomatic and political issues is evident in the 1994’s Rwandan Genocide. Crisell (2007) observes that Rwanda was a poor country deficient in natural minerals and dismal economic impacts to stir the thoughts of the UNSC. Furthermore, by 1994, they had limited political influence across the Africa continent to influence any interests of the permanent five. The ensuing political wrangling saw the deaths of over a million people. Vanhulle (2009) reports that the UNSC were well informed about the ongoing tribal cleansing but did extremely petite to rescue the situation. Reportedly, there was an inherent unwillingness among the fifteen member nations to send troops. According to Vanhulle (2009), there was no sufficient influence to rescue the situation.
Another case denoting the UNSC’s inability to mediate in conflicts is the 2003’s Darfur situation. Reportedly, the Sudanese government allegedly sponsored a group of militias called Janjaweed to commit acts of human rights violations to the indigenous Darfur population. The ensuing acts of racial cleansing and genocide left scores dead while a significant number of the remaining populace suffered from rape and extensive body mutilations. Vanhulle (2009) denotes that the intelligence concerning such actions reached the UNSC but they remained unresponsive and did little to alleviate their suffering. After numerous media reports, the UN through the African union assembled a small team to provide the necessary peace. However, the force lacked vital equipments and logistics to duly execute its duties. The troops were few and lacked proper preparation in handling the fastidious difficulty (Vanhulle 2009).
According to Vanhulle (2009), there is a general fear by any of the permanent five to involve itself in such activities. According to Vanhulle (2009), such direct involvement is indicative of permanent nation’s potential interest in such area. This is indicative of the little significance of these nations to the overall global agenda. Developing countries with poorly trained solders and murky influence on the Security Council are compelled to commit soldiers to such areas.
With insufficient training and equipments like choppers to execute their duties, they realized mixed achievements. Reportedly, only after an intensive media campaigns did a few of the permanent five unenthusiastically sent soldiers to the Darfur region. While these events, especially in the African continent, left the African UNSC ambassadors bitter, no official complaints fearing feasible political repercussions.
Contrastingly, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, there was a swift rejoinder from United States of America. Vanhulle (2009) attributes this to huge petroleum deposits Kuwait had at the time of the Iraqi invasion. As a one of the major exporter of oil to the U.S, the super power moved in alacrity to sabotage the attack. Crisell (2007) observes that, interestingly, no other member of the permanent five acted in any way to mediate in the conflict. This is attributable to the fear of future repercussions of such actions such as vetoing resolutions fronted by a member of the permanent five.
According to Hurd (2008, p. 126), the UN failed despondently in handling the cold war. Discussions on the issue by the UNSC were mugging debates that made little steps in unraveling the underlying problem. The UN failed to address the progressive armaments and development nuclear bombs. Hurd (2008) denotes that the present regulations and laws were lacking an appropriate implementation scheme that could compel the abolishment of the war. Similarly, the UNSC has failed to offer an enduring elucidation to the progressive Israeli Arab conflict. Hurd (2008) denotes that over the years, the Middle East issue has occupied massive debating time in UN’s sessions but, over the decades, the persistent deliberations have yielded exceedingly gloomy results.
Hurd (2008) observes that over the decades, Israel has faced unwarranted criticism from the members of the UNSC. Numerous UN resolutions passed over the past decades portrays Israel as culpable for the numerous incidences of human rights violation across the Middle East. However, there exists known massive human rights violation witnessed in countries like china and Russia that are unmentioned yet these nations are permanent members of the UNSC. Hurd (2008) notes that such discriminatory and biased reporting characterizes many resolutions past in the last decades aimed at curbing the Israeli influence.
According to Crisell 2007, over the past decades, the U.N has appeared to support militant groups with close association to terrorist groups. During the Israeli invasion of Uganda in 1976 to rescue Israeli civilians, there reports within the U.N circles condemning Israel’s lack of respect to Ugandan sovereignty. This stand was disturbing noting that Israeli civilians were captives under Palestine militants who received support from the Ugandan Government. Similarly, Crisell (2007) takes note of the anti-Semitic abuses directed at Israelites in the recent past at global events aimed at ironing out issues of the Middle East conflict.
UNSC and Moral disparagement
According to Crisell (2007), past leaders of the organization, have aced to point out mistakes the organization has found itself in over the past years. Notable is a former ambassador to the UN, Dore in his book, alleged that the organization has over the years lost its moral clarity upon which it was created. Crisell (2007) notes that the UNSC preaches democracy and uplifting and respecting human rights while at the same time accepts members reputed for massive violation of theses rights. These vies have acted to add to the growing perception that the UN is a club of rigid traditionalist concerned with championing individual rights and interests.
Crisell (2007) denotes another moral upheaval in regard to the influence the UNSC have on subsidiary UN organs like the United Nations population funds, UNPF. Reportedly, religious groupings have over the decades single out this UN organ as an avenue for channeling funds for forced abortions. Similarly, wrangles have emerged amid the permanent five over the control of the various funding organs within the UN.
UNSC and Administrative disparagement
Hurd (2008) recognizes that the permanent members of the UNSC have coined themselves a hub that permits unchecked powers of individual state. This is evident in the nuclear power capability of all the permanent members. It lacks a clear cut global representation of the member countries. This has persistently raised issues and led to other up coming member states questioning its commitment to global peace and stability (Hurd 2008, p. 165). There are persistent qualms with the term and conditions of service of the temporary member states. They persistently fight to have nations with no nuclear capacity involved in the permanent membership. Vanhulle (2009) denotes that it is discriminative to lock out member states deficient in nuclear technology out of the UNSC. They argue that, they represent a huge fraction of the global populace and thus deserves be heard.
The act of private meetings among the Permanent members before presenting their agreements to the overall UN council is termed dictatorial. Vanhulle (2009) denotes that such acts have persistently infuriated members of the UN council as they see it as an act that undermines their authority.
Reforms at the UNSC
Vanhulle (2009) denotes that the key to an overall change to the UN and its various organs is dependant on the possibility of altering the veto power of the permanent members. Hurd (2008) indicates that, while member states find the veto power disturbing and unnecessary, it is significant in ensuring a balance of power amid the global superpowers. It aids in keeping in check, the actions one powerful nation through the isolation of its proposed resolutions. Vanhulle (2009) denotes that the removal of the permanent five is essentially impossible. He points at the article 108 and 109 of the UN charter that gives the unilateral power to the Permanent five over the decision on the amendments of the UN charter. Seemingly, this is practically, impossible, as no nation would willingly surrender such amount of power (Vanhulle 2009).
De Wet (2004) denotes the UN general assembly’s resolution 377 as a possible avenue for amending the permanent five hold on global power. The resolution which explains that in the event of failure by the UNSC to act in maintenance of peace and security owing to a veto by one of the permanent five, then the general assembly is liable to take up the matter. This it will do under the auspice of emergency special session warranting it to requests for unscheduled meetings. Such meetings do not recognize the respective member’s veto powers and thus provides opportunity for implementing changes.
In the contemporary society, any institution persistently facing unanswered inquisitions about its legitimacy stands to crumble if those inquisitions fail to get a satisfactory and optimum answer. The emergence of such intentional organizations is in response to the rigidity inherent in organizations like the UN. The emerging economic superpowers like India and Brazil needs an avenue through which to address critical issues affecting their interest and the interest of their partners. The UN with its rigid UNSC has failed to address this quandary.