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The UN Security Council an underrepresented lot that needs reforms
October 09, 2007 – I will like to begin by asking this question, is the United Nations a credible organization? The answer will be yes and no, depending on the part of the Globe and in a country, the part or section where you belong. In Africa, the people of Western Sahara will say No, the people of the English-speaking provinces of Cameroon will offer a negative response and it will be the same for the people of Cabinda and Somaliland. While in the Middle East, if you ask the Kurds, what they think about the UN, their answer will certainly be that, its serves the interest of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. But if you ask a Palestinian, he will say the UN serves only the interest of Israel. But they forget to notice that, it is because of their extremism that they have not yet reached their collective and ultimate goal: sovereignty.
However, it depends on which part of the fence you belong, in order to adjudicate on the Israel /Palestinian conflict. Nonetheless, if you were to ask an Israelite what he/she thinks about the UN, he/she will certainly tell you that, the UN has become a hideout of all those who hate their existence and use the UN with frightening boldness, to call for the annihilation of the state of Israel. The case of the Iranian president is living proof that, the UN looks the other way whenever anti-Semitism is pronounced, especially by representatives of sovereign states such as Iran. In other words the UN is not credible to many. In Asia proper, if you ask the people of Kashmir or Nagaland what they think about the UN, their answers will certainly be that; its serves only the interest of the Indian government. And if you ask the people living in the Pacific and Caribbean Islands who are still under the flags of some European countries and whose interest are always important than those of the natives, their regards toward the UN will be negative.
The United Nations Organization (UNO), a body which was created to bring and maintain peace and security around the world, has been a failure. If the UN as a body has been a failure, what is the case with its reclusive and powerful decision making body known as the Security Council? That set up is a recipe for trouble and it needs to be reformed in order to give it some credibility. Most countries now serving on the Security Council as permanent members do not deserve their place anymore .This so because, the decision to allow some of them to gain a seat at the Security Council was taken long time ago. The other reason is that, it is not representative of the five continents of the World.
Mayopic, inept & absent
Before going to any length, it is worth mentioning that, the UN is not a total failure. It is not enough to conclude that the UN or its Security Council is a failure or is out right inefficient. This is because the UN has in spite everything, registered some successes under Mr. Koffi Annan in places like East Timor and has focused more on the numerous conflicts taking place in Africa. Although there are still debates on the justification of maintaining a large UN force there and also financing elections in the DRC, a country that is called a state just for courtesy and pleasure and also the continuation of the UN mission in Western Sahara and war ravaged Somalia. What make me to hate the UN nevertheless, are its myopic views on things in the world today. Not long ago, its former Secretary General Koffi Atta Annan, whom like most of his predecessors has never given an ear to the problems of minorities the world over, wanted to force a funny reunification plan on the Island of Cyprus. Fortunately, the former Turkish Cypriot President Mr. Danktash did not refuse to swallow the pill, but made propositions that was on the fringe of refusal.
Even though most Turkish Cypriots were longing for such as opportunity in order to cross into the Greek Cypriots part and enjoy freedom and prosperity, their leader might have read loads of books and heard stories on the negative consequences on reunifications around the World. Instead of Mr. Annan to fight for the Turkish side of the Island of Cyprus to gain international recognitions, he and the organization that he leads, wanted to force reunification in order to satisfy the European Union.
In areas where the UN had to impose order and preserve the right to self determination of the local people like in Kashmir, (disputed by Pakistan, India and China), Tibet (occupied by China), Mayote (occupied by France), Ceuta, Melilla, Canary Islands (occupied by Spain) Nagaland (occupied by India), Southern Cameroon’s, Somaliland, or Western Sahara that is occupied by Morocco or the oil rich enclave of Cabinda occupied by Angola, the UN has been deficient. The latter are just some petty example of the inefficiency of the world body called the UN.
Explanation /Clarity on its composition
This organization created in 1945 and who’s Security Council is full not only with victorious countries against the axis of Germany, Italy, Japan and Turkey in the Second World War, has not changed or enlarged. Hence it is necessary with in light of the current dispensation of the world for UN and her Security Council to change in order to give her some credibility and becomes representative. The deserving members of the Security Council are Britain, the United States and Russia formerly known as the USSR. The next members in the Security Council are China (that won her place in 1972 after Taiwan was expelled) and France. Although China was a looser in the Second World War, its population and its current economic expansion and growths makes China to be a power by chance and thus deserves a place at the bud of the world decision making body.
It would have been unfair for 1 billion 3 hundred million people to be denied a seat at the UN Security Council. The absence of China would have also denied the Security Council’s multilateral laws and other systems, voted during the creation of the organization in 1945, the much needed legitimacy of its decisions today. But France’s place at the UN Security Council has been a source of conflict and controversy especially that, it uses her position to assume roles in the world she does not deserve. Did France win the Second World War? The answer is no. Why is she then a member of the Security Council? This is the aspect I have not been able to get a convincing answer. Are the French population and its economic power the reason why she is today member of the select club?
The answer here is double. Population wise, France might not qualify, for it has a paltry 62 million people with about 8 hundred thousand births, annually. This might be impressive according to European standard with their dwindling births and her ocean of abortions, but still, it is not a benchmark to qualify to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Looking at the economic angle further, France deserves to be a member of the Security Council, if the condition to gain admission as permanent Security Council member is based on economic growths and power. Economically France is the 5th economic world power. But if the new global economic results are anything to be taken seriously, then France has now been overtaken by China. However based on the rationale of the UN in 1945, which wanted a multilateral system, the present set up or the centre piece of the world body, which is her permanent Security Council and current her composition, makes her unrepresentative and does not legally speak for the World.
The UN or its permanent Security Council has no credibility in regard to its present configuration; furthermore, most of its decisions have been taken outside the rules of the apex body. However, while it is true that, most decisions of the UN Security Council have been taken on the sidelines, it is nonetheless best to point out though that, The heart beat of the UN which is the Security Council, has on three occasions, voted laws that led to wars and only in those rare times that, it could be arguably said that, she (UN) took decisions that represented the World. Or what is presented to be the world. These occasions of unity at the Security Council were when, they voted for the wars in Korea in 1950, Iraq in 1991 and in Afghanistan in 2001.Even though the Security Council unanimously supported the wars above mentioned and thus it appears to reflect the decision of the World, the body can’t still claim to speak for the World.
Why? Because on all those occasions above mentioned, she (UN) took decisions that were in defense of its interest (permanent members of the Security Council). The ambiguities and weaknesses of the UN has been seen again when the European Union was unable to stop the tribal wars in Eastern Europe or precisely in the Balkans. She (European Union) invited the Americans to destroy Yugoslavia; a sovereign country whose leader, at that time, Slobodan Milosevic claimed they ( Yugoslavia) was fighting terrorism. And strangely the UN has supported the European Union and the United States to help in the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the same UN is unable to free Western Sahara from Moroccan occupation or recognize peaceful and democratic Somaliland. This argument might not be convincing to some, but it shows that the UN and its central organ is not representative and thus can not give out orders or carry out any operations in the world that is legally unblemished.
However, in order for the Security Council’s legal basis and decisions to be representative of the world, there is a need to remodel the body. One way will be for every continent to have one or two representatives. But in the present dispensation Europe or better still, continental Europe is represented by France that by chance became a member of the Security Council. There is also Britain, but whose seat at the Security Council is not in a problem nor is it even disputed. This is so because she fought heroically in the Second World War and won. Whereas France did not only lose the Second World War, she was occupied by Germany.
The USSR or what is left and now called the Russian Federation is no doubt a super power, even though compared to other industrialized countries; she is now poor and disorganized. The other members of the Security Council are China representing Asia, while the US represents North America which is distinct from Central and South America, otherwise known as Latin America. But what and who do all these countries (five UN permanent Security Council members) represent? Certainly they are not representing the World.
Countries such as Brazil that is the 11th economic power and the most populated in South America or in Africa, Nigeria which is the 9th most populated country on earth with a population of 137.253,000 and also Africa’s second economic power house have no place at the Security Council. The other choices on the African continent for UN permanent seats would have been either Egypt or South Africa, but none of them have places at the select club of Nations. The next big absentees from the Security Council are India for Asia, and Australia for the Oceania region. Until all those countries missing out in the constitution of the UN permanent Security Council members are incorporated, any decision taken therein will be under-representative and illegal.
This therefore calls on the present member countries and United Nations to ponder hard over this situation as the world reels into bigger and more complicated problems, such as the need for dictators to be overthrown and the fight against Islamic fundamentalism. In order for decisions taken at the UN must not sound as though it is a conspiracy over certain people from a given part of the world, hence the urgency for reforms. However, for the UN to play grandiose roles the present dispensation that makes countries to use and abuse their veto powers or transform them into bargaining chips must have to be checked and this can only happen if new countries are admitted into the Council.
Remodeling the UN permanent Security Council seats is not just to bring greater parts of the World on board and make her representative; it is good for the world.