Reform of the UN Security Council: A Comment on the South African Position
Venter, Albert J., The World and I
Albert J. Venter is professor in the Department of Political Studies at the Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg, South Africa. He is guest professor at the South African Defence College, the Naval Staff College, and the Foreign Service Institute, Potchefstroom University. Among his publications are South African Government and Politics (1989) and The Government and Politics of the New South Africa (2001). He has published over eighty articles in professional journals and has contributed to many books on political science.
Ever since Nelson Mandela walked from prison a free man, and from the time of the first democratic elections in South Africa, the ruling African National Congress as government of South Africa has been calling for the reform and "democratization" of the United Nations. In his last address to the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 21, 1998, Mandela said:
"...this very Organization, including its important Security Council, must itself go through its own process of reformation so that it serves the interests of the peoples of the world, in keeping with the purposes for which it was established."1
At its establishment in 1945, another famous South African, Gen. Jan Smuts, wrote in the preamble to the Charter of the United Nations of these very purposes. He urged the peoples of the world to be determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, "which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind." The preamble goes on to reaffirm the founding states' faith in fundamental human rights, the dignity of the human person, the equal rights of men and women, and the establishment of conditions under which justice and respect for obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained. The preamble commits the founding members to practice tolerance, unite in seeking peace and security, and to ensure that armed forces shall not be used, save in the common interest. High purposes indeed.
The purpose of this essay is to briefly portray the development of the present structure and composition of the Security Council of the United Nations; summarize the main arguments of the non-Western powers, including those of the South African government and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), for the reform of the Security Council; and offer some comments regarding this position.
Origins of the hegemony of the industrialized north on the Security Council
The immediate origins of the organizational structure of the Security Council can be found in the Atlantic Charter of 1941 in which the wartime Allies, the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union agreed to establish the United Nations as a future guarantor of international peace and stability. The basic formation of the United Nations reflects the balance of international forces at the time of its foundation in 1945. Roosevelt and Churchill believed that international stability would be guaranteed by both the universal character of the United Nations, as well as, in their view, including the five most powerful nations in the world at the time as permanent members of the Security Council. The US, USSR, Britain, France and (Kuomintang) China would act as an international police force to keep the international peace through the mechanism of the Security Council.2
The structure of the United Nations was such that the General Assembly would represent all the member governments of the United Nations, it was to be a "popular assembly" of governments. However, its decision-making powers would be limited. It was almost to be an international debating forum. The real power lay with the Security Council. Only the Security Council could take binding decisions regarding the keeping of the international peace. Moreover, its membership was to be split into two levels. Five super or elite states would have permanent membership as well as veto power over decisions of the Security Council, while six other ordinary members would fill the positions on the Security Council by rotation. The choice of the elite five did not rest on clearly defined standards. The US and the USSR emerged as the strongest powers out of World War II and their inclusion in the Security Council was a foregone conclusion. Britain was an exhausted great power with a far flung colonial empire, France was a beaten power, but still clung to its African and South East Asian possessions. China was included as a reward for its tenacious fight against Japan, the anti-communist stance of its dictator, Chiang Kai-shek and its large population and land mass.
In effect, the composition of the Security Council was the result of a deal struck by the US, Britain and the USSR. France and China were included into the elite club of the superstate members of the Security Council on pragmatic grounds.3 The Security Council would, analogically to ancient Rome, form the Senate of the United Nations. Its membership was by invitation of the big three and acceptance of the honour by the smaller two (China and France). There was no question of a democratic composition of the core membership of the Security Council. The big five reflected the international balance of forces at the time. If anything, the big five imposed themselves as the ruling oligarchy of the United Nations.
No decision could be taken at the Security Council without the consent of each of the permanent members (Article 27 of the Charter). Moreover, there was no requirement that the big five had to be internally democratically organized. Both KMT China as well as the USSR were dictatorships in which human rights were regularly abused and the rule of law ignored.4,5 Britain and France held vast colonial territories.6 These colonies had, for the most part, been occupied by force and their governance was not based on democratic principles, but by the force of the colonial powers. Not even the United States could claim to be fully "democratic." Its constituent federal states practiced blatant racially- based discrimination against their African American citizens, including denial of the franchise, equal access to schools and other public services. During the War, the US government illegally transferred some 120,000 of its citizens of Japanese descent into concentration camps.7 In fact, all five permanent members transgressed the human rights of many of their subjects in contravention of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.
Based on the principle of sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of member states, the acceptance by the US of the USSR and KMT China as sovereign states and members of the Security Council, was founded on the objective and structural circumstances prevailing in the international system at the time. Moreover criteria for continued membership of the club of five were never established. France and Britain relinquished their colonies during the 1960s and the early 1970s. Their economic power and position in the international economy came to be overshadowed by states like Japan and Germany in the 1980s. Britain withdrew "East of Suez" under the premiership of Harold Wilson in the mid 1960s and by that action was no longer a real superpower or even big power in the international arena.8 KMT China was reduced to the Republic of China on Taiwan after the Communist takeover of the mainland in 1949, and maintained its seat on the Security Council for another 22 years, before the action of the Nixon administration led to the seat being allocated to the People's Republic of China. Once again the criterion was a pragmatic and realpolitik one. In 1971 the PRC was under the heavy handed dictatorship of Mao.9 Its inclusion was similar to the Rooseveltian realpolitik of 1945; it reflected the balance of forces at the time. The demise of the USSR did not lead to its successor, the Russian Federation, losing its Security Council seat. Russia is a weak reflection of the USSR and has not been in a position to share the full burden of its responsibilities as a permanent member of the Security Council. However, Russia still has a formidable nuclear arsenal and to keep it out of the Security Council would have been political folly.
The backhander held out to the lesser states by the elite states in 1945 at the founding of the United Nations was the reaffirmation of the fundamental equality of all member states of the United Nations as well as the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign member state.10 Those principles did not imply that ordinary states could be elevated to the ranks of the elite.
The equal sovereignty principle, however, did not detract from the de facto elite status of the five permanent members of the Security Council. Nonetheless, from the outset in 1945 there were calls for the enlargement and democratization of the Security Council. The general argument has been that the elite status of the permanent members flies in the face of the principle of the equality of sovereign member states. By 1956 pressure from Latin American states put the matter of Security Council reform on the agenda of the General Assembly. Soon, newly independent African states joined the calls for restructuring of the Security Council, and were joined by the Soviet Union in 1960. In 1963 twenty-one member states submitted a proposal for the amendment of the Charter to increase Security Council membership from 11 to 14 by adding non-permanent members. These proposals finally led to the enlargement of the Security Council to its present membership of 15 in 1965.11 However, the elite club of five was not enlarged. In 1971 the Republic of China on Taiwan (KMT-ROC) was denied membership of the Security Council by the diplomacy of Nixon and Kissinger, who had come to realize, quite Rooseveltian, that it was untenable not to recognize the de facto powerful position of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Nixon decided on this strategy in the face of his own strong anti-communist ideological orientation and proclivities. There simply was no alternative but to recognize the powerful position of the PRC in international politics.
The present composition of the Security Council is prescribed by the Charter, article 23. The five elite members are simply stated in the imperative by the charter: The five states "shall be permanent members of the Security Council." The General Assembly elects ten non-permanent members, with "due regard being specially paid, in the first instance to the contributions of Members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization, and also to geographical distribution." These members are elected for a term of two years. Retiring members are not immediately re-eligible for election. This is where we stand at the moment with the composition of the Security Council.
The post-1994 position of South Africa on the composition of the Security Council
When South Africa "rejoined" the family of states of the world in 1994 after the years of isolation as an apartheid state, the pariah of the world, the new government of Nelson Mandela almost immediately joined the chorus of the non-aligned states, the poor "South," in calling for the restructuring of the Security Council, especially with regard to including more permanent members. In 1993, a year before South Africa's first fully democratic elections, the member states of the United Nations decided unanimously to review and reform the membership of the Security Council by establishing the Open Ended Working Group. Initially, after the elections in 1994, the Mandela government called for the Security Council to be reformed, since it was unacceptable that the Security Council was unrepresentative of the people of the world. This call was, of course ,fully consonant with the African National Congress's struggle against the unrepresentative character of the apartheid government. In the main the Mandela government maintained that the reform of the Security Council was to take place in consultation with the states of the Organization of African Unity, the Non Aligned Movement and Caribbean states. The deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs was so bold as to suggest in 1994 that South Africa should occupy the seat that would be allocated to Africa.12 Since that time, the South African government has developed a more nuanced and coherent position.
At the time of this writing, February 2004, the firm position of the South African government is that the "United Nations can no longer pretend that the present composition of the Security Council is representative of all its members.... We believe that the time has arrived to take concrete steps to reform the Council, even if it means that we have to make hard decisions. For the developing world, the need for reform is especially critical, given the fact that many, if not most, of the conflicts which threaten international peace and stability take place between, or within, developing states-and given the clear and unambiguous link between endemic conflicts and endemic poverty."13 In the view of the South African government, "reform of the Security Council is the single most important reform issue outstanding on the agenda of the United Nations."14
In its struggle against apartheid, the African National Congress and other liberation organizations in South Africa had as their main purpose the liberation of people of color in South Africa who had been excluded from political decision making by virtue of their skin color and social position. The unrepresentative nature of the formal South African body politic--parliament, the executive, the courts and all other levels of government, was a central theme of the armed resistance against apartheid. Small wonder that the African National Congress-in-Government is using its position in international organizations to restructure these organizations into being more representative of the international community. Its slogan of the "people shall govern," is the operating metaphor, even master narrative, of its positions on the international stage of governance. In addition, the present Mbeki government has launched an initiative for an "African Renaissance" with the purpose of restoring Africa's honor and status in the international arena. In this reawakening of Africa, South Africa is to play a leading role.15
In the view of states from the developing "South," the Security Council has embarked on an activist stance in international affairs since 1991 (the end of the Cold War) and it often acted beyond its mandate in the Charter. For instance, in the 45 years of its existence between 1945 and 1990, the Security Council authorized the use of force only twice, while between 1990 and 1997, more or less the Clinton years in the US, the Security Council authorized the use of force 7 times:
-- 1990 Gulf War
-- 1992 Somalia, Yugoslavia
-- 1994 Rwanda, Haiti
-- 1996 Zaire
-- 1997 Albania
Moreover the Security Council has intervened in a number of intra- state conflicts, despite the provision of article 2(7) of the Charter that the United Nations may not interfere in matters that are within the domestic jurisdiction of member states. Such interference has taken place in Haiti, Cambodia, El Salvador, Georgia, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone and Tajikistan. The Security Council has undertaken the resolution of conflicts in these states by way of elections, restoration of civil administration, military demobilization and economic rehabilitation.
These efforts represent an expansion of the Security Council mandate which was not part of the original Charter. Almost all of these states were Third World, developing states. Considering that the Third World is significantly underrepresented on the Security Council, these actions do from time to time lack legitimacy in the developing world. Moreover, the charge against the Security Council is that it is over-extending its reach by being activist against states such as Iraq, Libya, Haiti and Sierra Leone by issuing sanctions against these states in order to comply with the wishes of the big powers, especially the USA. Russia, France and the US have used the Security Council in recent years to authorize the use of force against recalcitrant states under the guise of the Security Council.
In fact these operations were quite often to all intents and purposes unilateral actions or token alliances with other minor states. This charge in particular was made against the USA in 2002 when it coaxed and cajoled the Security Council members into accepting resolution 1441 against Iraq. There seems to be a consensus among developing states that the Security Council structure is outdated and does not reflect the current realities of the post-cold war world. These states now make up more than two thirds of the total United Nations membership. However the Security Council only represents about 8 percent of member states. By 1998 only 47 member states have served on the Security Council only once and 77 had never served.16
The Open Ended Working Group produced a report in May of 1997. That report proposed that the Security Council membership be increased to 26. In the permanent category five seats would be added, distributed between Africa, Asia, Latin America and two "industrialized" states. An additional five seats in the non-permanent category would be distributed between Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and two African states. The group also suggested that if no agreement could be found on the expansion of permanent members, there should at least be expansion in the non-permanent category.17
The elite five of the Security Council accepted that the enlargement of Security Council is desirable, but rejected any enlargement beyond 23. The US is inflexible in its stance that total membership should not go beyond 20-21 members. The US has pushed for Japan and Germany to be two of the five new permanent members. Canada and Italy have not been enthusiastic about this position. India and Brazil are fervent about these proposals, since they would be obvious candidates for the permanent seats allocated to Latin America and Asia. In one possible Security Council scenario, the implication of the report of the Open Working Group makes space for India, Brazil, a major African state (perhaps South Africa, Nigeria or Egypt) Japan and Germany. Of course this does not sit well with Argentina in Latin America or Indonesia and Pakistan in Asia. If the African permanent seat would not rotate and is given to one state exclusively, it is obvious that the other contending states would not support the expansion. Moreover, this enlargement neglects the Arab/Muslim world. India is seen as a Hindu state by Pakistan and Indonesia and Malaysia, not merely an Asian state. Likewise neither South Africa nor Nigeria would satisfy the need to represent Muslims/Arabs on the Security Council. Only Egypt could fulfil that role.18 After seven years of deliberation, the Open Working Group's proposals are no nearer to implementation than in 1997.
The South African government eventually made its position regarding the issue clear. It holds a common position with Africa and the Non Aligned Movement. This position was declared in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 1997 and is as follows:19
--The Security Council should be expanded to 26 members.
--Five non-permanent seats should be allocated to Africa.
--Five permanent seats should be added, of which two seats should be allocated to Africa.
--The two permanent seats for Africa should be filled by a decision of African states themselves, but by a system of rotation.
--The new permanent members should have the same powers and prerogatives as the current five permanent members.
--The right of veto should be progressively curtailed until abrogated.
--A periodic review of the Security Council membership, structure and functioning is necessary.
In general the United States and some like-minded states in Europe argue for the enlargement of the Security Council to 20 members, with Japan and Germany elevated to the elite status of permanency on the grounds of their financial contributions to the United Nations. In other words these states base their arguments on the provisions of the Charter that due regard should be taken of a state's ability to contribute to the workings of the United Nations when it is elevated to membership of the Security Council.20
The general stance of the developing world is that the Security Council is unrepresentative of the regions of the world. Moreover, arguments by the Non Aligned Movement have been advanced that the regional representation should be proportionally based, i.e., the representation on the Security Council should be based on population size rather than power and geopolitical influence in a region or on the international state system. Moreover "the developing world" regards reform of the Security Council to be such that it should not merely reflect the views of the elite five, but also of the states in Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. Some go so far as to suggest that the Security Council should be accountable to the General Assembly and the International Court of Justice.
The discourse of these developing states is one that, in my view, can best be depicted as a mixture of anti-colonial rhetoric, populist democracy and at times, anti-western or anti-capitalist. This is quite nicely demonstrated by the representative of Guyana who said: "we attach the highest importance to democracy and equity in international relations."21 Moreover, the call for proportional representation and for the abolishment of the veto is "egalitarian and democratic." Indeed, according to this discourse, the Security Council creates first class elite members and second class non-permanent members.22 Besides, the support of the South African government for the position of Africa and the Non-Aligned Movement neatly falls into the category of an anti- colonial and anti-Western orientation. This is fully consonant with its history as anti-apartheid and anti-colonial liberation movement between 1960 and 1994.
Other options for the reform of the Security Council have been proposed over the years. None of these have come to fruition. These options have been carefully summarized by Geldenhuys.23 Briefly, these can be reduced to the following: First, a two tier structure of permanent membership. The big five would retain their veto power and five new permanent members would be created without veto powers. The new members would be drawn from Asia, Africa, Latin America and two from the industrial world. A three tier membership would be created: the big five, the "petit five" and the "commoners" or rotating 10 non-permanent members.
The second proposal is to allow only two new permanent members, most likely Germany and Japan. This would further overrepresent the West and rich industrial states. The third proposal is to redistribute the existing permanent seats. Britain and France would be the obvious losers. Some proposals suggest that Germany and Japan would gain the two seats--negating the results of World War II. Obviously, Britain and France would never accept this reversal. The fourth proposal provides for the immediate re-election of non-permanent members. Especially those that are able to carry the heavy financial and human resource burdens of semi-permanent membership. Germany, Japan, Canada, India, Brazil would be the types of candidates that could fulfil the role of semi-permanent membership. The last category is a proposal to devalue the influence of the big five by either abolishing the veto, or curtailing its use by requiring a "majority veto" of three of the big five to block a decision. Alternatively that a single veto cannot be used to block a majority of the Security Council, at present defined as nine member states of the Security Council.
The main arguments for the reform or restructuring of the Security Council are quasi-democratic populism as well as that of "international constitutionalism." The base line is that the Security Council lacks "popular legitimacy," is unrepresentative of the various geographic regions or civilizations that make up the membership of the United Nations, and that the Security Council overrepresents the rich and industrialized north. Moreover, so it is argued, the Security Council is not accountable to the General Assembly, the "popular" chamber. Furthermore, the Security Council cannot be checked in its decision- making by the International Court of Justice. The outlines of typical Lockean separation of powers theory and Rousseauian populism--that the "General Will" of the international community should prevail, to my mind can be found in these arguments.
However, the idea that the United Nations can be "democratized" and made "more representative" rests on a flawed interpretation of the theory of representation. In general, theories of representation can be categorized into the following. The first is the trustee model of Edmund Burke. This model holds that representatives, once elected, should think for themselves, act as trustees on behalf of their constituents and exercise their independent, better and reasoned judgement. In fact, representatives in the Burkean sense, have a free mandate. In his famous letter to the electors of Bristol, Burke wrote: "You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not a member of Bristol, but he is a member of Parliament. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion. ... His decisions favor the interests of Britain, not only those of Bristol."24
The second approach is the delegate theory, in which the representative is a delegate of a "constituency." The delegate can really exercise no independent judgement, but acts as conduit for the represented constituency and needs a fresh mandate for every issue voted on. It also implies the right of recall by the delegating authority. The resemblance theory of representation is the third approach to representation. According to this approach, the body of representatives should culturally, economically (class), ethnically, gender, or racially represent the "electorate." Thus women should represent women, a person of working class background the working class and so on. In terms of current theories of political accommodation in deeply divided societies- -the so called consociational theory, of which Lijphart is the principal proponent--party list proportionality is likely to lead to segmental representation of ethnic, religious, racial and linguistic groups which would more or less resemble the various segments of such a society.25
The calls for the reform of the United Nations to resemble the constituent regions and civilizations by regional representation and the approach that the representatives by implication will have a free mandate in order to adequately represent their regions, people or civilization, simply do not hold for the United Nations. The United Nations is an international body, made up of states. These states are represented by permanent delegates and a delegate has an imperative rather than a free mandate when the position of the sending government is at any of the many bodies in the United Nations. Delegates of states to the United Nations simply do not have, and will never have, a free mandate in the Burkean sense in order for them to articulate the interests of the whole international state system, rather than the particular interest of the delegating state. The United Nations was never conceptualized, for instance, on a basis of proportional representation of voting strength according to either the size of the population of the represented state or its economic and military capacity. The founding principle was the fiction of equal sovereignty of all states, be it Namibia or Botswana with populations of around 1.3 million people, or China and India, each with populations of over one billion people.
The United Nations can best be understood as an international organization that was created out of the pragmatic needs of the immediate post-World War II period and its institutional arrangements reflected that reality. Since there is no international governmental authority that can maintain the peace, the United Nations was created as an instrument of the big five to try and maintain "world peace," or possibly "world order." The composition of the Security Council at the time reflected the "balance of forces" of the two big powers, (US, USSR) and the three lesser allies: Britain, France, and China. Only a dramatic shift in the "balance of international forces" can alter the composition of the Security Council as far as its permanent membership is concerned. This took place in 1971, when the Republic of China lost its seat to the People's Republic of China. The populist and semi-constitutionalist arguments will not prevail because the United Nations was not created to reflect such an arrangement. It was created to reflect the realities of raw international power in 1945.
Moreover, there is no requirement in the Charter of the United Nations for member states to internally be organized democratically. Indeed, article 2(7) of the charter expressly forbids meddling in the internal affairs of a member state. The United Nations was not created to foster democracy as such, but to keep international peace and to advance the cause of human rights. The latter implies respect for what is generally known as democracy, but is not required explicitly in the Charter of individual member states.
My comments regarding the South African, common African and the Non Aligned Movement positions on the reform of the United Nations Security Council are simple: it is a wonderful gesture and imminently democratic proposal. But it is unlikely to be successful. The experience of the last 11 years with the Open Working Group is adequate evidence. The Security Council will only be reformed or adapted if the international structural circumstances so require. That is, only the advent of a new and powerful international state, or a powerful bloc of states, whose influence cannot be ignored, will cause the Security Council to be enlarged. Consider the following scenario regarding India, an obvious potential candidate for permanent membership. If the Indian economy keeps on expanding the way it has been the last decade or so under the rule of Vajpayee and the BJP, and it expands its naval as well as nuclear capacity, its candidature of the Security Council as it were, will announce itself.26 The big five, under Indian pressure, could then enlarge the permanent membership of the Security Council.
The two other candidates, Germany and Japan could become elite members under a package deal when India is brought on board. As a concession to Africa and Latin America, two rotating permanent memberships could be offered, because that would buy the African and Latin American votes in the General Assembly to change the Charter to admit India to the inner sanctum of the Security Council.
The views of the South African government and its Non Aligned Movement and African Union allies are desperately idealistic, if not unrealistic. There is no incentive for the big five to let go of their mutual vetoes. Africa, even as a collectivity, at present cannot afford to fund the responsibilities of the proposed two rotating African permanent members as well as the anticipated five non-permanent rotating members that would "represent Africa." Neither will the rich donor states of the north fund or support the African states in order to "empower" them to take on these responsibilities. The collective economic capacity of Africa, it is claimed, is about that of the Netherlands and Belgium put together. That type of economic capacity could hardly fund the responsibilities of two permanent and five non-permanent African members.
The United Nations is dominated by a club of rich and powerful states. These states tend to foster their own national interests and will only yield if an overwhelmingly powerful state wishes to have its way. But even that does not guarantee success, as the Bush administration found out in March of 2003 when the Security Council did not support its resolution to mandate a war against Iraq. On the other hand, the impotence of the Security Council and its powerful big three (China, France and Russia) was also demonstrated, they could not stop the US- British coalition from going to war in Iraq. The US then went ahead unilaterally and had its way with Saddam.
This issue neatly illustrates the dilemmas of the United Nations. It can be effective against smaller states which draw almost universal international condemnation for its policies, such as apartheid South Africa, Bosnia or Saddam's Iraq of the 1990s. But when the interests of key Security Council states differ, the Security Council is powerless to act. One wonders what would have happened if the USSR had proposed a declaration of war against the South African apartheid government of 1989. This was a universally condemned government, the object of mandatory oil and weapons embargoes by Security Council resolutions. Apartheid had been declared a crime against humanity by the General Assembly. One doubts, in the Cold War atmosphere of the time, whether the USSR would have been able to table and have passed a Security Council resolution sanctioning war against the South African government. The same arguments used by France and Germany against the US war in Iraq would probably have been put forward: that while the apartheid government was bad and reprehensible, it did not threaten world peace to such an extent that a war against it by the United Nations or United Nations-led forces was necessary. A triple Western veto (US, Britain, France) would have been likely.27
Moreover, will more permanent members improve the operations of the Security Council? Adding three to five permanent members with the power of veto could slow down and deadlock the Security Council. At present the elite five fund around 45 percent of the total assessments of the United Nations Budget. If three "big" new members are brought on board, the figure is likely to rise to around 65 percent.28 The new members will exact a price for their contribution. Would they be prepared to foot bills for United Nations peace operations with which they disagree? Enlargement may actually weaken the effectiveness of the Security Council. The existing permanent members have very little incentive to dilute their power under present circumstances. The status quo suits them.
While one has some appreciation for the moral sentiments of the South African government and its Non Aligned Movement and African Union allies, i.e., that the Security Council should be made more representative of the geographic areas of the world, that is unlikely to take place. Reform of the Security Council will only take place if the structural or objective circumstances surrounding it change to such an extent that the present balance of forces changes dramatically. At a guess, the most likely candidate in the medium term is India. Just like China in 1945, the day may come when India cannot be ignored and will have to be accommodated in the Security Council. Then a package could be put together to include one rotating African and one rotating Latin American seat. At the same time Germany and Japan would be included, since they are potentially big funders of Security Council activities.
Yes, this would overrepresent the rich north and Western Europe, but it would be a reflection of the structural balance of forces in the international system at the time. The case for including Arab-Muslim and South East Asian states, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, on the Security Council, will have to wait until structural circumstances favor their inclusion.
1. Nelson Mandela, Address at the 53rd United Nations General Assembly, 21 September 1998, South African Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 1 Summer 1998, p. 133.
2. Osita Afoaku, and Okechukwu Ukaga, "United Nations Security Council Reform: A Critical Analysis of Enlargement Options," Journal of Third World Studies, Vol. XVIII, No. 2, 2001, pp. 150,151. Michael Roskin and Nicholas Berry, The New World of International Relations, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1997, p. 349.
3. Afoaku, O. and Ukaga, op. cit. p.153.
4. The KMT government massacred between 28,000 and 100,000 Taiwanese citizens in 1947, while the democratic states of Britain and the United States did nothing about it. See Far East Economic Review, 19 March 1992, p. 30.
5. I take it as common knowledge that the USSR under Stalin was a brutal totalitarian state. See Adam Ulam, Stalin: the man and His Era, New York: Viking, 1973.
6. British brutality in their colonies is well established, e.g., the infamous concentration camps of the Boer War, in which 40,000 people, mostly women and children of all races, black and white, succumbed to hunger and disease. The brutal occupation of India is also well established.
7. See Peter Irons (ed.). Justice Delayed: The Record of Japanese American Internment Cases, Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1989.
8. See Michael Curtis, "The Government of Britain," in Michael Curtis et al. Comparative Government, New York: Harper, 1990, p. 95.
9. The PRC was admitted to the Security Council despite the notorious human rights abuses and excesses of the Great Cultural Revolution of the period around 1965-1969, inspired by its leader Mao Zhe Dong.
10. Charter of the United Nations, Article 27.
11. Richard Hiscocks, The Security Council: A Study in Adolescence, London: Longmans, 1973, p. 98.
12. Deon Geldenhuys, Reform of the Security Council: membership and Competence, in S. Pinheiro Guimaraes, (ed). South Africa and Brazil, Rio de Janeiro: International Relations Research Institute, 1996, p. 70.
13. South African Ambassador Kumalo at the United Nations 16 November 2000.
15. See Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, "Address to the Corporate Summit Council," The African Renaissance, Johannesburg: Konrad Adenauer Foundation Occasional Paper, May 1998, p. 10.
16. Shannon Field and Craig Murphy, 'Leading from the Front': Developing a South African Position on United Nations Reform, Foundation for Global Dialogue Occasional Paper 14, Johannesburg, 1998, pp. 14-16.
17. Ibid. p15.
18. Ibid. p. 18.
19. Answer of the South African Minister of Foreign Affairs to a question in the National Assembly, May 1998.
20. See United Nations Press release, No. GA 8995, 14 November 1995.
21. Quoted in Afoaku and Ukaga, op. cit. p.160.
22. For a summary cf. Afoaku and Ukaga, op. cit. p.162.
23. Geldenhuys, op. cit. pp. 60-64.
24. Edmund Burke, On Government, Politics and Society, London: Fontana, 1975, p. 157.
25. See Andrew Heywood, Politics, London: Macmillan, 1997, pp. 207, 210.
26. Cf. Bhashyam Kasturi, "The role of nuclear weapons in strategic thinking and military doctrines: India," in Joachim Krause and Andreas Wenger, (eds.) Nuclear weapons into the 21st century, Current trends and future prospects, Bern: Peter Lang, 2001. Kasturi argues persuasively that nuclear strategy is part of India's overall military doctrine. In addition he points out that India is not only threatened by Pakistan, but also by China, p. 9.
27. These three states had vital interests to protect in South Africa: e.g., huge investments by companies in South Africa, nationals working and living in the country, its cold war stance against communism; and not least of all, South Africa's control of four strategic minerals in the fight against the USSR. See Lawrence Gann and Peter Duignan: Why South Africa will Survive, Cape Town, Tafelberg, 1981, p. 252.
28. Cf. Kenneth Grundy, "Africa's (and the South's) Stake in Reform of the United Nations," Strategic Review for Southern Africa, Vol. 20, No. 2, November 1998, p. 11.
(c) 2003 International Journal on World Peace…
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Publication information: Article title: Reform of the UN Security Council: A Comment on the South African Position. Contributors: Venter, Albert J. - Author. Magazine title: The World and I. Volume: 19. Issue: 10 Publication date: October 2004. Page number: Not available. © 1999 News World Communications, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group.
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