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Oh, UN


By Mikaprok for SouthFront

Today US President Donald Trump is going to discuss with the world leaders UN reconstruction. The difficult conversation will take place at New York.

Politicians will be invited to the meeting to they sign a ten-point declaration calling on UN Secretary-General António Guterres to start reform.

“We support the efforts of the Secretary-General to introduce changes within the UN framework in order to better coordinate the work on humanitarian assistance, development and protection of peace initiatives,” the draft of declaration states.

In particular, it contains a proposal to reduce the number of UN staff.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticized UN, noting: now it is more like a club for friendly meetings than a serious political organization.

There is no need to mention: the structure of institution’s been changing since the moment of formation.

It is discussed constantly, but some bursts of real activity happen every 30 years and then … It’s clear that UN could work without them.

Basically, the UN adds to itself appendices of different value.

Oh, UN

Let’s consider the main topics.

Since 1963, the UN has been accused of alternating between three points:

  1. Bureaucracy;
  2. The strange mode of the Security Council;
  3. Unbalanced work of the regional system.

95% of US claims relate to clause 2, 4.5% – clause 1 (Human Rights Council).

What kind of fee does the organization have?

The first three countries in terms of equity participation:

  • The United States – 22%, the net amount of the contribution – $402 million 384 thousand;
  • Japan – 16.6%, which is equal to $304 million 56 thousand;
  • Germany – 8.6% and $ 56 million 875 thousand.

However, only the main shareholder is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. And the US is a minority.

Oh, UN

Over the 71-year history of the organization, the number of non-permanent members (only permanent members could veto) increased from 11 to 15. Relevant amendments to the UN Charter were introduced on December 17, 1963, by a resolution of the UN General Assembly.

No need to answer why – the presented layout is a legacy of the post-war world structure. Nowdays less than 8% of the UN members are represented in the Security Council.

Is this fair? If we are guided by “supreme goals” – of course not.

It is necessary to change the charter, but the current permanent members of the Security Council will not do this.

Imagine, that we present countries, which have seats in Security Council.

The approach is very simple (how to protect our position):

a) we can not dilute our shares and in any given scenario we remain permanent members;
b) the entire Security Council must adopt new rules unanimously, like the UN General Assembly;
c) need to implement regional representation (accept Germany and Japan, which pay contributions, then accept Brazil and India though).

On the point c).

The United States in the 70s have put forward the idea of including Germany and Japan as permanent members. This would increase the number of direct and dependent allies of Americans in the Security Council.

In the beginning of the 90s EU responded to this proposal: let’s introduce regional representation in the Counsil: at least Brazil and India.

Official Washington in response changes its version to the formula “2 + 3”. Japan and Germany, plus one country from each region of the developing world.

But.. it doesn’t work like that.

Brazil was not allowed to present South America by Argentina and Chile, the German mission puts on stack merging the shares of all European countries-permanent members into one – the EU. With a proportional reduction in weight.

3 votes turn into 1.

Oh, UN

In 2000, Mr. Clinton’s administration agreed to expand the Security Council to more than 23 (non-permanent) members.

In 2008, was proposed a fantastic “League of Democracies”, which united  under Security Council “more than a hundred democratic states”.

In parallel, there are several sometimes mutually intersecting scenarios.

  1. The described option is called “quartet”: Japan, Germany, India, Brazil;
  2. There is a specially impregnated UK option with Nigeria and South Africa (so-called “African group”). Cause Africa is not represented in the UN system at all;
  3. “Uniting for Consensus”. Increasing the number of seats from 15 to 25, but the number of permanent members will be preserved. It is unclear how this will be resolved by the bureaucratization of the Security Council;
  4.  The “Swiss Five” with Liechtenstein and Singapore at the Council.

One of the options for reforming the Security Council is very interesting.

It has nothing to do with representation of allies, but consists in modernizing the work of the apparatus itself.

In particular, the activation of the Military Staff Committee, which has existed since 1947 as a subsidiar of the Security Council and the creation on its basis of full-fledged UN armed forces.

An alternative to the troops of the EU and NATO, but on a global scale.

Nobody talks about this openly, but there is tricky statistics: in the period from 1989 to 1994 the number of transactions has grown significantly.

The Security Council authorized 20 thousand new operations, which led to an increase in the staff from 11 thousand to 75 thousand people. “Blue Helmets” have already become real army.

Oh, UN

Anyway all the reform’s options will not help the United States.

In general, involving them in any complex international structure always has two consequences:

  1. money transfers to the structure from the US side;
  2. the slowdown of US actions in the international arena.

The only possible scenario is to organize a parallel appendix, which manages the Security Council through the UN General Assembly. Such a Security Secretariat with a proportional representation on membership fees.

Hint that kep in mind the unfortunate head of the White House.

In this case, a new body can be formed only by a general vote of all 192 countries. As you know, it is also extremely unlikely.



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