Reuniting the United Nations

The world has changed since October 1945 and the founding of the United Nations. We have gone from World War II to the War in Iraq, from isolationism to globalization, from 2.3 to 6.5 billion people. Unfortunately, one of the few things that had remained constant is the United Nations’ structure and policy. Now, as the UN, celebrates over sixty years existance as a body, change is not only essential, but also for the first time it is close at hand. The nations that are clinging to the past, the international powers in North America and Europe, are also the nations who undoubtedly hold the upper hand in the current system. As the United Nations seeks reform, it is important to both reexamine the problems under the current system and propose ways to make the system more reflective of today’s world. The United Nations has become increasingly important in the world because it seeks to act as both a forum for positive change as well as an international arbiter. A problem arises when some nations view themselves as better than others and view nations that are stagnantly opposed to their policies as ‘outlaw’ or ‘evil’ nations. North Korea is an especially potent example. The subjective view of the United States is that North Korea is dangerous and egregious with human rights violations, and thus seeks to ensure it is not represented within the United Nations Security Council. Thus, the United States seeks, possibly by accident, to create a hierarchy of ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ nations, promoting exclusivity by exiling nations that it views as unworthy. The fundamental problem is that this policy contradicts the basic mission of the United Nations: to be as inclusive and objective as possible when discussing global issues. Outlawing nations, the goal of some countries within the body, does the opposite. The second problem the United Nations needs to address is that the current permanent five members of the Security Council do not reflect the current geopolitical environment. In 1945, at the conclusion of WWII, five countries were picked to hold permanent veto seats within the Security Council. The five countries that retain their permanent status today are China, Russia, France, Britain, and of course the U.S., which at that time, played the most significant role in international politics. However, the world has greatly changed since the end of WWII, leaving the current permanent members severely outdated. Sixty years ago, the Middle Eastern conflict, in its most modern sense, was just beginning. South America was extremely undeveloped, and North Korea represented a hugely different threat. The P5 mainly represent the views of the EU and the US, leaving the Middle East, South America, much of Asia, and Africa without a voice. The United Nations will not be able to objectively address current global events if it is not prepared to recalculate the current imbalance of power. Though some small scale changes have been put into affect to rectify this and other problems, the majority of the issues remains unaddressed. Therefore, a preemptive change to the current United Nation’s system must go forth, specifically in the context of the Security Council. We must increase the number of permanent seats to eight, in an effort to better represent both the geographic and political spectrums. Another part of Security Council permanent seat power that should be amended is the destructive veto power. A veto power should still exist but two important things need to occur to ensure that the Security Council reflects the ideas that are best for the entire world. First, in the ‘new’ Security Council, every veto could be overturned by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly. This creates a situation where every country has a say but power is still granted to some countries. Second, recognizing the world will be different in sixty years, we should encourage the creation of a council to reevaluate the distribution of power when discussing the ‘permanent’ members. This council, which should only use objective facts and figures, would seek to ensure that countries part of the new P8 are representative of the nations most important to shaping global affairs.