At the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, some countries called for reform of the Security Council. This was stated by US President Joseph Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. According to them, it is necessary to expand the number of both permanent and non-permanent members because of the threat to the world order, which is allegedly posed by “Russia’s actions in Ukraine.” Is it possible to reform the UN Security Council and what Western countries are trying to achieve in this way, Izvestia investigated.
Germany and Japan want to join
“Germany has been advocating reform and expansion of the UN Security Council for many years. First of all, in order to include more countries in the global South. Germany is ready to take on more responsibility as a permanent member, and initially as a non-permanent member in 2027-2028. I ask you to support the candidacy of our country, which respects the principles of the UN and which stands for and participates in cooperation.”, – said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York. According to him, “it is necessary to adapt our rules and institutions to the realities of the 21st century,” because “too often these rules and institutions are a reflection of the world as it was 30, 50 or 70 years ago.”
A similar position is shared by the French leader Emmanuel Macron. He called for “greater work to find the international consensus that is necessary for peace.”
“France proposes to proceed with the reform of the Security Council so that it becomes more representative. The Council must accept new permanent members into its ranks while maintaining its ability to play its full role.”– said the head of state. He also called for the simultaneous “restriction of the right of veto against mass crimes.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
Фото: Global Look Press/Keystone Press Agency/Michael Kappeler
The need to modernize the Security Council spoke at the General Assembly and the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. “For a world order based on the rule of law, a concentration of forces and knowledge is necessary. To achieve this, by all means, reform of the UN, strengthening of the functions of the UN is necessary,” he said. He named “the implementation of the UN to promote the concept of the rule of law in the international community” and “ensuring human security in the new era” as important principles.
Western politicians who spoke at the General Assembly linked the need to modernize the UN with the events in Ukraine. So, they criticized Russia’s actions in Ukraine, calling Moscow “a threat to the current world order.” They also urged to help Kyiv in every possible way and prevent the conclusion of peace on Russia’s terms.
In his speech, American leader Joseph Biden said that “Russia shamelessly violated the fundamental provisions of the United Nations Charter.”
“If nations are allowed to pursue imperial ambitions without repercussions, we put at risk everything the institution stands for. [ООН]. It is time for this organization to become more inclusive so that it can better respond to the needs of today’s world. It is necessary to consistently uphold and defend the UN charter and refrain from using the right of veto except in rare, emergency situations.” the American leader explained.
Talk about modernization
Over the 77 years of the existence of the UN, there have been constant proposals for its modernization. This is due to an objective necessity: the number of member states has increased from 51 to 193 states, shortcomings in the functioning of many structures have been revealed.
UN peacekeeping operations are constantly criticized for being chaotic and unsystematic. At the same time, the organization itself reacts more to crises than prevents them. In addition, the UN is quite selective in its interest in conflicts in different regions of the world, for which it is reproached for following double standards.
The main disagreement is the question of the future of the Security Council itself, the key UN body responsible for maintaining international peace and security. Developed countries, in particular Germany and Japan, are irritated by the fact that the contributions they pay are quite large, and they are not given the corresponding status.
Now the UN Security Council consists of five permanent members – Great Britain, China, Russia, the USA and France., with the right of veto, and ten non-permanent, elected for two years. Today it is Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway and the United Arab Emirates.
Moscow is ready to discuss the effectiveness of the main UN institutions: how to develop the peacekeeping potential, since it does not meet current needs, as well as questions about the powers of the secretary general’s office, the expediency of the bloated UN bureaucracy, and the effectiveness of individual UN agencies duplicating the activities of others.
United Nations Headquarters
Photo: RIA Novosti / Vitaly Belousov
Russia advocates that the Security Council become more representative, the number of member countries, according to Moscow, should not exceed the bar of “twenty plus” (low twenties). Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has repeatedly stated that “countries such as India and Brazil are serious contenders for permanent membership in the Security Council.”
At various times, African and Asian countries also insisted on UN reform. However, Western states are now the most active in favor of modernization.
– The goal of Western countries is to loosen the system of international relations in the hope of their own strengthening in this system. In fact, it is impossible to withdraw Russia from the UN Security Council, because, as Vitaly Churkin, the former permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, said, Russia did not win this right in a lottery. This is another attempt to revise the results of the Second World War and undermine the system of international relations by replacing the UN Charter with pseudo-rules imposed by the United States, – said in an interview with Izvestia, Doctor of Political Sciences, Head of the Department of the Near and Post-Soviet East, INION RAS Vladimir Avatkov.
According to him, the only rule is the UN Charter, and attempts to oust Russia can only lead to a greater collapse, an imbalance in the entire system of international relations.
– As for the expansion of the Security Council, this idea has been heard for a long time. Now Germany wants to become a permanent member, but even 50 years ago, this would have made many people’s hair stand on end. If we talk about expansion, we must take into account the growth of non-Western countries. There is already too much West everywhere, it is better to think about reducing its representation than increasing it, – says the political scientist.
Limit Russia’s Influence
Orientalist and publicist Andrey Ontikov agrees with Avatkov’s position.
– Not only Western countries, but also Russia are in favor of the reform of the Security Council. Only everyone understands modernization in their own way. The world has changed since the creation of the UN. Moscow insists on expanding the list of permanent members of the Security Council, primarily through Asian, African, South American countries, that is, those states that are present in the Security Council on a non-permanent basis and do not have the right to veto. Russia believes that this situation should be changed against the background of the growth of the economies of individual states, it is necessary to provide them with a greater role in resolving issues the expert believes.
According to the political scientist, Western countries are haunted by the principle of Russia’s veto in the Security Council.
– It is not clear how they will try to cancel it, since this principle is spelled out in the UN Charter. Moscow has always opposed the modification of the veto right, it is cement that allows avoiding unnecessary imbalances in different situations. In the context of the current geopolitical confrontation between all members of the UN Security Council, there is no need to think about any kind of reform. Neither the proposals of the United States and their allies, nor the proposals of Russia and China in the current conditions can be implemented, — says the expert.
Photo: RIA Novosti / Alexey Vitvitsky
Dmitry Suslov, Deputy Director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, in a conversation with Izvestia, noted that the UN reform was again discussed because of the desire of Western countries to somehow limit the influence of Russia.
– This is not a concern about the representativeness or effectiveness of the Security Council, and not at all a desire to strengthen the central role of the UN. That is why there are discussions about limiting the right of veto, about “dilute” Russia with other countries. The position of the United States that Germany and Japan should become permanent members of the Security Council does not fit into the idea of increasing the representativeness of the UN, he adds.
There is not a single African or Latin American country among the permanent members of the Security Council, and the number of European countries already predominates, the specialist emphasizes.
– Full enumeration of Europeans. The accession of Germany absolutely does not correspond to the distribution of forces in the world. Much more adequate contenders are India, Brazil and South Africa. But the goal pursued by the West is different. It will not be possible to reform the Security Council, because for this it is necessary that none of the permanent members of the Security Council speak out against it. Today it is impossible to imagine. Russia and China will oppose the restriction of the veto, as well as the accession of Germany, for example. Speeches are made to gain additional political support from developing countries in the context of the current hybrid war against Russia, – the political scientist is sure.