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Similar to his short-sighted call to root out the Senate filibuster because it’s embarrassing to his legislative agenda, President Joe Biden said in his address to the UN General Assembly that his administration had proposed reforms to expand the UN Security Council and add more veto powers. brandishing permanent members to make the Council “more inclusive”.
Biden administration officials have been talking about these reforms for several weeks, apparently because Russia and China used their veto power to block US-backed Security Council resolutions on Ukraine, the Middle East and North Korea. However, although this proposal has long been supported by most members of the UN and the foreign policy establishment, it is certain that it will not go anywhere.
The UN Security Council has 15 members. The US, UK, France, China and Russia are the five permanent members with veto power. The regional blocs elect the other 10 members for a two-year term. US Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, recently called the arrangement “an unsustainable and outdated status quo.”
BIDEN CALLS ON UN TO EXPAND PERMANENT MEMBERS OF SECURITY COUNCIL
Thomas-Greenfield proposed not only an enlargement of the board and the addition of members, but also informal restrictions on when the veto can be used and a voluntary requirement for permanent members to explain their veto to the General Assembly United Nations. If implemented, these proposals could evolve into formal limits on the use of the Security Council veto and possibly a means for the General Assembly to override vetoes.
Unfortunately, the Biden administration refuses to admit how important the US veto on the Security Council has been in protecting our interests and those of our allies on the council. Of the 266 vetoes cast to date, 122 have been by the USSR and Russia. The United States chose 82, often on anti-Israel resolutions.
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Given the continued hostility against the United States and Israel from many UN members, the United States will veto more of the Security Council in the future. The Security Council’s veto also continues to serve an important purpose: to prevent the five permanent members – all nuclear states – from passing resolutions against each other and promoting consensus.
This is not the first time that a presidential administration has attempted to undermine the UN Security Council’s veto. As a CIA analyst at the UN in the 1990s, I worked with Clinton administration officials who had their own proposals for doing this. However, they got nowhere because the other permanent members were prepared to use their veto power to block any changes to the board.
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Although Biden’s proposal to reform the UN Security Council is dangerous and sweeping, it is dead on arrival because it will be vetoed by China and Russia, who love the council. as it is. His Security Council reform proposal will further accomplish the overall perception of the Biden administration’s leadership and foreign policy incompetence.
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