Reform the UN Security Council

Human progress can be measured by the fact that we are living in a century where unilateral military operations based on power alone are intolerable. But the spread of the ideology of peace does not mean that threats to security have disappeared. At times, preventive action may be necessary. Many lives would have been saved in Africa, for example, if the international community could have acted decisively and quickly. The events in Iraq also have demonstrated that the key issue for world security is really the relationship of the big powers to the UN Security Council.

The need for an effective UN Security Council reflects the central strategic certainty of the post-Cold War period: security threats are no longer likely to take the form of war between states, but will instead consist in acts of terror, civil wars, and massacres of civilian populations. These threats are often related to economic chaos and basic failures in national governance, and international military action will often be needed to meet them head on. But the legitimacy of any international military action that goes beyond immediate self-defense requires broad international approval - and action without legitimacy is bound to fail.

The international community must therefore accept the need for a fundamental link between such military action and the UN. Peacekeeping and crisis prevention are accepted functions of the UN. But broad international support will not be forthcoming if military operations are perceived as some form of Western neo-imperialism. This last point has been at the heart of the problems in Iraq. Augmenting US and British troops with other "Western" forces would not, particularly at this late stage, change the fundamental perception of that intervention, both in the Arab world and beyond it.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/jB8W91C;
  1. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    Angela Merkel’s Endgame?

    The collapse of coalition negotiations has left German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing a stark choice between forming a minority government or calling for a new election. But would a minority government necessarily be as bad as Germans have traditionally thought?

  2. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.

  3. A GrabBike rider uses his mobile phone Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

    The Platform Economy

    While developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia are rapidly aging, emerging economies are predominantly youthful. Nigerian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese young people will shape global work trends at an increasingly rapid pace, bringing to bear their experience in dynamic informal markets on a tech-enabled gig economy.

  4. Trump Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Profiles in Discouragement

    One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

  5. Mugabe kisses Grace JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

    How Women Shape Coups

    In Zimbabwe, as in all coups, much behind-the-scenes plotting continues to take place in the aftermath of the military's overthrow of President Robert Mugabe. But who the eventual winners and losers are may depend, among other things, on the gender of the plotters.

  6. Oil barrels Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images

    The Abnormality of Oil

    At the 2017 Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, the consensus among industry executives was that oil prices will still be around $60 per barrel in November 2018. But there is evidence to suggest that the uptick in global growth and developments in Saudi Arabia will push the price as high as $80 in the meantime.

  7. Israeli soldier Menahem Kahana/Getty Images

    The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.