[the palaverist]

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

[sudden thought on security council reform]

Okay, so they're at it again, arguing in circles about Security Council reform. The big countries — Germany, Japan, Brazil, and to a lesser extent Nigeria, India and South Africa — want permanent seats for themselves. The middle powers — Italy, Pakistan, South Korea, Argentina — want some formula that will give them more opportunities to sit on the Council. The poorer and smaller states want to make sure their views are represented and that their sovereignty isn't trampled every time a little genocide breaks out in their territory.

Various formulas have been proposed and rejected, but how about this: just give each regional group one new seat, in perpetuity, to do whatever they want with. They can choose their own rotation systems, term lengths, voting rules, etc. Presumably you'd need to build in some way for the existing permanent members to veto any potential SC member they really disliked and to kick out any uncooperative members after a set period, but other than that, it'd be up to the regional groups.

Does this devolve the problem enough that it could work, politically and functionally? I don't know, but at least it's an idea I don't think I've already heard.

Update: It appears my idea is not far off the Uniting for Consensus proposal put forward in 2005, although that proposal kept the terms at two years while making them renewable, and one could haggle over the specific allotment of seats per regional group. This proposal went nowhere, stymied by supporters of the so-called G4, consisting of Germany, Japan, India and Brazil, who want permanent seats.



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