Who runs the world__ Wrestling for influence _ The Economist

Mos t bitterly c ontes ted is m em bers hip of the un

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Unformatted text preview: terly c ontes ted is m em bers hip of the UN Sec urity Counc il, whic h has the right (whether exc lus ively or not is hotly debated) to dec ide what c ons titutes a threat to world peac e and s ec urity, and what to do about it. In the UN's other big dec is ion-m aking ins titution, the General As s em bly, all the world c an have its s ay, and does . But here outs iders take their revenge: a c auc us of m os tly developing c ountries c alled the G77 (but thes e days c om pris ing 130 m em bers inc luding China) tends to dom inate and filibus ter. Might it as s uage res entm ent and im prove the c ounc il's authority and the UN's effec tivenes s if Am eric a, Britain, Franc e Rus s ia and China invited other perm anent m em bers to join them —and c ons idered giving up their veto? W hen the P5, as they are c alled, firs t grabbed the m os t powerful s lots , the UN had 51 m em bers ; dec ades of dec olonis ation and s plintering s elf-determ ination later, it has 192. The obs tac les to reform grow no s m aller either. Mos t rec ently a c onc erted effort by Braz il, Germ any, India and Japan (a s elf-s tyled G4) to join the c ounc il's perm anent m overs and s hakers was thwarted by a c om bination of footdragging, jealous y and s tiff-arm ing. Afric an c ountries failed to agree on whic h of their s everal as pirants s hould join the bid. Regional rivals —Argentina and Mexic o, Italy, Indones ia, Pakis tan and others —lobbied to bloc k the front-runners . China m ade it c lear it would veto Japan; Am eric a, in s upporting only Japan, helped des troy its friend's c hanc es . New perm anent m em bers would broaden the regional balanc e. That c ould add authority and legitim ac y to c ounc il dec is ions . Bringing in not only nuc lear-arm ed India, but s oft-powered Japan and the res t, would underc ut the notion, perpetuated by the P5, that to be a winner you need firs t to c ras h the nuc lear c lub. But m ight the pric e of a larger, perm anently m ore divers e c ounc il be m ore potential s panner-tos s ers and thus greater deadloc k?...
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