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Unformatted text preview: The hope would be that onc e diffic ult outs iders
got their feet perm anently under the table, s haring the res pons ibility for m anaging the world
would s top them protec ting bad elem ents , as South Afric a (c urrently a rotating m em ber) has
been doing with Zim babwe, in part to defy the perm anent five.
Pris ing the P5 from their vetoes m ight, however, have advers e effec ts . It was dependable
veto power, ens uring their vital interes ts were never overridden, that kept Am eric a and
Rus s ia talking at the UN—and Nikita Khrus hc hev s hoe-banging—through the darkes t
epis odes of the c old war. Rus s ia will not forget the m is take of the brief Soviet boyc ott of the
c ounc il that led to forc e being authoris ed to repel North Korea at the s tart of the Korean war
in 1950. China s hows no s ign of veto s elf-effac em ent, either.
But s taying at the table does not guarantee agreem ent. The UN is deliberately an
organis ation of s tates , and s tates differ for reas ons good and bad. George Bus h went to war
in Iraq without explic it bac king from the Sec urity Counc il (jus t as NATO went to war to end
ethnic c leans ing in Kos ovo, des pite Rus s ia's c ertain veto had the is s ue c om e to a c ounc il
vote). But the c ounc il's divis ions on the m os t c ontentious is s ues have not prevented
res pons ible s tewards hip els ewhere. A Sec urity Counc il s um m it in 1992 agreed that the
proliferation of weapons of m as s des truc tion was a “threat to peac e and s ec urity” to be dealt
with forc ibly if need be. After the attac ks of Septem ber 11th 2001, new res olutions were
pas s ed to c urb terroris ts ' financ e and keep nuc lear, c hem ic al and biologic al weapons out of
their hands .
There has been a huge inc reas e over the pas t 15 years in the num bers of blue helm ets ,
with 100,000 s oldiers and polic e c urrently deployed. This is c redited with helping to reduc e
the num ber of c onflic ts between s tates , as well as c alm ing c ivil wars from Bos nia to Haiti,
from Cam bodia to Sudan, from Congo...
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- Summer '08