This Magazine

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Veto this!

This Magazine Staff

While the world awaits a UN decision, expected this week, on deployment of African peacekeeping forces to halt the humanitarian crisis in Sudan, the broader debate at the United Nations is internal democracy—specifically, which nations should have permanent seats and a veto on the Security Council.

The 15 seat council has only 5 permanent members, reflecting the post-WWII world – the US, Britain, France, China and Russia can each throw a monkey wrench into progressive (or regressive) world policy anytime they feel threatened by it… and regularly do.

The International Herald Tribune has a short piece on the debate, which includes the suggestion that the continent of Africa be given a permanent voice in the chambers – not sure how that would work.

I have always wondered what the world would look like if the permanent seats remained – superpowers are superpowers after all, and if they are to be expected to pick up the bill 99% of the time, they should really be invited to the discussion – but the power of veto disappeared. How long would it take for the US or China to walk out of the building altogether if they knew they had to abide by a vote that swung on, say, the honourable representative from Romania?

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