October 5, 2004
FOUR MORE 'KNOCKING AT THE UNSC'S DOOR'
UNSC reflects a world that "no longer exists"; globalization demands
Western papers worry a German seat could "tilt balance" too
much toward Europe.
dailies leery of Japan and India; Latins back Brazil as region's "natural
African and Arab writers claim their countries also "deserve"
Time for 'major overhaul'-- Global media deemed the UNSC in its current
formation an "anachronistic hangover" from the Cold War and WW II
that "unduly favors" wealthy nations.
Expansion proponents sought a "more equitable" and democratic
world body that includes "important" nations such as the group of four--India,
Japan, Brazil and Germany--to reflect new "global realities." Echoing European sentiment, Denmark's
centrist Politiken urged a reform that ensures "all peoples of the
world feel they are represented in a clear way." African and Asian dailies saw a need to
counter "the near-monopolistic power wielded" by the U.S. South Africa's liberal Mercury made
the case that "the world’s bipolar power system has collapsed and a new
set of nations and interest blocs are emerging."
Sizing up 'Gang of Four', wary of German seat-- Most judged the four applicants as having the
"best prospects" for a permanent seat; their population, economies
and UN contributions make them "too important to be ignored." They have the "breadth, weight and
proven record to qualify," judged Britain's conservative Times. Yet Euro and Canadian pundits also worried
that a German seat could "tilt the balance too much toward
Europe." German media warned PM
Fischer's "push" for a permanent spot "harbors the risk of
alienation in Europe" and would prefer, as a commentator for national
radio station Deutschlandfunk advised, that Germany "confine itself to its
core task as a mediating middle power."
Canada's leading Globe and Mail likewise feared a German seat
would "aggravate the power imbalance" favoring Europe.
Mixed Asian reviews for Japan and India; Latins
tout Brazil region's 'logical choice'-- While a
Thai daily rooted for Japan, Chinese and Pakistani papers carped that Japan and
India's impressive credentials do "not necessarily mean" they should
occupy a permanent seat. Suggesting its
rival was unfit to serve as "a regional state," Pakistan's liberal Daily
Times painted India as "hugging the Cold War notion that its neighbors
are its enemies." Latin reaction,
by contrast, was more enthusiastic toward its own candidate, with Mexico's
nationalist El Universal dubbing Brazil the "obvious Latin American
option for an enlarged" UNSC.
What's missing is a 'place' for Africa, Arab
countries-- African and Arab writers
claimed that given their regions' potential for acting as a "catalyst for
maintaining peace and security," their countries "deserve"
permanent representation in UNSC.
Declaring Africa now "mature enough" to contribute to world
affairs, African dailies crowned South Africa the "most credible
choice" to represent the continent.
"It is beyond doubt," gushed the independent Times of
Zambia, "Africa is capable of fairly correcting ills that...the
UN...has been grappling with." The
elite Jordan Times added: "Unless Arab and African countries are
also fairly represented, the demands of Japan, Brazil, India and Germany will
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202)
EDITOR: Irene Marr
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media
Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a
representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet. This report summarizes and interprets foreign
editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.
Government. This analysis was based on
40 reports from 26 countries over 23 September - 4 October 2004. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most
“Seat Of Power. Four More
Countries Should Have A Security Council Veto”
An editorial in the conservative Times
stated (10/4): "Permanent
membership of the Security Council demands not only a large budgetary contribution but a willingness to
back its decisions with troops, sanctions an even military action. No African country meets these
qualifications; no Muslim nation, except possibly Indonesia, is ready to put
global security ahead of regional or sectarian interests. Only the four claimants [Japan, Germany, India
and Brazil] have the breadth, weight and proven record to qualify, and of these
only two should be admitted immediately.
Japan, the second-largest contributor after the US and a key economic
power, is already fully engaged in UN operations; India, the world’s largest
democracy, is a potential superpower as well as an exemplar of a stable,
multiethnic, multiconfessional society.
Brazil can reasonably claim to represent all South America. But the admission of Germany, though an
economic and democratic heavyweight already taking on more UN peacekeeping
roles, could tilt the balance too much towards Europe. But by all applying together, the four have a
realistic chance at last of winning at least two seats."
FRANCE: "Japan, Brazil, India and Germany Want
to Sit In The UN Security Council"
Corine Lesnes reflected in left-of-center Le
Monde (Internet Version, 9/24):
"On the question of enlargement of the Security Council, the panel
has tabled a new proposal that would result in creating a new group of six
'semi-permanent' members to be added to the 10 non-permanent members elected
every two years and the five permanent ones that have a right of veto. These
semi-permanent members would be appointed in their regions and sit for five
years. This proposal has the merit of having renewed a debate blocked for more
than 10 years on the question of the choice of countries, but it has provoked
negative reactions from the main candidates for a permanent seat. On Tuesday
[21 September], Japan, Brazil, Germany and India held a summit meeting in New
York to officially submit their application for a permanent member seat.... The
four countries indicated they have a 'shared recognition that they are
legitimate candidates.' Africa, they
add, must also have a permanent seat. So far, no African country has officially
submitted an application. Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa are possible
claimants. The African Union is seeking an agreement on the designation of a
candidate. The four candidates obviously
reject the formula of 'semi-permanent' members.... Japan has made entry into
the Council a diplomatic priority. Last year, it warned its partners it would
reconsider its contribution when members' shares are renegotiated in 2006.
Japan currently pays more than the four permanent non-Americans combined."
Michael Stürmer commented in right-of-center Die Welt
(9/25): "Foreign Minister Joschka
Fischer wants a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, alongside the United
States, Russia, France, and Great Britain.
He points --with some justification--to the large amount of German money
that goes toward the United Nations, and the many German 'blue helmet'
troops.... As promotion to the UN elite
is something Germany will be unable to achieve on is own, Fischer is seeking
solidarity with Brazil, Japan, and India.
Yet the most that the five permanent members of the Security Council are
going to grant these pretenders is medium ranking in a three-class structure,
with the veto remaining the sticking-point.
London and Paris are keeping a low profile; while it is not hard to
imagine what Washington thinks about the prospect of a German veto. But is a permanent seat actually in Germany's
interests? For 50 years, the priority of
German policy has been not to be on its own, but to strengthen its own
influence within coalitions. We have
done well out of this. The EU's common
foreign and security policy should be what sets the tone and defines our own
policies. But now this is being
abandoned by the federal government, despite its pledge in the coalition
agreement to actively work for a European seat--which is suddenly supposed to
be a German one, instead. It is sad to
observe the architecture of Europe being sacrificed on the altar of national
ego, and the vanity of those pursuing it."
"Risking The Alienation Of Europe"
Centrist Stuttgarter Zeitung had this to say (9/24): "Even Germany's current move harbors the
risk of alienation in Europe. Other
middle powers like Italy and Poland, but also Scandinavians are suspicious of
the German canvassing. The cracks in the
EU could now widen. But reality also
shows that nobody is waiting for Germany [to join the UNSC]. No German government in the UNSC would have
been able to send a reasonable UN mission to Rwanda, no German foreign minister
would have been able to persuade Russia to accept a Kosovo resolution in 1999,
and as a rotating Security Council member, Germany would not have been able to
prevent a U.S. unilateral move in Iraq.
Berlin should concentrate on other things. Environmental protection, development
assistance, disaster prevention; there are many political fields where the UN
can help mankind make progress. But in
order to do this, it must reform itself first."
"Well-Meant Is Not Enough"
Eric Chauvistré noted in leftist die tageszeitung of Berlin
(9/24): "Of course, an application
for a permanent seat on the UNSC is not per se legitimate. We have not yet heard a clear answer to this
question.... Those who argue that we are
among the biggest contributors and are militarily everywhere present on behalf
of the UN are damaging the idea of the United Nations. With this view, these people suggest that it
is possible to buy or work militarily for such a permanent seat. The view that German foreign policy is thus
well visible for everyone and has nothing to do with particular interests and
personal vanities does not suffice. The
naïve reference that we only mean it well and only want the best for the rest
of the world sounds strangely familiar;
we usually hear it once the current government defends its foreign
policy in Washington."
"Nothing To Do With Nationalism"
Center-right Neue Westfaelische of Bielefeld (9/24) had
this to say: "The time is ripe. It
is not an expression of megalomania if Germany claims a seat on the UN Security
Council. It does justice to the
realities of international crisis management.
The German government accepts its responsibility and is among the
leading nations when it comes to contributions and sending forces. German diplomacy - as the Middle East shows -
is no longer in demand in Europe only.
In this situation it would only be fair if Germany is represented in this
body with a seat and a voice.... This
has nothing to do with nationalism."
"Serious Or Not Serious"
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger had this to say in an editorial in
center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (9/24): "While India, Brazil and Japan send
their leading politicians to New York to make clear to every one that they are
serious about their plans and show the will to use all their political capital,
Chancellor Schroeder leaves it to his foreign minister to find support for his
position...but it would have been Schroeder's task to proclaim Germany's claim
and represent it if he were really serious about it.... Maybe he is not really expecting an
enlargement of the Security Council....
Rivalry and envy in Asia, Latin America or Africa, even in Europe, have
not been invalidated because the four want it that way."
"Four Countries Want To Become UNSC
Members, But Why?"
Stefan Kornelius opined in an editorial in
center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (9/23): "The application
of the four countries suffered less from a lack of symbols but from a
meagerness of arguments. It was again UN
Secretary-General Annan and U.S. President Bush who set standards with their
speeches in which they dealt with the central issue of an ailing UN:
credibility and assertiveness. We can
certainly ignore Bush's speech as an element of the election campaign (which is
by the way true), but, nevertheless, his words pointed the way ahead because
they contain the U.S. security policy logic.
Of what use will be a UN that is unable to define its goals, and fails
to implement its international interests thus losing all its
credibility...while Annan was able to bridge in an impressive way the gap
between assertiveness and credibility.
Of what use will be a policy of a tough hand presented by the United
States if the international community does not want to be lead by the
U.S.? What about legitimacy if Bush
wants democracy and human rights but does not want to accept standards and acts
on his own in case of doubt? These are
the questions that will determine the ability of the UN to reform. The gang of four only has a few meager
answers available.... Their policy is
only declamatory. Of course, Germany,
Japan, Brazil, and India have a claim for a greater say because they
considerably contribute to the UN and send soldiers all over the world. But those who want to become UNSC members
must explain why the supervisory council of the international community of
nations will become more effective and more legitimate through an
enlargement. Thus far, their application
does not create enthusiasm."
"Gang Of Four"
Business daily Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf
stated (9/23): "Germany, Brazil, India, and Japan have bundled their forces
to achieve an enlargement of the UN Security Council. These are the four candidates with the best
prospects for a permanent seat on the UNSC and that makes it easier for them to
cooperate. This cooperation and cohesion will be bitterly necessary once the UN
reform debate will enter its 'dirty stage' next year. Then the current courtesy in the debate will
give way to haggling and bickering. But
if the 'gang of four' sticks together despite the regional tensions, it will
have an effect. With respect to their
population, economic output and UN contributions, the four are too important to
be [ignored]. The criticism they have
presented that the Security Council no longer reflects the world of the 21st
century creates problems for the UN.
This can revive the reform will of the current five veto powers."
"Concert Of Powers"
Rainer Burchardt had this to say in a commentary
on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (9/23): "For reasons of prestige, it is really
not necessary for Germany to play a role in the concert of major powers. For a long time, we have been a globally
respected partner in the diplomatic arena....
The courageous decision of the Schroeder government not to take part in
the Iraq war and the closely linked criticism of the United States and Britain
have resulted in great respect and acknowledgment for the 'new Germany.' But we must also wonder whether more could
have been achieved if we had had a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Of course not.... No, Germany should confine itself to its core
task as a mediating middle power, increase its influence in Washington and
Moscow, in order to help the UN get a greater significance and work for a
decentralization of the power balance on this globe."
"Frattini At UN: Italy Makes New Play"
Mario Platero commented in Milan-based leading
financial Il Sole-24 Ore (9/24):
"Italy reopened the wound which has divided India and Pakistan, for
example: If India were to join as a full-fledged permanent member, this development
would be unacceptable to Pakistan. And
perhaps, as a consequence, for the United States, which is in danger of
alienating from itself important allies in the fight against terrorism. Thus the battle for reform has taken off
again in a more heated fashion than ever before. And the danger remains that of a quick fix,
in other words a sudden action to confront the Assembly with the fait accompli
of four new members on which to vote in a short timeframe, and prior to the
proposal by the wise men which is expected at the end of December. If there is a majority of two thirds of the
vote, the proposal will get through without any further discussion. This hypothesis was once again rejected by
Frattini as an imposition from outside, and outside institutional dialogue:
"In deciding between the satisfaction of the few and the inclusion of the
many, a wrong decision is a luxury which the United Nations, at the very heart
of the international system, cannot afford," he said at the end of his speech."
“At UN The Sixteen Experts Disappoint The Band
An editorial in elite, classical liberal daily Il
Foglio (9/23): “The ‘band of four’ countries (Germany, Japan, India and
Brazil) seeking to become permanent UNSC members met yesterday to coordinate
the next steps, while speculation increases on the contents of the report that
the 16 ‘experts’ will present to Secretary General Kofi Annan.… UN reform, and
particularly Security Council reform is a very tortuous and highly political
process, so much so that despite the fact talks have been going on for some
time now no agreement has yet been reached.”
"UN Reflects A World That No Longer Exists"
Foreign affairs writer for centrist daily Die
Presse Friederike Leibl wrote (9/23):
"The UN's basic structures keep alive the ideal concept of a world
that is dominated by the West, thus leaving out the South and negating
decades-long political developments.... For years, demands for a UN reform have
been in vain. But now that the colossus is faltering, the biggest chance so far
for far-reaching changes has come.... Critics object on the grounds that an
enlarged body of permanent Security Council members might fall apart, that the
decision-making process would become even more difficult. Even more problematic
seems to be the principal acceptance of new members.... In Europe, Germany's
attempt to gain a permanent seat in has killed the vision that Europe might be
represented in the Security Council with a seat of its own. In 2002, the German
government had still given priority to this option. Now it claims that Europe
has not yet developed far enough, the aim is unattainable, individual countries
can achieve more. Never would London or Paris have consented to be represented
by a single vote in the Security Council. Never would the EU have been able to
agree to speak with one voice. Berlin is now going it alone. Among other
reasons out of a zest for power politics - those who, like Germany, are
becoming ever more engaged internationally, also want to move closer to the
center of decision-making. This is what the present is like.”
"The New World:
Globalization Demands UN Reform"
Centrist Politiken (Internet Version,
9/25): "At the United Nations
General Assembly many countries, Denmark among them, spoke in support of a
reform of the world organization's structures, so that it is better able to
meet the challenges that a globalized world presents us with. This sounds
self-evident. For centuries we have discussed
what we in each individual nation view as the common good. Now we must raise at the global level the
question of the common good -- the good things that can only be achieved as a
result of a coordinated political effort.
But the road to this goal is long and rocky. Unfortunately, on this point neoliberal and
isolationist forces in the strongest UN member nation, the United States, and
nationalist governments in many parts of the world have shared interests with
authoritarian regimes and dictatorships which reject any suggestion of interference
in their internal affairs. The United
States reserves the right to act unilaterally on all issues from war to the
environment. And when a foreign policy
like this is accompanied by an ideology which gives priority to free market
forces, what we have is the recipe for international anarchy. For this reason it will be an uphill struggle
for the supporters of global cooperation within the United Nations. The first battlefield will be a reform of
the UN Security Council. A number of
countries, with Germany as the driving force, have proposed that the large
countries in the southern hemisphere should be given permanent seats on the
council. It is important that more
important nations should assume some responsibility for the world's security,
not only against war and terrorism, but also in all the "soft" areas
to do with human rights, poverty, the environment, and development. These are described in the United Nations'
so-called 2015 goals, whose achievement certainly cannot be guaranteed unless
many more rich countries make a serious effort, by drastically increasing their
aid to the developing countries, for example. An even more distant prospect is
the problem of involving what have by now become the countless transnational
forces, from NGO's to multinational companies and social movements, that today
are independent players on the world stage.
Sooner or later they, too, must be brought into the work of the world
organization, if globalization is to be governed by political forces, and not
by chance. The United Nations therefore
needs a major overhaul that will ensure that the peoples of the world feel that
they are represented by the world organization in a way that is clear, but
quite different from the situation that prevails today. The
future of the world is a global concern."
SPAIN: "Zapatero At UN"
Centrist La Vanguardia wrote (9/23/):
"Zapatero's speech leaves many questions up in the air on how his proposal
can be translated into concrete results. The positive image of a peaceful Spain
that Zapatero wanted to transmit is very clear. It is another thing if this is
"United Nations Visions"
Conservative ABC noted (9/23): "More than the "grandeur" of
this ambitious speech, were concealed thorny issues that the Europeans have not
been able to solve.... Zapatero's UN
vision, although vague, will sooner or later lead to difficult contradictions
for the Europeans."
TURKEY: "A Role For
Sami Kohen wrote in the mass-appeal Milliyet (9/28): “The UN General Assembly has served as a
suitable forum for Turkey to voice Ankara’s determination to play a significant
role in international platforms. Foreign
Minister Gul talked about Turkey’s experiences and positions on issues ranging
from the Balkans to Iraq, from Palestine to Afghanistan, and from terrorism to
anti-Semitism. Given Turkey’s
involvement in international organizations, the minister stated Turkey’s
advantage in contributing to a convergence of the Islamic world and the
West. Turkey wants to see a restructuring
of the UN. It also wants to be a member
of the UN Security Council. There are
more reasons than ever before to expect that Turkey will be supported for this
position. Turkey is becoming an
increasingly important international player due to its recent efforts in world
affairs. The expectations voiced during
the UNGA indicate Turkey’s willingness to expand its role even further.”
"Fair Change Makes Sense"
An editorial in the elite, English-language Jordan
Times judged (9/30): "The
request made by Japan, Germany, Brazil and India to occupy permanent seats at
the UN Security Council is certainly one of the highlights of the just started
UN General Assembly ordinary session at the UN headquarters in New York. The demands
of these pivotal countries has consequences that go beyond their being able to
enjoy becoming permanent members of the Security Council. First and foremost, these applications for a
new status at council level suggest that the UN Charter, which was adopted more
than half a century ago, is overdue for a review. Many changes occurred at national, regional
and international levels after 1945, when World War II ended ushering in a new
phase in international relations. It certainly makes sense that Japan, Germany,
India and Brazil occupy a position in the council that is commensurate with
their economic, political and even military powers. What is missing, though,
are similar proposals to grant African and Arab world countries a place in the
proposed changes in the Security Council. Africa deserves representation at the
council on a permanent basis and the choice of a nation from this continent
that would speak on behalf of the African nations could be left for the African
countries themselves. By the same token, the Arab countries constitute a
significant part of the international community, numbering 20 states. They
certainly deserve a permanent representation at the main UN organ and,
hopefully, act as a catalyst for maintaining peace and security. That is why
unless African and Arab countries are also fairly represented, the demands of
Japan, Brazil, India and Germany will remain incomplete. Another dimension of
the proposed amendment...is the exercise of the veto power of the permanent
members of the council. It is high time that a more enlightened approach to the
exercise of the veto power be introduced in the UN Charter. While it is hoped
that one day the exercise of this power will be rescinded altogether, for the
time being it should be confined to the five permanent members only, and not
extended to any potential new members."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
Nations After Iraq"
The liberal Sydney Morning Herald editorialized
(9/20): "Mr. Annan knows the UN's
future depends on its capacity to reform....
There is no way forward, however, without reconciliation between the
U.S. and the rest of the international community. A more responsive UN would rely heavily on
the military power and funds of the world's wealthier nations, none more
singularly important than world's sole remaining superpower. This means considering Washington's
interests--such as its contentious assertion that the legal right to self
defense should include pre-emptive first strikes on a potential
aggressor--while expanding the Security Council to more accurately reflect the
global balance of power in the 21st century.
Japan, Germany, Indonesia, Brazil and South Africa are under
consideration for inclusion. Terrorism,
undoubtedly, will be especially hard to define and address. The General Assembly is meeting under this
long shadow. The success of the UN's
reform effort is vital. Without a
respected global umpire, the world reverts to Dr. Grotius's 17th century
reality in which raw power alone determines who makes the rules."
CHINA: "UN Problems
Boil Down To 'Near Monopolistic Power' Of World's Leading Superpower"
Official English-language China Daily
commented (Internet version, 9/28): "Last week, the United Nations
Secretary General, Kofi Anan, for the first time, described the invasion of
Iraq as illegal, a fact well known to the world since pre-invasion build up in
2002. The problems of the UN boil down
to the near-monopolistic power wielded by the world's leading imperialistic
superpower, the United States. The Bush
administration, which has become arrogant, unilateralist, and under the rule of
the so-called neo-conservatives, has chosen to trample upon the civilized codes
of conduct of international relations.
The reality of a world system that has come under the control of a lone
superpower has therefore rendered the UN system, with its tradition of
multilateralism, very weak. The world
is now less safe than at any point since the end of the Cold War. The United States, under the rule of the
neo-conservatives, has railroaded the entire international community into
accepting its own priority of the fight against so-called international
terrorism, making it the foremost problem in the contemporary world. It is however important for the different
countries of the world, united within the international system of the UN, to
regain their voices and begin to speak out against the illegalities that
underscore the foreign policy of the United States, which it attempts to ram
down the throats of the weak and strong alike."
"Security Council Expansion:
A Political Difficulty"
Zhang Ling commented in the China Radio International-sponsored
newspaper World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (9/27): "Brazil, Germany, India and Japan’s
joint announcement [that they would jointly press for inclusion]...added fuel
to the Security Council expansion issue, which is already very
complicated.... In regard to Security
Council expansion, there are two core issues:
first, how to expand; second, whether or not the added members should
have ‘veto’ power.... Security Council
expansion should primarily take into consideration developing countries. Many factors like population, economy,
military and regional influence should be considered in establishing new
membership, not just economic factors....
Otherwise the UN will become a club for rich and powerful
countries.... This has suddenly aroused
a sensational reaction. These countries,
Germany, Japan, Brazil and India, etc., who think they are most qualified for
permanent membership think that the plan has turned them into second-class
countries.... For the four countries,
even though joining hands can’t guarantee they all win in the end, promoting
reform is their common interest. As long
as the wheels of reform start rolling, they are hopeful about realizing their
wish.... An increase in Permanent
Membership concerns the balance of power and efficiency of the UN in the
future.... Although they signed this
‘joint agreement,’ it is still hard to know the possibilities for their
entering the Security Council."
"UN Seat Needs More Than Money"
Hu Xuan commented in the official English-language newspaper China
Daily (9/24): “Japan has been
feverishly knocking at the United Nations (UN) Security Council's door.... [PM] Koizumi, who has been somewhat cautious
in the past about permanent membership in the UN Security Council, now says
Japan 'should have a greater say in the international community.'... As the world's second-largest economy, there
is no doubt that Japan should play a larger international role. This does not necessarily mean, however, that
it should take a permanent seat on the Council.
Despite all the diplomatic niceties, analysts do not paint a rosy
picture for Japan's efforts to gain a permanent seat. The UN reform aims at enlarging the Council
to command greater respect, especially in the developing world. Japan would not be able to press for
membership on the basis of geographical diversity, or on the basis of being a
developing state.... There is obviously
a limit to what money can and cannot buy.
Japan's unsuccessful bid for a permanent seat is an indication of where
one could draw the line.... There should
be no abusive linkage between contributions and attribution of the permanent
seats.... Koizumi has pursued a policy
aimed at what Japanese nationalists call a return to 'normal statehood.' With the prime minister and other top
Japanese officials repeatedly paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine, their
irresponsible deeds can only alienate their country from its neighbors instead
of winning their support for Japan pursuing a bigger role on the international
JAPAN: "Japan Needs
Support from U.S. And Asian Neighbors"
Conservative Sankei argued (9/27): "Prime Minister Koizumi needs to
overcome several hurdles in seeking a permanent UN Security Council seat for
Japan. First, he needs to win U.S.
support for Japan's quest. The prime
minister needs to convince the U.S. Congress, which is said to be suspicious
about Japan's ability to bear the responsibility of being a UNSC member. Koizumi may stress that although Japan would
be able to make limited military contributions to UN peace-making efforts, Japan's
participation in the UNSC as a non-nuclear power would be highly
significant. Negative reaction by Asian
neighbors, including China and South Korea, is another obstacle to be cleared
by Tokyo. Not only the prime minister
but also politicians and diplomats need to do their utmost to gain their
NEW ZEALAND: "Reform
Of UN Needed Urgently"
The Manawatu Standard editorialized (Internet version,
9/24): "If anything good ever comes
out of the continuing tragedy that is Iraq, it is that there might, at last, be
some meaningful changes made at the United Nations. Starting with the make-up of the Security
Council, it is past time, surely, for serious reform if the UN is to have any
meaningful effect for the better on the state of international relations this
century. The Security Council...is an
anachronistic hangover from the Cold War (which ended in 1989) and World War
II.... Japan, for example, which
contributes to nearly 20 percent of the UN's budget, isn't a member. Nor is Germany, the powerhouse of
Europe. India, the world's second-most
populous country, isn't a permanent member of the council and neither is
anybody from Africa or South America. So
you don't have to be a genius to see that membership of the council is at once
skewed and lop-sided and far from representative of global realities.... There are dangers in reform--but the UN needs
to be revitalized if it is to have relevance in the future and make the world a
THAILAND: "UNSC Must
The independent, English-language Nation commented (9/27): “Too often, the UNSC’s decisions are made
through Western perceptions of security.
China alone, despite its power and long-standing presence on the
council, cannot speak for all of Asia.
Granting Japan permanent membership on the council would not only give
credit where credit is due, but also be a move towards a more just
Former UN permanent representative Chinmaya R. Gharekhan remarked
in the nationalist Hindustan Times (9/27): "According to media reports, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh did not broach India's interest in acquiring the
permanent membership of the Security Council in his meeting with President Bush
in New York on September 22. It was the
right thing to have done. Media reports
also suggest that he conveyed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan India's
rejection of the proposal to create a new category of semi-permanent
members. This, too, was the right thing
to do.... The U.S. ...is obliged to
support the candidatures of Germany and Japan for political and financial
reasons; its position towards countries such as India is that they must get
themselves endorsed by their respective regional groups. This is a polite way of saying that the U.S.
is not enthusiastic about them. And like
most things at the UN, the U.S. holds the key to this question.... Now that New Delhi has entered into firm
reciprocal support agreements with Germany, Japan and Brazil, it makes
diplomatic sense to let the other three countries raise this issue with the
U.S. ... India would always have to
struggle for endorsement of its claim.
Apart from that, India has put forward its candidature for a permanent
seat, and cannot be enthused for some half-baked formula which has only one
objective, namely, to deny permanent membership to India and others. Countries such as Pakistan, Indonesia,
Argentina and others for their own reasons are very fond of this formula since,
apart from torpedoing the candidatures of India and Brazil--they have no
problem with Germany and Japan--it gives them the opportunity to claim equal
status with their respective regional rivals.
Nuclear weapons gave Pakistan strategic parity with India. The 'winning formula' would give it political
and diplomatic parity. It was appropriate
for India to register its views with the Secretary-General at the highest
level. Annan will no doubt reflect this
and other inputs that he will receive from others when he submits the panel's
report to the membership of the UN next year."
India At UN Security Council"
The liberal, English-language Daily Times
had this to say (Internet version, 9/28):
"By taking the position that no expansion of the apex body was
really needed, Pakistan has adroitly avoided taking on India at the United
Nations on the question of its becoming a permanent member of the Security
Council. There were already five
permanent members who could veto resolutions and halt collective action. Throughout the Cold War the veto stood in the
way of the resolution of many important issues just because the United States
and the Soviet Union did not see eye to eye about how the world had to be
governed. Some issues were addressed by
the UN successfully after the Cold War but soon enough the veto
reappeared. It is now used mercifully to
prevent the unilateralism of one superpower.
If at this stage the veto-carrying members were increased from, let us
say, five to 10, the institution of the veto will fall by the wayside because
of sheer proliferation.... The states interested in [UNSC] expansion are also
those that wish to curtail its powers by watering down the power of veto. The intent is to have so many vetoes that it
would be counterproductive for anyone to even think of bringing an issue to the
Security Council.... There is no doubt
that India is a big country with a population of one billion. It has remained admirably democratic and now
the world is looking at it as a potential big power. As a regional state, however, it has not yet
learned to behave appropriately towards its neighbors.... If India were to resolve its disputes with
its neighbors amicably, it could be theoretically qualified to represent South
Asia at the UN on a permanent basis....
But as it stands today, India seems to be hugging the Cold War notion
that its neighbors are its enemies and need to be put back in place as
subordinate states. Giving a permanent
seat to India at this stage would simply be gifting a veto that would embolden
India to 'boss' it over the region and enhance the chances of conflict."
"Reform Is In The Air"
The independent English-language Bangladesh Observer held
(9/28): "To give up Security
Council reform is, in the words of the Japanese, tantamount to accepting an
unacceptable consequence: that the
council will continue to be dominated by the victors of World War II. However, as most people believe the absence
of a United Nations will scuttle the gains made on issues of human rights,
refugees and the environment, the world must prevent it from going the way of
the League of Nations. For all its
faults, it is still the best protector of democracy and the best dampener for
aggression by powerful states."
SOUTH AFRICA: "UN
The liberal Mercury editorialized (9/27): “The time is overdue for restructuring the
United Nations Security Council in a more logical and democratic way.... The world’s bi-polar power system has
collapsed and a new set of nations and interest blocs are emerging. Several proposals for Security Council reform
are in the melting pot.... However, many
of the world body’s...member nations are tired of any system that will continue
to unduly favor the wealthy nations while neglecting to address serious issues
facing the planet--including environmental degradation, poverty and
under-development.... South Africa has
emerged as one of the leading African nations wanting a seat on an expanded
Security Council.... South Africa’s
size--coupled with a record of reconciliation and stability over 10 years--places
it in the best position to voice the hopes and concerns of Africa.”
"SA Declares Its Bid"
The liberal Star commented (9/29): “At last South Africa has stepped
forward...and accepted that its destiny is to play a starring role in the
continent’s affairs.... Africa needs to
be represented at the UN by a strong, democratic and consistent country that is
capable of looking beyond national interests to continental interest. No one else fits the bill.... Forget Pretoria’s assurances that there will
be no battle for the African seat. Mbeki
acknowledged as much when he said that if Africa would not choose its own
candidate the rest of the world might have to.
Let the contest begin!”
Balanced Business Day observed (9/28): “The ‘African complexion’ of some of the
matters discussed by the [UNSC]...call...for African countries to be given a
direct say in the council’s affairs....
The fight for the African seat, or seats, is likely to be a lot less
timid than, say, the 2010 Soccer world Cup bid.
And it goes without saying that of all the African contenders, SA is the
most credible choice. It is the most
politically stable and most capable of shouldering the great responsibilities,
on behalf of Africa, of such an appointment.
One concern would be the relative weakness of the current foreign
minister, who has yet to make her mark on world affairs outside of the many
conferences she attends.... The other
candidates have their problems too....
Of course, all the jostling may be academic if the U.S. decides that the
UN and its Security Council no longer matter.
There will not have been much point in winning a permanent voice on the
council if the world’s superpower decides it is no longer worth listening to.”
Nations: Regaining Its Voice"
The Abuja-based Daily Trust noted (9/22): "It is however important for the
different countries of the world, united within the international system of the
UN, to regain their voices and begin to speak out against the illegalities that
underscore the foreign policy of the United States, which it attempts to ram
down the throats of the weak and strong alike.
There is also the need to push through the reform of the UN system,
especially in respect of the Security Council.
It has become unacceptable that just a few countries, would continue to
determine the fate of the world system, but as we have witnessed in recent
events, the Security Council has almost become the instrument of furtherance of
the foreign policy of the United States.
A more equitable United Nations Security Council should bring on board
such countries as India, Japan, Brazil, Germany and Nigeria to reflect the
realities of a complex world determined to build a harmonized world in a
twenty-first century of infinite possibilities for humankind."
"Continent Mature Enough For Permanent Representation"
The independent Times of Zambia (Ndola)
editorialized (9/24): "Africa has
come of age and deserves a permanent place on the United Nations (UN) Security
Council. South Africa should therefore
be backed to sit on the Security Council on behalf of Africa. The continent is now mature enough for
permanent representation on the Security Council to effectively contribute to
the evolution of world affairs. It is
beyond doubt that Africa is capable of fairly correcting ills that afflict the
world that the UN and the world at large have been grappling with. Africa has its own views and feelings
concerning conflicts and disputes that the Security Council has tabled. Some contentious issues that the Security
Council has mandate on have a purely African complexion that calls for the
continent to have a direct say. That
Africa has been left out in the decision making process of matters that not
only effect the continent's well-being but also as a contributor on global
issues is a synopsis that should be changed immediately.... For the Security Council to be legitimate and
representative its composition should be acceptable to the dictates of the
present. African countries should back
the South African candidature. South Africa would ably represent the continent
on the council. At the 59th UN General
Assembly African countries called for the reformation of the Security Council
so that the continent could secure a seat.
The call should not end with the continent splitting its vote but
resolutely backing South Africa's bid and ultimate confirmation on the
council. Africa's maturity and
unheralded approach to a peaceful world will only manifest when the continent
is consulted on issues affecting humankind.
A seat on the UN Security Council shall give Africa that opportunity and
South Africa is the right candidate."
CANADA: "Paul Martin's
Vision For The UN"
The conservative National Post asserted
(9/24): "For too long, Canada's
leaders have been uncritical admirers of the United Nations. The reason has not
been hard to fathom: The UN is the world's pre-eminent multilateral body. And
in matters of foreign policy, multilateralism is Ottawa's dominant
orthodoxy. As this page has long argued,
such reverence is misplaced. Certainly, many of the UN's humanitarian agencies
do good work. But as a political body, the UN is useless.... Currently, the only doctrine by which one UN
member may attack another is self-defence -- and even this theory is often
interpreted so narrowly as to preclude attacks on rogue nations that support
terrorist groups, create regional turmoil or seek to amass weapons of mass
destruction. Absent a Security Council
declaration to the contrary, humanitarian intervention is not generally seen as
a legally valid basis for war-making -- a fact anti-American pundits have
applied to impugn such eminently defensible wars as the 1999 campaign to
protect Kosovar Albanians. But Mr.
Martin's answer to this strikes us as unrealistic.... What worries us about this idea is that it
suggests humanitarian wars might be mandated and troops dispatched on the basis
of abstract legal tests imposed by the UN. This would be a bad idea. A nation's
decision to send its soldiers to face death on a foreign battlefield will
always be, fundamentally, a moral one. It is a multilateral fallacy to imagine
that it can be outsourced to lawyers or international bodies. As the examples of Iraq, Kosovo, Sierra
Leone, Afghanistan and Bosnia show, the best way to liberate oppressed peoples
is for Western nations to take matters into their own hands. By contrast, when
it is the United Nations calling the shots, the outcome is more likely to
resemble that of Rwanda... Whatever new
regime of international law the Prime Minister may seek to usher into
existence, the doctrine of humanitarian intervention will be hollow unless
nations such as ours have the military might to project force in places like
Darfur.... Paul Martin is to be
commended for his well-intentioned efforts to reform the United Nations. But if
he wants to help save lives around the world, Canada must look inward as
"The Security Council's Musical Chairs"
David Malone, former Canadian ambassador to the UN, opined in the
leading, independent Globe and Mail (Internet Version, 9/20): "Any realistic proposal for council
reform must swallow the bitter pill of the five permanent members' privileged
position; Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, were granted a
veto over council decisions at the UN's inception in 1945.... The power
imbalance that favours Europe in the council would be aggravated by German
claims to a permanent seat based on its share of the UN bill, and on Germany's
active role in promoting security in places such as Kosovo and Afghanistan....
The new semi-permanent seats would be granted to four newly configured regions
-- Europe, Asia, Africa, Americas.
Canada would migrate from a Western European-dominated hybrid to an
Americas-only group. This could be
electorally to our advantage. For
example, if the Americas were granted two of these seats, as the panel
apparently proposes, Canada might alternate in one with Mexico, while Brazil
alternates with Argentina in the other. These proposals have been hotly
contested by the candidates for permanent seats, notably Japan, Germany and
India. Meanwhile, Egypt insists that at
a time of contentious relations between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds,
ensuring Islamic community representation is vital. Besides, it's hard to see why countries such
as India and Brazil, whose clout is increasing sharply, should acquiesce not
only in second-class status in the council but also to the uncertainty of
election every few years to the newly created second-rank seats. These
discussions touch on broader consideration of the post-Cold War institutional
architecture.... There are always strong arguments against meaningful change at
the UN advanced by governments that take a narrow view of their national
interests (most do). But a strong,
credible UN is in the interests of most member states and this will require
significant change in how the UN addresses global threats -- and who makes
those decisions. Otherwise, the drift
toward unilateralism by the powerful will gather momentum -- witness Russia's
claims earlier this month to use preventive force to address terrorism, echoing
the Bush administration's contentions over Iraq. As citizens of the world, we
should welcome reform. But for
governments such as Canada's, the Rubik's puzzle, involving important elements
both of national interest and of collective benefit, remains redoubtable and so
"Brazil: Strong Offensive To
Obtain More Power At UN"
Eleonora Gosman, Sao Paulo-based correspondent
for leading Clarin, wrote (9/23):
"Brazil [has] launched an offensive to achieve its 'strategic
priority' in foreign policy: a permanent
seat at the UN Security Council.... A
year away from its 60th Anniversary, today the Security Council is an
anachronistic entity. This structure was
only valid for the situation existing at the end of WWII. In 1945...the UN was made up of 40 countries.
Today, there are 191. But the need for a
UN reform has nothing to do with the number of members, nor its democratization
through principles. The war in Iraq
devastated the image of the UN and the Security Council. It showed its weakness regarding the
unilateral decision of the U.S. and Great Britain to invade that country without
authorization from the Council....
According to sources, before his departure as UN chief next year, Kofi
Annan wants to leave his own mark. He's
allegedly planning to democratize the UN.
Nevertheless, Anna's ambition, which coincides with that of G-4, isn't
easy to achieve."
"A Strategic Move"
Eleonora Gosman, leading Clarin Sau
Paulo-based correspondent, opined (9/23): "Brazil is aware that
democratizing the UN isn't a task you can accomplish overnight. But it's also
true that diplomacy and the Lula administration follow a key principle: the
present political issues that will be the seed for tomorrow's results. After
the war in Iraq, the expansion of the UN may eventually strengthen Brazil's
position in favor of peace. This is the
thesis defended by Brazil and, following that principle, it has already
received endorsement from France, Russia and China, plus that of Great
BRAZIL: "Powell Begins Visit That Shows
Interest Towards Brazil"
Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo
Washington correspondent reported (10/4): "According to Brazilian and
American diplomats, Secstate Powell's visit to Brazil will emphasize and
reinforce the good relationship between the two nations. Postponed several times due to problems in
the Secstate agenda, the visit has not been resulted by specific issues and is
expected to encompass bilateral political and economic topics included in the
U.S.-Brazil dialogue. Brazil's
aspiration of a permanent seat at the UNSC will also be discussed."
MEXICO: "Mexico And
The Security Council"
Academic Eugenio Anguiano wrote in the
nationalist El Universal (9/27): "Last week at the U.N.
headquarters in New York, Germany, Brazil, India and Japan stated that they
will support each other's goal to become a permanent member of the Security
Council.... The Mexican government doesn't seem willing to recognize that
Brazil is the obvious Latin American option for an enlarged Security Council.
Since the times of Angel Gurria as the head of the Foreign Relations
Secretariat up to the present, there have been sporadic movements against
accepting Brazil as the natural candidate. But our country hasn't shown any
clear diplomacy that would offer another possibility. This is due to the
hesitant Mexican attitude regarding its participation in the Security Council,
a by-product of the dilemma between realism or idealism in foreign
"Chile And United Nations In The Neighborhood.”
Popular, conservative afternoon daily La Segunda commented
(9/23) “In the U.N. General Assembly, President Lagos spoke in favor of
multilateralism as a means to resolve international conflicts, move forward in
a balanced manner, and protect the rights of weaker nations in the
globalization process.... The heart of
the controversy is whether...large powers can legitimately unilaterally decide
to launch preventive military attacks against threats like terrorism or weapons
of mass destruction.... President Lagos’
stance...opposes all unilateral interventions not approved by the United
Nations. But given the challenge the
current concentration of power poses, this calls first for the elimination of
the inefficiency in the U.N.’s reactions, agreements, and even sanctions. In this regard, Lagos underscored the need
for the total reconfiguration of the U.N. and specifically its Security
A column by Jorge Vivanco Mendieta in
Guayaquil’s centrist Expreso (9/26):
“The inauguration of this UN assembly was used to present clear
proposals that show that poor countries, impoverished by the [current world]
system are aware of what is happening and are taking positions, thus, showing
that dignity has not been entirely lost.
Brazil’s President proposed the unification of Latin America to fight
against hunger and poverty before negotiating free trade accords. Kirchner from Argentina - the third of the
Latin American axis formed by Brazil and Venezuela, demanded that the
International Monetary Fund act again as a moneylender for development, instead
of being a creditor and a demanding collector of external debt.... There is an international consensus
developing that is steering the world down a whole, new, different path because
the economic and financial system sustaining the so-called globalizing
neo-liberalism cannot keep dominating the world. It is perverse and impracticable, because
concentrating wealth in clubs of increasingly fewer countries deepens poverty
in the majority of countries, which, at a certain point will cause them to rise
up to demand their right to a decent and secure survival. As history has shown us, once people start
mobilizing, they are unstoppable.”