From Socialist Voice, August 2005

UN reform needed—but not this way

Irish sovereignty and neutrality, in both foreign policy and military co-operation, have almost disappeared. This is seen in the recent decision of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, not to take any position in relation to the proposed changes in the running of the United Nations, and in particular on the expansion in the number of permanent members of the Security Council.
    The Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson is reported to have stated that “the Government has yet to take a position on any of the various proposals,” and “if a decision has to be taken on one or all of the proposals in circulation, it will be taken nearer the time and at the highest political level.”
    The issues and the various proposals will come before the General Assembly in early September at the earliest. At present there are fifteen members of the Security Council. China, France, Britain, the United States and Russia are permanent members and have a veto power on all decisions. The remaining ten members are elected by the General Assembly every two years.
    It has long been a strategic demand of the United States and its allies that fundamental changes be made both to the structures and to the Charter of the United Nations. Both are the result of the outcome and the balance of forces after the Second World War and of the power and influence of the Soviet Union and the growing anti-colonial and national liberation struggles. The United States and its allies want to undo the essentially democratic thrust of the Charter, and the blocking mechanism that the veto gave at the time.
    The proposal now on the table is to expand the number of permanent members from five to fifteen, though the new member-states would not have a veto for fifteen years. This proposal comes from what is called the “Group of 4,” which is made up of Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan. They all wish to be among the eleven new permanent members, with two seats for African countries.
    So whichever way it goes, the United Nations will increasingly come under the control and domination of the imperialist powers. The Irish government is clearly waiting to see what position the United States and the European Union will take. There will be little public debate; and because the Dáil is in recess until September, the vote, if it takes place, will happen without the Irish people or their public representatives having debated what position the Government should adopt or being allowed an opinion on the future of this vitally important world body. Ireland is caught in the double bind of dependence on American investment and the desire by the emerging European superstate to assert itself globally.
    It is not looking good for a more independent and assertive UN role in world affairs. The fear of many people is that the United Nations could easily go the road of the League of Nations—a hapless tool of imperialism and imperialist interests.

Home page  >  Publications  >  Socialist Voice  >  August 2005  >  UN reform needed—but not this way
Baile  >  Foilseacháin  >  Socialist Voice  >  Lúnasa 2005  >  UN reform needed—but not this way