UN Security Council 101 | The Multilateralist

A little wit from David Bosco on what possible ‘training’ for new Security Council members might include:

Still, with all that said, it’s hard not to smile at some of the wisdom that current Council members could offer their new colleagues. Some possible offerings:

–A session by India on how to blow your chances at a permanent Security Council seat in the space of a year.

–U.S. ambassador Susan Rice could speak on how to lecture the Security Council on responsibility without being at all certain that Congress will appropriate America’s annual UN dues. Alternatively, she could offer a seminar on how to find authorization for regime change in a resolution on protecting civilians.

–China’s ambassador could expertly lead a session on appearing powerful while abstaining repeatedly.

–Bosnia’s ambassador could expound on how to manage conflicting voting instructions from three different presidents.

–Last but not least, as Brazil prepares to depart the Council, it seems only appropriate that China, Russia, India, and South Africa should reveal once and for all the location of the secret BRICS clubhouse, where their strategy for protecting beleagured dictators is refined.

via UN Security Council 101 | The Multilateralist.


3 thoughts on “UN Security Council 101 | The Multilateralist”

  1. It just goes to show how crazy international diplomacy is. There can be tons of confusion, backstabbing and intrigue that we as outsiders looking in just don’t completely understand. However, I think we are beginning to understand some of the pressures and diplomacy it takes to get things done in the UN. It takes tons of work to figure your position before the session, and then formulate who is best to help you achieve your goals in session. You have to think of you policy goals and politics at the same time. Two countries might have similar issues and can benefit from the same solutions, but one has to factor in politics. If the two countries don’t get along, it will be even harder for them to work together despite any common ground they share. This article brings up the real world element of your own governments. The Ambassador has to follow instructions as well as form policy and deal with politics with other countries. It can just be complicated which is what the article highlights. I am personally glad my decisions are what I act upon and I don’t have to wait for my home government to respond back.

    Here is a list of the new members of the SC. I wonder what problems the home governments will give them.


  2. The power plays and politics of multinational bodies create a wonderful scenario for wit. And for sociology. I’m one of the few sociology students in class, and I’ve found that over and over again the behavior and interactions at the U.N., and probably most severely on the security council, a grand display of sociological theory. From our theory book for one of my current classes, the U.N. is referred to multiple times because it is such a great stage for the display of a variety of issues that come out in extremes compared to “normal” or mundane life. For instance, George Herbet Mead, an American sociologist mentioned that what makes humans humans is their ability to pause in the decision making process and consider a variety of options that would take one to their desired end. Animals respond to stimuli and act immediately. Humans attach meaning to a variety of symbols which they can hold in their mind and then pursue the most meaningful, pragmatic one. Ultimately, Mead said that the most human thing that can be done is when one can even consider on the symbols and meanings of another and give due consideration to their position in the decision-action process. He originally compared that to the League of Nations, his contemporary multilateral body. The author of the text updated it to the United Nations where delegates have to not only consider the variety of courses from their own country’s perspectives, but how to deal with where every other actor is coming from, the meaning they give to the different courses of actions, and the hoped for ends that could come about. In essence, this means that George Herbet said humans are humans because we can practice diplomacy. No where is this as clearly seen as a macro example of micro human character than on the security counsel.

  3. It seems like many people find a reason to make fun of the Security Council and how it works. While the textbook explains that the Security Council was formed to hold specific, important powers, it was also informed to gain the support for the League of Nations by the UK, US, France, Russia, and China.

    While it is prestigious and truly important to international relations and diplomacy, the Security Council almost resembles the popular kids’ lunch table. Everyone doesn’t necessarily like them and they don’t always even like each other, but they are consistently powerful. The non-permanent seats in the council have the promise of power, but as was stated in the post, many do not succeed in taking that power and being a dynamic player. India came close, but was unable to keep its place at the table.

    While I can agree that the issues dealt with in the Security Council are very important, it seems that the organization of it does not allow for many successful actions to be taken and its diplomacy resembles lunch room dynamics. I can see where many countries and individuals would want the Security Council reformed or rebuilt to ensure that the most effective solutions can be achieved with the least amount of diplomatic angst.


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