UN Security Council Enlargement and U.S. Interests

Council on Foreign Relations
3
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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) remains an important source of legitimacy for international action. Yet despite dramatic changes in the international system over the past forty-five years, the composition of the UNSC has remained unaltered since 1965, and there are many who question how long its legitimacy will last without additional members that reflect twenty-first century realities. There is little agreement, however, as to which countries should accede to the Security Council or even by what formula aspirants should be judged. Reform advocates frequently call for equal representation for various regions of the world, but local competitors like India and Pakistan or Mexico and Brazil are unlikely to reach a compromise solution. Moreover, the UN Charter prescribes that regional parity should be, at most, a secondary issue; the ability to advocate and defend international peace and security should, it says, be the primary concern.The United States has remained largely silent as this debate has intensified over the past decade, choosing to voice general support for expansion without committing to specifics. (President Obama's recent call for India to become a permanent member of the Security Council was a notable exception.) In this Council Special Report, 2009?2010 International Affairs Fellow Kara C. McDonald and Senior Fellow Stewart M. Patrick argue that American reticence is ultimately unwise. Rather than merely observing the discussions on this issue, they believe that the United States should take the lead. To do so, they advocate a criteria-based process that will gauge aspirant countries on a variety of measures, including political stability, the capacity and willingness to act in defense of international security, the ability to negotiate and implement sometimes unpopular agreements, and the institutional wherewithal to participate in a demanding UNSC agenda. They further recommend that this process be initiated and implemented with early and regular input from Congress; detailed advice from relevant Executive agencies as to which countries should be considered and on what basis; careful, private negotiations in aspirant capitals; and the interim use of alternate multilateral forums such as the Group of Twenty (G20) to satisfy countries' immediate demands for broader participation and to produce evidence about their willingness and ability to participate constructively in the international system.The issues facing the world in the twenty-first century--climate change, terrorism, economic development, nonproliferation, and more--will demand a great deal of the multilateral system. The United States will have little to gain from the dilution or rejection of UNSC authority. In UN Security Council Enlargement and U.S. Interests, McDonald and Patrick outline sensible reforms to protect the efficiency and utility of the existing Security Council while expanding it to incorporate new global actors. Given the growing importance of regional powers and the myriad challenges facing the international system, their report provides a strong foundation for future action.
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About the author

Kara C. McDonald is a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State, and currently serves as the U.S. deputy special coordinator for Haiti. McDonald was an international affairs fellow from 2009 to 2010 and director for United Nations and international operations at the National Security Council from 2007 to 2009. She served as acting senior director for democracy, human rights, and international organizations during the transition to the Obama administration. Prior to serving at the White House, she was a special assistant to R. Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary for political affairs at the State Department, where she advised on African affairs and the United Nations, including negotiations in the Security Council on Iran, North Korea, Lebanon, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Kosovo. From 2004 to 2006, McDonald was deputy director for planning in the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) at the Department of State. She has served in and advised on multilateral operations and complex contingencies for more than ten years, and chaired interagency policy committees on peacekeeping and peace-building operations, strategy in the multilateral environment, aid effectiveness, and governance in postconflict. Prior to joining the Department of State, McDonald managed elections and political process assistance to central and eastern Europe for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Her overseas assignments have included Romania, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Haiti, Macedonia, and Croatia. She holds a BA in French and comparative literature from the University of Michigan and an MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She speaks French and Romanian.

Stewart M. Patrick is senior fellow and director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations. His areas of expertise include multilateral cooperation in the management of global issues; U.S. policy toward international institutions, including the United Nations; and the challenges posed by fragile states. From 2005 to April 2008, he was a research fellow at the Center for Global Development, where he focused on the linkages between state weakness and transnational threats. He also served as a professorial lecturer in international relations/conflict management at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. From September 2002 to January 2005, Patrick served on the secretary of state's policy planning staff, with lead staff responsibility for U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and a range of global and transnational issues. He joined the State Department as a Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow. Prior to government service, Patrick was an associate at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University from 1997 to 2002. He graduated from Stanford University and received his doctorate in international relations, as well as two MA degrees, from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes scholar. He is the author of The Best Laid Plans: The Origins of American Multilateralism and the Dawn of the Cold War and of the forthcoming Weak Links: Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security.

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Publisher
Council on Foreign Relations
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Published on
Dec 31, 2010
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Pages
60
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ISBN
9780876094372
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / International Relations / Diplomacy
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This content is DRM free.
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Stewart M. Patrick
Protecting sovereignty while advancing American interests in the global age

Americans have long been protective of the country’s sovereignty—beginning when George Washington retired as president with the admonition for his successors to avoid “permanent” alliances with foreign powers. Ever since, the nation has faced persistent, often heated debates about how to maintain that sovereignty, and whether it is endangered when the United States enters international organizations, treaties, and alliances about which Washington warned.

As the recent election made clear, sovereignty is also one of the most frequently invoked, polemical, and misunderstood concepts in politics—particularly American politics. The concept wields symbolic power, implying something sacred and inalienable: the right of the people to control their fate without subordination to outside authorities. Given its emotional pull, however, the concept is easily highjacked by political opportunists. By playing the sovereignty card, they can curtail more reasoned debates over the merits of proposed international commitments by portraying supporters of global treaties or organizations as enemies of motherhood and apple pie.

Such polemics distract Americans from what is really at stake in the sovereignty debate: namely, the ability of the United States to shape its destiny in a global age. The United States cannot successfully manage globalization, much less insulate itself from cross-border threats, on its own. As global integration deepens and cross-border challenges grow, the nation’s fate is increasingly tied to that of other countries, whose cooperation will be needed to exploit the shared opportunities and mitigate the common risks of interdependence.

The Sovereignty Wars is intended to help today's policymakers think more clearly about what is actually at stake in the sovereignty debate and to provide some criteria for determining when it is appropriate to make bargains over sovereignty—and how to make them.

Margaret MacMillan
Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize

Winner of the PEN Hessell Tiltman Prize

Winner of the Duff Cooper Prize

Between January and July 1919, after “the war to end all wars,” men and women from around the world converged on Paris to shape the peace. Center stage, for the first time in history, was an American president, Woodrow Wilson, who with his Fourteen Points seemed to promise to so many people the fulfillment of their dreams. Stern, intransigent, impatient when it came to security concerns and wildly idealistic in his dream of a League of Nations that would resolve all future conflict peacefully, Wilson is only one of the larger-than-life characters who fill the pages of this extraordinary book. David Lloyd George, the gregarious and wily British prime minister, brought Winston Churchill and John Maynard Keynes. Lawrence of Arabia joined the Arab delegation. Ho Chi Minh, a kitchen assistant at the Ritz, submitted a petition for an independent Vietnam.
For six months, Paris was effectively the center of the world as the peacemakers carved up bankrupt empires and created new countries. This book brings to life the personalities, ideals, and prejudices of the men who shaped the settlement. They pushed Russia to the sidelines, alienated China, and dismissed the Arabs. They struggled with the problems of Kosovo, of the Kurds, and of a homeland for the Jews.
The peacemakers, so it has been said, failed dismally; above all they failed to prevent another war. Margaret MacMillan argues that they have unfairly been made the scapegoats for the mistakes of those who came later. She refutes received ideas about the path from Versailles to World War II and debunks the widely accepted notion that reparations imposed on the Germans were in large part responsible for the Second World War.
A landmark work of narrative history, Paris 1919 is the first full-scale treatment of the Peace Conference in more than twenty-five years. It offers a scintillating view of those dramatic and fateful days when much of the modern world was sketched out, when countries were created—Iraq, Yugoslavia, Israel—whose troubles haunt us still.


From the Hardcover edition.
Scott Anderson
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
New York Times • Christian Science Monitor • NPR • Seattle Times • St. Louis Dispatch

National Book Critics Circle Finalist -- American Library Association Notable Book

A thrilling and revelatory narrative of one of the most epic and consequential periods in 20th century history – the Arab Revolt and the secret “great game” to control the Middle East
      
The Arab Revolt against the Turks in World War One was, in the words of T.E. Lawrence, “a sideshow of a sideshow.”  Amidst the slaughter in European trenches, the Western combatants paid scant attention to the Middle Eastern theater.  As a result, the conflict was shaped to a remarkable degree by a small handful of adventurers and low-level officers far removed from the corridors of power. 
 
Curt Prüfer was an effete academic attached to the German embassy in Cairo, whose clandestine role was to foment Islamic jihad against British rule.  Aaron Aaronsohn was a renowned agronomist and committed Zionist who gained the trust of the Ottoman governor of Syria. William Yale was the fallen scion of the American aristocracy, who traveled the Ottoman Empire on behalf of Standard Oil, dissembling to the Turks in order gain valuable oil concessions.  At the center of it all was Lawrence.  In early 1914 he was an archaeologist excavating ruins in the sands of Syria; by 1917 he was the most romantic figure of World War One, battling both the enemy and his own government to bring about the vision he had for the Arab people.
 
The intertwined paths of these four men – the schemes they put in place, the battles they fought, the betrayals they endured and committed – mirror the grandeur, intrigue and tragedy of the war in the desert.  Prüfer became Germany’s grand spymaster in the Middle East.  Aaronsohn constructed an elaborate Jewish spy-ring in Palestine, only to have the anti-Semitic and bureaucratically-inept British first ignore and then misuse his organization, at tragic personal cost.  Yale would become the only American intelligence agent in the entire Middle East – while still secretly on the payroll of Standard Oil.  And the enigmatic Lawrence rode into legend at the head of an Arab army, even as he waged secret war against his own nation’s imperial ambitions.
 
Based on years of intensive primary document research, LAWRENCE IN ARABIA definitively overturns received wisdom on how the modern Middle East was formed.  Sweeping in its action, keen in its portraiture, acid in its condemnation of the destruction wrought by European colonial plots, this is a book that brilliantly captures the way in which the folly of the past creates the anguish of the present.
Stewart M. Patrick
Protecting sovereignty while advancing American interests in the global age

Americans have long been protective of the country’s sovereignty—beginning when George Washington retired as president with the admonition for his successors to avoid “permanent” alliances with foreign powers. Ever since, the nation has faced persistent, often heated debates about how to maintain that sovereignty, and whether it is endangered when the United States enters international organizations, treaties, and alliances about which Washington warned.

As the recent election made clear, sovereignty is also one of the most frequently invoked, polemical, and misunderstood concepts in politics—particularly American politics. The concept wields symbolic power, implying something sacred and inalienable: the right of the people to control their fate without subordination to outside authorities. Given its emotional pull, however, the concept is easily highjacked by political opportunists. By playing the sovereignty card, they can curtail more reasoned debates over the merits of proposed international commitments by portraying supporters of global treaties or organizations as enemies of motherhood and apple pie.

Such polemics distract Americans from what is really at stake in the sovereignty debate: namely, the ability of the United States to shape its destiny in a global age. The United States cannot successfully manage globalization, much less insulate itself from cross-border threats, on its own. As global integration deepens and cross-border challenges grow, the nation’s fate is increasingly tied to that of other countries, whose cooperation will be needed to exploit the shared opportunities and mitigate the common risks of interdependence.

The Sovereignty Wars is intended to help today's policymakers think more clearly about what is actually at stake in the sovereignty debate and to provide some criteria for determining when it is appropriate to make bargains over sovereignty—and how to make them.

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