Security Council Action

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 30 October 2016

Security Council Action

According to United States and the 4 permanent members of the Security council, Veto Power grants the 5 members an authority essential on upholding global peace. The question at hand claims oppositely, that the veto powers of these members were a serious obstacle during the Cold War (1945-1991). Sources A-E, when analysed, agrees, and also disagrees with this claim. Sources A, D and E intrinsically agrees with the notion that veto power were a serious obstacle to action during the Cold war. Statistical data in Source A shows the number of vetoes exercised, mainly by USA and USSR. This source can be considered as the most reliable source, simply as statistics show a deeper understanding of the situation at the time. Number of vetoes practiced by these countries, are seen to be concentrated on specific periods, where the tensions between USA and USSR heightened in the Cold War.

For instance, the most number of vetoes in UN history has been noted between 1946-55, during the period where the Truman doctrine, and the Berlin blockade was in act. Hence, actions by the Security Council failed to take effect, since veto delayed or halted international action. Source A shows that USA had used the veto power most during the Reagan era, from 1976-85. This reflects the use of veto as a tool by the nations to uphold the national interests, such Reagan’s anti-communist policies to contain communism, as cited in Source D. The source accurately highlights Reagan’s ‘blind-eyed’ support to Israel, which again, postponed international action against human-rights and international-treaties violations by Israel. This viewpoint is also supported in Source E, in which two academics explicitly state that global action were taken back due to veto powers of the permanent members.

It can be considered largely valid, since academics usually research on the situation in an academic perception, and so is less likely to be biased. They have shown two sides to the story. Sources, A, D and E interpreted in this standpoint seems to indicate that veto powers were indeed a serious obstacle during the Cold war. However, sources D and E discussed above can be deemed flowed for the reasons outlined below. The fact that the number of vetoes shows to be concentrated in specific period connotes the fact that veto power was not a serious obstacle to Security Council action throughout the whole time-period of Cold War. Source A shows the time periods where vetos show small numbers, where Detente or easing of relations between USA and USSR. During these times, number of vetoes seems to show a decline in numbers, reflecting compromise between nations.

Moreover, Source D originates from a writer/journalist on Middle-Eastern affairs. The writer may have interests to attract Middle-Eastern readers, and can be deemed to have a sentimental anti-Israeli and anti-American tone to his writing. He mentions the mis-use of veto powers by the West, failing to note the ‘abuse’ by USSR which had used the veto powers most, evident in Source A. When the sources are analysed in this manner, it seems to discredit the viewpoint in the sources, which support the view. Source B and C disagrees with the claim that veto powers of permanent members posed a serious hindrance to Security council action, lying on the argument that veto has played a positive role in global action by the Security Council. Source B originates from an academic and seem to have a sound understanding of the workings of the United Nations. Both Sources B and C notes that the public fails to highlight the positive impacts of veto power. Former UN official, cited in source C is observant and can be deemed credible due to his position.

This is partially accurate, as veto power has vested a sense of responsibilities in powers. It is true that UNGA, where no veto power exists, had failed miserably on coming with action, but became a ‘debating club’ of the UN, which is explicitly stated in Source E. Source B also connotes the view that the scope of the effect of Veto power is exaggerated and takes a narrow viewpoint, which cites Taiwan as a permanent member of UNSC during the Cold War, but did not represent the major world powers of the world. This point can be reflected in the Iran-Iraqi war, in which the permanent members did not exercise veto powers. This is also supported in Source C, which highlights the growth in the number of countries in UNSC, which culminated a democratic atmosphere. This is shown in the statistics of source A, which clearly shows a declining trend of the use of veto power, and has not been used throughout the Cold War on posing as a barrier to Security council action.

Sources B and C, analysed in this fashion, indicates that veto power was not a serious barrier to global action during Cold War. But the viewpoint of the sources discussed in the above paragraph can be deemed null for the reasons outlined below. Source B mentions the shortcomings of veto-power, and supports the view of sources A, D, and E that veto power has blocked important international resolutions. It also highlights the need for reforms, such as that called upon in the Brahmis report, to make the use of Veto more effective. It is also important to consider that the writer believes in the core aims of UN, and would have an interest to defend the basic framework existing in the United Nations. Similarly, source C originates from an ex-employee of United Nations, who could favour UN’s existing structure sentimentally.

He fails to mention the use of veto to uphold national interests upheld, especially by USA and USSR during the Cold war, mentioned in Source D. The sources analysed fully in this light, discredits the view that veto power did not pose as a hindrance to action by SC during Cold War. Sources A-E, and the realities of the situation during the given time period, seems to offer an alternative viewpoint. It is rather true that Veto Power posed as a hindrance to action, shown in sources A, D and E, but not throughout the Cold War, as pointed out in Sources A and E. Veto Powers were concentrated and ‘effectively’ delayed action mostly during the ignition of cold war, and the Reagan era. The use of Veto power during other times have been unparallel to the times mentioned above, and hence cannot be concluded that it has been a serious threat to Security council action throughout Cold War.


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 30 October 2016

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