Veto the Veto Power

China has blocked a proposal by the US and India at the UN Security Council (UNSC) to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) deputy chief, Abdul Rauf Azhar as a global terrorist, while all the remaining 14 member states supported the move. He was involved in numerous terror strikes in India.

In June this year also, China had put a hold on similar joint proposal by India and US to list the US-designated terrorist, Abdul Rahman Makki, deputy leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

These are not the isolated cases. Every now and then, it is used by big five in the name of protecting them or their respective allies from the so-called biased and destructive resolutions. As a result, it has become counter-productive. Wars break out, but these are not halted, as super-powers are themselves involved as proxies.

Whether it’s Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Vietnam, or Armenia, you just see who are or were behind these wars. That’s why Russia has used its veto 121 times, the US 82 times, the UK 29 times, China 18 times, and France 16 times. It’s however, pleasing to note that France and the UK have not used it since 1989.

The United Nations was founded on 24 October, 1945 after WWII by 51 countries to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations, and to promote social progress, better living standards and human rights.

A General Assembly (UNGA) of all the member states and Security Council (UNSC) of permanent members and those chosen by UNGA were constituted with veto powers to permanent members of UNSC.

Both Roosevelt and Stalin saw nothing wrong with the veto powers, as they themselves were beneficiaries, but they were also had the powers to destabilise the whole world.

Since it was considered that without them, the UN was doomed to fail in its mission, a compromise was accepted in the form of a veto power for the permanent five members to protect their own interests and interests of their allies. And here a seed of discrimination and inadequacy was sown.

The UN Charter gives the UNSC the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security by convening it at any time whenever the peace is threatened. It’s convened too, but result remains a cypher.

Veto power has corrupted the moral authority of UN to mediate for maintaining the world peace. It has paralysed the UN at a time when the multiple global crises call for an effective organisation that should have its say and control on all the member nations.

Veto power, therefore, needs to be abolished or at least modified, if UN has to  remain relevant and faithful to its noble founding principles, and also to stop WWIII, the fear of which always lurks here or there.

But to abolish or modify veto power has a risk of losing interest by the super powers without whose support this organisation would become ineffective, both financially and otherwise. We have seen how US withdrew from the UNESCO and UNHRC in October 2017 and June 2018 respectively. However, I feel that this risk is worth taking.


–Kaushal Kishore

25 Comments

  1. Power countries will never give up the power they hold. Veto ensures that they can dictate to the world their own set of rules and regulations..but also prevent others from infringing on their own sovereignty. It would be nice to see it modified, but I won’t hold.my breath. It would be nice to hear someone come up with a viable alternative that would pacify the so called superpowers

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree with you in toto that super powers will not like to give up the special status. In fact, it was bargained by them when UN was founded. As regards a viable alternative, I’m not that optimistic, but it would certainly be a welcome step forward. Thank you, my friend for reading and sharing your valuable thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you KK for this pertinent post. You are right to say that something needs to be done but finding a replacement strategy would be difficult especially now in “peacetime”! At the end of WW2 the world had been through “hell” but whilst the current world leaders live in a bubble of extreme wealth and power, cut off from the mass of humanity, I struggle to believe that they could agree on anything that might benefit everyone. (Sorry, that’s very pessimistic, I know). 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re not pessimistic, Ashley. You in fact have a realistic assessment. In the current power situation and political turmoil, I don’t think something positive will happen. So replacement is out of question. To my mind, slight modification may be incorporated e.g. capping of frequency and restricting the subject matter for usage of veto. But I know this too will remain a wishful thinking. Thank you, Ashley for sharing your frank opinion here. Much appreciated 🙏💐

      Liked by 2 people

  3. How to protect democracy and have some control over our leaders’ behavior was a central concern even in the first century AD in Roman times, Kaushal. The question you are posing can be answered by a big Yes! We could also adapt the famous quote taken from the work of poet Juvenal:
    “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” – who guards the guards? – who vetoes those who veto?
    I think that there are ways to overcome the veto system, especially in cases of terrorists, and some countries do just that.

    Joanna

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Joanna, for your thoughtful support and once again, a beautiful quote. I know that the issue will not find the traction for obvious reasons, but yes, I agree that ways may be devised to tackle issues that we face. Thank you once again for your free and frank views!

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  4. I worked for WHO for some time, before retirement, and I never understood why there were five permanent members with veto right. It is not right. They even stay permanent members, if they don’t pay their membership fees. But, of course, they will all five veto the anti veto proposal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad to know that you had worked for WHO. As regards veto, I think it was a genetic defect of UN, as it was made applicable the day it came into being. But I agree that all big five come together to exercise unanimous veto to stall any anti veto proposal. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughtful comment!

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  5. Hi KK. I appreciate your feelings on matters such as these. I have chosen not to comment directly about your post simply because I do not like to get embroiled in political discussions. There’s been a lot of nasty posts lately by another blogger about Biden v Trump; I realize he is exercising his freedom of speech but it is offensive and I choose not to partake. Some post are quite virulent and disturbing. To what end? They can only lead to bad feelings and arguments. I do not need that in my life. Nothing personal, my friend, and that last comment was not directed at you. Hope you understand my take on this subject. Be well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate you, Nancy and your views and decisions. I’m also a non-political person. There are so many things going on in my country as well, but you must have observed, I avoid political topics and mention of political leaders. Here also I have used names of countries only. I’m sure, you won’t find anything objectionable here. Thank you for sharing your free and frank opinion. Stay blessed, always!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are correct, KK; there is nothing objectionable in your post. I only wanted to let you know why I do not respond to anything even remotely connected to politics. Some people are rabid on the subject and it can become extremely uncomfortable. I know you are not like that but I believe it’s only common decency one my part to explain myself. My husband and I were attending a concert a few years ago at Lincoln Center and there was a political rally going on outside which we did not know about. There were thousands of angry woman and I was almost attacked because I wasn’t carrying a sign or wearing one of their lewd hats. My husband whisked me away just in time but it was a traumatic experience nonetheless. As my beloved Beatles say “Peace and Love!” ✌🏼 💕

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That was really a horrible experience for you, Nancy! I don’t know how and why politics has become such a cesspool. Anyway let’s maintain a distance for our own well-being. Thank you for being so kind to me. Enjoy Beatles’ songs.😊🤗💖

        Liked by 1 person

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