With United States President Barack Obama supporting the United Nations Security Council membership for the two Asian giants, Japan already a developed country, and India a country which has already emerged according to Obama’s understanding has intensified the vociferous discussions on the inevitability of the UN and UNSC reforms.
As is well known, the UN was founded on 1945 at the end of the World War II succeeding the failure of the League of Nations ((LON) established after World War I in preventing the second and in the fear of a world war III in the ambiance of the cold war that created the trepidations of a nuclear exchange between the eastern and western blocks which were divided over ideological differences.
The structure of the UN is different from that of the LON, the LON had a general assembly and a council with four permanent members, Great Brittan, France, Italy and Japan. Even though the LON was the brain child of US president Woodrow Wilson, the United States had never been a member of it as the US senate voted against the ratification of the treaty of Versailles, which ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers.
The UN Security Council also differs from the old LON Council that the permanent members of the former enjoy a veto power not given to the permanent members of the latter. The veto power was granted to the permanent members of the UNSC known as the P-5 or the B-5 at the commencement of the United Nations, even though the term ‘Veto’ is not used in the UN charter, the term has been used since the inception of the UN as a negative vote of any of the members of the P-5, whereas an abstention of a member is not considered to be a veto.
The victors in World War II, the United States, Great Britain, The Republic of China and the Soviet Union were given higher status as permanent members of the UNSC with veto power and later to France at the end of the war and after her liberation, besides the fact that the French Maginot lines were successfully broken down by the German Siegfried Lines following the fall of Paris to the hands of the Germans on June 14, 1940, for the support that the French Government in exile headed by Charles De Gaul extended to the allies and the superiority that the French enjoyed during those days as a great colonial power. The member ship of the Republic of China, Known as Taiwan was replaced by that of The Peoples republic of China, thanks to the diplomatic skills of Henry Kissinger even though cold war was in its peak during those days.
The UN was thus founded in the bewilderment that abounded as the war was coming to an end with the expected defeat of the axis powers and in the context of the international order maintained by the colonial powers of Europe, where all the Asian countries with a few exceptions and all the African countries with the sole exception of Ethiopia were under the mandate of these European colonialist powers and most of the Latin American countries even though had acquired independence from the European transoceanic empires more than a century before the war, had no place in the global power spectrum. Thus the countries of these three continents had no voice to be heard, Latin America was not at all there in picture, African countries had been subject to the “Scramble for Africa” by the Europeans and their governance scattered across both the allied and axis powers and among the Asians the then ROC was the only one which could have been considered to be a natural candidate for the UNSC; India was under the Raj still fighting for freedom and Japan was defeated and devastated by nuclear bombings.
This background of the foundation of the UN and the UNSC and vesting superior powers to the P-5 was never a decision of vision or a choice for peace, but for a convenience to the allies as was concluded by the course of the Great War and the colonial order which was all set collapse in the due course. Any assumption held by the political visionaries of 1945 who favored such an International system for the ever lasting peace of humanity will be judged by history as deficient lunatics. The colonies of Asia and Africa become free in the subsequent decades pioneered by the independence of India in 1947, putting an end to colonialism and reducing colonialists to marginal powers that started with the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492, followed by the voyage of Vasco De Gama in 1498, successfully exploring and discovering a new aquatic root to India. The worst fears of a World War III in the context of the cold war stretching to a nuclear and thermo nuclear exchange between the Western and Eastern blocks and the about to happen extermination of the human race came to an end with the demise of communism and with the collapse of the USSR; nevertheless the fears of a nuclear war still persist even at the dawn of the second decade of the twenty first century.