There is a serious problem with the Security Council. That institution endowed by the United Nations Charter with "primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security" -- has stood at the apex of the global political, diplomatic, and legal structure for seventy years, responding (more or less) to the full panoply of incessant dangers and provocations. The Charter could not have been crafted or sustained without it, and the Security Council has, at least, assisted in preserving a measure of fundamental world order-in particular, it has helped avoid the cataclysm of a World War III.
But a central feature of the organization-the veto power wielded by the five permanent members (P5), China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States-has become critically dysfunctional. It has too often frustrated the will of the international community, holding essential enforcement actions hostage to the implacable will of a single outlier state.
In two areas in particular-one newly emerging on the international scene, the other even more futuristic-the world needs a viable alternative to the Security Council. A mechanism must be found to counteract the Security Council's over-deterrent effect on authorizing the use of military force and to empower a concerted, lawful response to these two most severe challenges to global aspirations without continuing to cede a dispositive nyet power to each of the P5.
29 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 135-201 (2016)
Scholarly Commons Citation
Koplow, David A., "You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat: Alternatives to the UN Security Council for Enforcing Nuclear Disarmament and Human Rights" (2016). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. 1803.