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International Law

The Dawn of New Chaos

Shahzada Rahim

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Before the ongoing crisis, no one has ever imagined that there could be a close relationship between politics and biology. Although, the discourse of the twenty-first century warfare has attempted to define the new dynamics of politics and warfare in hybrid context that establishes a close relationship between social sciences and natural sciences. For instance, the ontological discourse of the Hybrid warfare is characterized by the kinetic, non-Kinetic, biological, psychological and physical weaponry for producing a new kind of destruction and chaos. 

As an illustration, in the recent years, the characteristics of the modern counter-insurgency adds to the increasing prominent role of the life sciences in determining the politics of international security and peace. However, with the sudden eruption and rapture of the coronavirus pandemic expresses a new kind of natural destruction. Some people call it a man-made conspiracy to optimize the global population ratio, some call it as God’s curse and some call it as the beginning of World War-Z type apocalypse.

Perhaps, this kind of utter psychological paradox reminds me of Albert Einstein’s famous words “I know not, with what weapon World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and Stones”. Here, the sudden resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic slightly indicates Albert Einstein’s weapon-X, despite the fact that it is not easy to justify this logic. Nonetheless, the metaphorical jargons such as bio-warfare, bio-politics, and genetic warfare and race wars are extremely popular across the public circles—a phenomenological dilemma.

On the contrary, the fact cannot be denied that the dawn of the 21st century is marked by the dominant discourse over the phenomenological concepts such as post-modernism, post-truth, post-logic and post-humanity. Perhaps, the latter discourse was briefly explained by Michel Foucault in his famous lecture series ‘Race wars’ at College de France, in which he made a significant illustration about the bio-politics by establishing a link between two moral queries; what must live and what must die.

Consequently, the paradox of living signifies an emerging irrational discourse about the new type of wars, which are beyond the human comprehension. What famous German war strategist and tactician Carl Von Clausewitz once said; ‘war is not the action of living force upon the lifeless mass but the collusion of two living forces’. In contrast, the ongoing ‘Covid-19’ has ravaged the global politics, society and economy. Perhaps, as per media speculation, it seems that the world is on the brink of socio-political and economic catastrophe.

This can be seen in the detail report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)entitled ‘The coronavirus shock: A story of another global crisis foretold and what policy makers should be doing about it’. In the very first topic ‘A year of living dangerously’, the opening sentence goes like this ‘the coronavirus is the first and foremost a public health threat, but, it is also an increasingly economic threat’—a completely foretold apocalyptic scenario. Another report by the Organization of the Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) interim economic assessment report entitled ‘Coronavirus: the world economy is at risk’ briefly summarizes about the global economic conditions resulted from the pandemic. The report recapitulates the health of global economy in four major points.

Firstly, the ongoing corona pandemic is chaotic and the outbreak in other countries will lower the growth by approximately ½ percentage this year. Secondly, the global GDP will drop to 2.4% in 2020. Thirdly, China, a global economic heavy weight is the birthplace of coronavirus (COVID-19), whose growth is expected to slip below 5%. Finally, the longer lasting and speedy outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic across the Asia-Pacific region, North America (mainly USA), and Europe might make the situation worse. In that scenario, the global economic growth will shrink by more than one and half percent in 2020.

In the light of detailed reports by the two powerful international organizations; it seem that, the international community is again on the brink 1928 type Great Depression, mainly characterized by psychological and social breakdown. The public health dilemma because of the lack of efficiency and the economic recession due to the disruption of the global trade will change the shape of the international system for the decades to come. Likewise, the dynamic link between the pandemic and power structure can be understood by examining the consequence of the ongoing chaos. For instance, the public healthcare fragility will expose the majority of the marginalized population to the outbreak. Likewise, the sudden economic disaster might foment a new wave of civil unrests across different parts of the world.

Consequently, although the ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic may not shift the balance of power but it will mark a permanent spot on the memory of the ordinary for the generation to come. In this respect, those people, who lay much emphasis on the dogmatic opinion instead of the real facts, will put their lives at risk. Because, this new chaos is neither normal nor new normal rather abnormal that counts nothing not even your faith. The best way to understand this chaos is to accept the two big realities; the economic and political realities without flinging into skepticism.

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International Law

Coronavirus Shaping The Contours Of The Modern World

Nageen Ashraf

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Globalization vs. Protectionism:

Globalization means the movement of ideas, products, technology, and people across borders and different cultures. It is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. It has social, cultural, economic, political and legal aspects. Globalization has made the world a global village and talks about co-operation and interdependence. Protectionism, on the other hand, is the restriction of movement of goods and products across borders to protect the national industries and economy. The major goal of protectionism is to boost up national economy, but protectionist measures can also be applied for security purposes. So, we can say that protectionists are basically anti-globalists and prefer domestic strength as compared to foreign co-operation.

Protectionism and Covid-19

Globalization has made the world so interdependent and interconnected that any economic or political change in one state creates a domino effect and influence many other states. For the pandemic, most states were initially blaming China, but as it slowly healed and the pandemic caused more devastating impacts in the western states, more fingers are pointing towards globalization. Multiple narratives are building regarding globalization where protectionists finally got a chance to prove how right they were all along.

Globalization not only played a vital role in the spread of this epidemic, it also made the economic crisis go global by affecting the supply chains. An epidemic that affected a single city in Dec, 2019, grew to become a pandemic affecting almost every state in the world through movement of people and goods. States that adopted strict measures and restricted the movement of people, have relatively less cases of corona virus as compared to other states. The worst impacts of corona virus so far can be seen in USA where New York City was initially the epicenter.

New York City is definitely one of the most crowded cities in the world where daily, thousands of people move in and out for various purposes. This could be one of the reasons of such devastating impacts of corona in NYC because the free circulation of people and goods allowed the virus to spread exponentially. On the other hand, if we talk about African continent, where most states are under developed, and the movement of people in and out of the continent is very less as compared to Europe and Americas, reported cases of corona virus are very low. As of Sep 11, 2020, in the whole continent, the highest number of corona cases is in South Africa, with a count of642k as compared to USA’s count of 6.49m. This provides evidence that movement of people played a vital role in the spread of this virus and movement of people has increased a lot since the rise of globalization.

Critiques of globalization also argue that globalization is to be blamed for an epidemic that spread across borders and will soon plunge the whole world into recession. Interdependence because of globalization has made the world more vulnerable to such situations. For instance, China is one of the biggest markets in the world that exports antibiotics and telecommunications and remains an important part of most of the global supply chains. Half of the world’s surgical masks were made by China, even before pandemic. So, when the pandemic struck Wuhan, China, the supplies from China to the rest of the world affected many states that were dependent on China, and they ran out of important pharmaceutical inputs. Even the developed states like France ran out of medical masks and had to suffer because of lack of important medical equipment. This reveals the cost of such deeply interconnected global supply chains that create a domino effect.

Is Globalization ending?

Globalization has made the world a global village and undoubtedly facilitated the free movement of people, goods, ideas, cultures, information, and technology across borders. But on the other hand, it has also played a major role in the spread of diseases and has made states vulnerable to unexpected shocks. Globalists also believe that the medical or health consequences of corona would prove less destructive if states work together instead of working separately for the vaccine, as a competition. Adopting the nationalist or isolationist approach during the pandemic would crash the international economy and further increase the tensions. As the protectionists suggest, if we’d continue to protect only our national economies and keep on putting barriers on international trade, the national recession would soon turn into a global depression, as happened in 1930’s.Timely economic recovery is only possible through global cooperation.

 I think that the threat of Covid-19 has created an extraordinary situation. Originating from Asia, and then causing millions of deaths all around the globe, the blame on globalization is legitimate. Most of the states in the world rely on their tourism revenue that has been affected badly due to corona virus. For instance, Saudi Authorities decided to cancel Hajj because of growing pandemic, and the impact on KSA’s economy would be dramatic. Similarly, Japan is one of the states that depend highly on tourism revenue from Chinese tourists and travel restrictions have caused severe losses. We have also seen how the supply chains are affected just because one of the major producers (China) was badly hit by the virus. Globalization seems to have conquered the world so there is no way that it can be avoided completely. However, after the pandemic, there might be a little change in the world order regarding high interdependency. States that were mostly dependent on China for their important supplies might try to produce the supplies on their own and prioritize their domestic industries over foreign industries because of the consequences they had to bear during the pandemic. Similarly, travel bans will surely be removed but people might hesitate to cross borders and move freely because there will be awareness regarding the risks related to free movement. So, I think that the pandemic has highlighted some backlashes in globalization, but it doesn’t mean that globalization has failed. We can say that it is fragile, despite or even because of its benefits.

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International Law

Explaining the Durability of the Cold War System and its Sudden End

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Courtesy of the outcome of the Second World War, the Soviet Union and the US emerged as the two superpowers. Allies in the second world war, after the defeat of Germany, and the subsequent end of the war, the alliance between the USSR and the US was short lived, and soon found themselves competing with each other. Devastated and in tatters, Europe once again became the battle ground – this time between the two superpowers who viewed Europe as the focal point to global domination.

As a result of the rivalry, the world was divided into two superpower blocs: one the US led capitalist bloc comprising of the West European States, and the Soviet Union led communist bloc comprising of Eastern European nations. As Kenneth Waltz posited an order with a stable bipolarity. And so, the period from 1946 until the end of the Cold War marked an intense hostility between the two superpowers. Although, no direct confrontation occurred between the two great powers, the period was characterized by space, arms and ideological race but most importantly, the race for global domination. 

Development of the Cold War

Ideology

Ideologically, there was a divide between the Soviets and the Americans. The capitalist US and its allies, and the communist Soviet bloc,were involved in an ideological confrontation regarding post-war configuration of Europe and the world. Here, in the ideological battle, the USSR wanted to spread communism whereas the US foreign policy (which had changed from isolationism to interventionism) was centred around its containment. This ideological confrontation meant that the ideological divide endured.

Domestic Political Structure

In the Soviet Union, there existed the lack of separation of power and the Soviet Leader Stalin was unchecked with his exercise of power which meant he could pursue whatever policy he saw fit and other domestic variables had no roles in restraining him. On the contrary, unlike Stalin, American President faced a disgruntled and hostile Congress, and in order to appease the Republican dominated Congress, President Truman was forced to change his policy towards the Soviet Union. He brought the now famous and a piece of masterstroke – The Truman Doctrine – to contain Soviet expansionism all over the world. This further divided the US and the Soviet leaders.

Role of Decision Makers

On one hand, after the arrival of President Truman in the Oval Office, he was more open to aggressive policy recommendation from his policy-advisors. He put into effect several hostile policies targeting the USSR. Among others was the discontinuation of indemnification to the Soviet Union from Western part of Germany. Likewise, aid assistance to Greece and Turkey at a time of communist uprising also didn’t bode well with Moscow. On the other hand, Stalin played a monumental role of his own on the evolution of the Cold War. He considered Capitalism antithetical to his communist beliefs. Additionally, his actions showed he was just as willing to expand Soviet grip outside Eastern Europe – his support of communist uprising in Turkey and Greece as well as Soviet action in the Turkish Strait crisis is a testament to this. Not to mention, Stalin’s support of the North Korean regime to attack its southern neighbour South Korea. In sum, both the leaders in the US and Soviet Union contributed more or less equally to the development of Cold War.

Durability of the Cold War 

Neorealist interpretation

According to Kenneth Waltz, an anarchic international system is stable if no changes occur in the system’s configuration. He has contended that in a world of bipolarity, two superpowers do not rely on their allies for economic and for material firepower. In such a system, whenever there occurs any disproportionate equilibrium in the system, both powers balance each other by virtue of internal balancing by relying on their own economic and military capabilities. And so, by this logic, it can be argued that a bipolar configuration of the international system is stable. In a bipolar setting, prime example being the Cold War, there was a clear delineation of friends and enemies. In this regard, the US was a threat to the USSR and vice-versa. This explains why, in the due course of the Cold War, when China and France acted on their own conscience, it didn’t destabilize the Cold War system. Similarly, in bipolarity, when there is an apparent conflict or a war looming anywhere around the world, it becomes a matter of prime importance to both the parties because by virtue of realism, the international system is a zero-sum game with binary outcome: either gains or losses. And so, bipolar system is also characterized by prompt response to unforeseen events. In a system of bipolarity, superpowers devise strategy keeping in consideration their material capability and self-interests, therefore, chances of uncertain actions and miscalculations are minimal, giving rise to the stability of bipolar system. In sum, Waltz posits bipolar system as the most stable in international politics which explains the Cold War durability. (The theory of International Politics by Kenneth Waltz)

Nuclear Weapons

Mostly, realist scholars have maintained the position that nuclear weapons contributed to the durability of the Cold War. They argue that it was the nuclear capability on both sides that deterred them from any major confrontation. According to Robert Jervis, nuclear weapon changed the dynamics of warfare. Equipped with most advanced of military technology, nuclear weapons have precision striking capability second to none. He posits that because nuclear weapons have Mutually Assured Destruction, it almost certainly guarantees that all parties to a nuclear war would be destroyed. With these things under consideration, from Jervis’ perspective, nuclear weapons provided nuclear deterrence and thus superpower war was averted. Likewise, structural realists, Waltz and Mearsheimer have also argued that the proliferation of nuclear arsenal became an instrument in preserving the stability of the Cold War system and they contend that further proliferation of nuclear weapons would make the international system more stable.

Economy

According to John Mueller, the world had seen two destructive wars and states had experienced the economic impacts and costs associated, not to mention the loss of life and property inflicted by the wars. Aftermath the Second World War, Europe was completely devastated and their economic revival needed assistance from the US. He contends that states had learnt the bitter lesson and this realization that wars are unworthy changed states perception towards great power conflict and thus, the cold war became durable.

End of Cold War

In the latter stages of the Cold War, United States was economically, politically and militarily more in a better position than the Soviet Union. According to structural realists, Reagan administration’s decision to increase military budget put pressure on the USSR to be in the arms race. This increasingly pressurized Soviet Union’s already strained economy which had significant investment in their military budget. It could be said that at a time when the US were making leaps and bounds in technology and funnelling more money in techno-military research and development, Soviet economy headed towards downward spiral.

Liberal scholars have focused the end of the Cold War on the easing of heated tensions and hostility between the two superpowers. As a result, people’s movement to the USSR increased and in due course of time the liberal norms also spread among the domestic public in the Soviet Union. Likewise, dialogues and meetings saw landmark agreements towards control of arms race. prime example being the SALT I and SALT II agreements. Similarly, the US perception of USS under Gorbachev changed from hostile communist state to “normal social democratic great power”. In addition, from the perspective of individual leader, Gorbachev also played influential role, among others, he made several changes in the Soviet Foreign Policy stemming from progressive appointments in key positions in the ministry. His pursue of foreign policy slowly transformed Soviet image abroad. Agreement with Reagan on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) showed Gorbachev’s commitment to ending arms race.

Thus, on account, it can be argued that economic woes, lagging behind in the advancement of science and technology and arms race coupled with the spread of liberal norms and the progressive role by Gorbachev resulted in the end of the Cold War.

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International Law

UNSC: Implications of widening Permanent Membership on its Effectiveness

Aiman Nawaz

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With the emergence of regional and global powers, the call for increasing the permanent seats of the United Nation’s Security Council is becoming louder. On real grounds the UNSC is the only body of the United Nations which can take decisive actions and give out rulings on certain issues, especially the executive permanent members (Russia, China, United States, Britain and France). The permanent members have the power to Veto, which the permanent members have been known to use from time to time to stop the council’s decisions that are against their will. This veto power and the structure of UNSC is considered as discriminatory and controversial as the UN gives the status of equality to all the member states and UNSC is a question mark on that status.

Many feel that there is a need of reforms in the UNSC and that new permanent members should be added to the UNSC as they deserve to become the permanent members. According to the proponents of expansion and reforms of UNSC the current permanent members do not fairly represent the world order. Due to this, many states are seeking permanent membership of UNSC which will have a huge impact of the effectiveness of the UNSC in responding to threats to international security.

UNSC

The UNSC is considered as the most powerful and influential body of the United Nations. It is mainly responsible for maintaining international peace and security according to the UN charter. It has the ability to make decisions that all UN members are bound to obey. This makes the UNSC an important body of the United Nations and gives it a powerful position in the world.

The UNSC is made up of 15 states; five permanent and ten non-permanent states. The permanent members remain unchanged as appointed in 1945 as chief custodians of World Order. The non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly of the United Nation for a two years term. Before 1965 there were only six non-permanent members of the UNSC but after restructuring the numbers increased from six to ten.

The UNSC has ideally a noteworthy scope of power and duties. To examine issues such as Armed Conflicts or Disputes which are a threat to international peace and security, the council meets throughout the year. It is authorized to take Military actions, order mandatory sanctions and call for cease fire, on behalf of the United Nations. Other roles and responsibilities of the UNSC include the appointment of Secretary General of the UN, the addition or removal of the members of the UN and electing the judges of the International Court of Justice.

Permanent Members and the “Power of Veto”

The UNSC “Power of Veto” means a negative vote by a permanent member on “substantive” draft resolution. Only the permanent members have the right to veto. The main purpose of establishing this system of Veto was to prevent and prohibit UN from taking actions against the founding members in the future.

The P5 have been accused many times for misusing the Veto power. The single negative vote of P5 carries the power to reject a resolution. The non-permanent members have a less important role in the UNSC as they do not have the power to veto. To pass a resolution nine votes are needed but if one of the P5 state votes against the resolution the other votes do not matter and the resolution is not passed.

The P5 states have used the veto power hundreds of times in order to serve their personal interests. From 1946-2016 the veto power has been used more than three hundred times. Russia tops the list by using veto 133 times. Most of the negative votes used by Russia were to serve the interests of its allies. For example, recently in the case of Syrian civil war Russian being a Syrian ally used the veto power 12 times to reject the resolutions related to sanctions and investigation of chemical weapons and referring Syria to International Criminal Court. The US comes second on the list by using veto 83 times from 1946-2016. Most of the negative votes by the US were on the resolutions related to Israel/Palestine conflict. China with 40 negative votes comes third on the list. Most of the negatives votes were against the resolution related to Taiwan issue, support of Russia, and on Burma Myanmar issue. The UK and France used 32 and 18 negative votes on the resolutions mostly related to Suez Canal and Rhodesian Crisis.

The Veto power system is unjust and un-democratic. It only serves the interests of the P5. The developing countries who are non-permanent members and non-veto holders have been longing for restructuring of UNSC and some of the new rising powers want permanent membership because they believe that they deserve to become a permanent member of UNSC.

Quest for Permanent membership of UNSC

The number of states has increased since the formation of the United Nations. The number of states increased from 51 to 118 until 1965. In this year the non-permanent seats of the UNSC were increased from six to ten; the permanent seats remained unchanged. Now as the number of states has increased to 192 the proponents of the restructuring of UNSC are demanding reforms in the UNSC and demands the enlargement of the permanent seats of the council.

The non-permanent seats are distributed on the basis of geography and the contributions made by the states or international peace and security. The representation of the permanent members of the UNSC is not proportional. The current structure of the UNSC is opposed by many states and they are asking for reforms.

Former Secretary General Annan proposed two models for the reforms in UNSC. The model A suggests to expand the number of UNSC seats to 24, including 3 new non-permanent seats and 6 new non-permanent seats with veto power. The new permanent members should be from Europe (1 seat), Americas (1 seats), Africa (2 seats), and Asia Pacific (2 seats). The model B also suggests the expansion of seats from 15 to 24 but does not include new permanent seats. It suggests the 4 year terms for 8 members. Africa, Asia pacific, Europe and Americas will each get 2 non-permanent seats with a 4 year term. Another additional non-permanent seat will also be created.

Another group asking for reforms is G4 (Group of four) which includes Japan, Germany, India and Brazil. The G4 states are aspiring for permanent seats in the UNSC. These 4 states are economically and politically very strong. If more seats are created in the UNSC these countries are most likely to become permanent members.

Japan contributes the second largest sum to the UN’s regular budget. Germany is the third largest contributor. India is the World’s largest democracy and 2nd largest population. It is also the world’s largest economy and third largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping missions. Brazil is the largest country in the Latin America with the largest population and economy. Russia UK and France support the G4 aspirations.

There is another group called “Uniting the Consensus”. This group includes Pakistan, Italy, Colombia and Canada. This group opposes the expansion of the permanent members of the organization. There are also other models suggested by other states and groups such as Regional model (Italian proposal), Panama proposal etc. the most discussed are the G4 states who are putting a lot of effort to get permanent membership.

How effective is the current UNSC:

The UNSC was formed in order to ensure international peace and security. It has been successful in achieving some of its goals but failed to achieve others. One of the Success of the United Nations Security Council is that after its formation the world has not seen another world War like the first and second World Wars. The credit for this success goes to all the member states that have contributed politically and economically to improve the organization. The peace keeping missions of the UNSC in Angola, Liberia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti and several other states were successful. The efforts by Secretary General U Thant during the Cuban missile Crisis are also appreciated. He was responsible for the negotiations between US and USSR during Cuban missile crisis in 1962. His efforts helped to save the world from nuclear holocaust.

The success of the Security Council is on one side but there are some failures of the council which are criticized. The council was not able to avert interstate conflicts. It failed to stop the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Cambodian genocide of 1975-79, Somalian civil war of 1993, the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 and Sri Lankan Civil war. The council was powerless during the Cold war period and several substantive resolutions were rejected at that time. It has been almost three decades since the cold war ended but the power politics between the states specially the P5 states is still going on. The misuse of the Veto power by P5 to serve their own interests is a huge failure of the Council. Due to this Veto power the Security Council was and is unable to respond to several threats to the international security.

Implications

The debate on increasing the permanent members of the UNSC has been going on for quite some time and states like India, Japan, Germany, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia have had tried to become permanent members in the past. Although the current system of the UNSC is quiet objectionable on democratic grounds because states like Japan, Germany etc. who have grown out  to be strong regional and global powers have been long bereaved of the luxury of sitting at the elders table (the Permanent members) in the UNSC. The UNSC’s current structure lacks proportionality as the P5 chose themselves. The restructuring of UNSC and increasing the number of permanent members can undoubtedly help bring about a balance of power in the region but unfortunately it can have some serious negative impacts in the effectiveness of UNSC in responding to threats to the international security. The widening of permanent membership of UNSC would definitely weaken its potential to respond to the threats to international security. First of all it is already very hard to get a unanimous decision from 5 members with different interests hence further increasing the number of permanent members with the power to veto will result in new members too abusing the power just like the current 5 permanent members for their benefit. In a system like this, with such diversified conflicts of interests any practical decision making will become almost impossible. Another issue is that the regional powers like Pakistan and Canada cannot afford to see their rivals handed a bigger gun. Especially inclusion of the G4 countries like India will face heavy resistance because of the fear of them abusing the power for their personal gains instead of working towards international peace and security. Strong resistance against this can lead to further instability in the already unbalanced international system.

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