Commentary: U.N. Security Council needs revamp

This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.

The world that created the United Nations in 1945 has been swept away in the post-war years. A political revolution has reshaped the colonial map, creating new nations and nearly quadrupling U.N. membership from the original 51 countries to 192 today. Through it all, the Security Council has remained frozen in time, its size and permanent membership shamefully the same.

The five permanent members are the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France. It can be argued that at least the first three remain the most powerful countries in the world in terms of combined military and economic might and deserve permanent representation. It is absurd, however, to argue that the victors of World War II should continue to exercise such a disproportionately high degree of power over the rest of the planet, ignoring the rise of new economic powers and regional forces across the globe.

The unchanging structure of the Security Council is a testament to the difficulty of getting anything done at the United Nations. A body with 192 arms and legs moves slowly, when it moves at all.

Today, there is widespread support for revamping the United Nations' most powerful organ to reflect the new global reality, but it threatens to fall victim to the same international rivalries that have blocked agreement for decades.

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