Prime Minister John Key has used a speech to the United Nations to launch a scathing attack on the Security Council, warning that inaction over events like the humanitarian crisis in Syria had damaged its credibility.
In notes for a trenchant speech lasting nearly 20 minutes, Key said the UN was in urgent need of reform – a key pitch in New Zealand’s bid for a seat on the Security Council.
“Its key organs, particularly the Security Council, have become hostage to their own traditions and to the interests of the most powerful,” Key said.
“We now seem to have a practice whereby the permanent members can not only block council actions through the veto. They also appear to have privileged access to information and can stop the council from meeting if it does not suit their collective purposes.
“Such behaviour damages the reputation and credibility of the wider organisation and must be challenged.” …
Key has been in New York drumming up support for New Zealand’s Security Council seat bid.
He said New Zealand was not advocating revolution “but we are asserting the council can and must do better in the way it conducts its business.
“That is the approach New Zealand will bring to the Security Council if we are elected next October,” he said.
“From the 1950s to the 1990s we could blame the Cold War when the Security Council did not act.
That does not wash today.”
Key called this week for permanent Security Council members to be stripped of their right of veto over acts of genocide or war crimes.
I wonder if one potential reform is that you need two permanent members to veto something, not one. That would still hold some protection from the tyranny of the majority, but would mean Russia and China would no longer have s sole veto. Of course US, UK and France would also lose a sole veto but two of them together could still veto – as could Russia and China.
Of course there is little incentive for any holders of the veto to weaken its power.