Why aren’t I thrilled that our little country has been elected to a two year stint as a member of the highest chamber of the United Nations? Because our membership will have absolutely no effect on the outcome of the decisions made by that body.
I can give you five reasons why our membership will be ineffective.
* United States of America
* United Kingdom
As long as the five permanent members of the Security Council have the power of veto, the security council will always be hamstrung by the self interests of the five. It is time that both the power of veto and permanent membership be reviewed.
19 Oct, 2014 at 2:28 am
Even as a U.S. citizen, I’ve often wondered why other nations even bothered to join the U.N. given the power of the permanent Security Council status. One nation getting to veto what everyone else does hardly seems like the hallmark of fair dealing. That other temporary members don’t have the same privileges also kind of makes things seem meaningless.
I will say that there is a silver lining, though. New Zealand having temporary Security Council status will give it more press coverage in the U.S. While this is a small consolation, it does offer your country the opportunity to raise awareness of important issues.
19 Oct, 2014 at 2:51 am
Unfortunately our present administration is all but trying to climb into bed with the U.S. administration. After decades of cold shoulder treatment by the Whitehouse, the thawing relationship seems to have gone to our Prime minister’s head. Any independent ideas NZ typically has on the international front are likely to be put on the back burner while we pander to the interests of the American administration.
19 Oct, 2014 at 2:52 am
Well, Barry, I guess I will offer both my congratulations and condolences to New Zealand. Congratulations for being granted a seat on the UN Security Council and condolences on the fact that it’s sort of meaningless.
Although, as SB noted, it will likely raise the profile of New Zealand.
19 Oct, 2014 at 2:57 am
Thanks (for both the congratulations and the condolences). Unfortunately I suspect any raise in profile will be for the wrong reason.
19 Oct, 2014 at 3:11 am
I think most Americans feel fairly positive toward New Zealand — or are at least neutral. It looks like a beautiful country and visiting New Zealand and Australia is on my bucket list, although I don’t know that that will ever happen.
19 Oct, 2014 at 3:26 am
That, to a large extent, will depend on how Americans view their own government’s foreign policy. Our government is likely to follow the lead of the White House more closely than it has in the past. If it wasn’t for the fact that it would be political suicide, I can well imagine our current leaders bowing to American demands that we repeal our anti nuclear weapons legislation.
19 Oct, 2014 at 6:13 am
Yeah, the Americans are always looking for ports to dock ships with nuclear weapons. The security council basically keeps the UN from committing forces unless everyone agrees. It has always been a thorn that vetos are so easy. But at least it prevents an escalation of conflict in a war torn area when the SC agrees – none of the major powers will then start backing one side or another of the conflict. It’s more of a safe guard than it is aan operational council. Which basically means that being a member w/o veto is pointless – it just keeps the rest of us happy, that’s all.
Welcome to the little guy club – you’ll find lots of friends down here.
19 Oct, 2014 at 9:46 am
Access to NZ ports was never the real issue as Australian ports are not that far away. The real issue was that we demanded the right to decide what types of military ships entered our territorial waters. The American administration at the time was afraid that other countries might follow NZ’s lead, and that is why the administration came down so hard on us. Our own government softened its stance by declaring our anti nuclear weapons policy was “not for export”, but the damage had been done.
Had the American response to NZ denying access to the USS Buchanan been less severe, I very much suspect that our government’s stance would not have gained the support of over 90% of the population.