The Problem With the UN Veto Power | NowThis World

People love to hate on the UN about its ability
to create change. Though even the organization’s fiercest
critics admit it has done a lot of good around the world, the UN has also been accused of
being complicit in corruption, tangled in bureaucracy, and increasingly reactive rather
than proactive in addressing the world’s crises. It’s also been accused of failing to act
to prevent genocides in places including Rwanda in 1994, Bosnia in 1995, and Darfur, Sudan
in the early 2000s. Some have even called the organization totally
powerless. But there are certain countries in the UN
that get to exercise real power. We’re talking about the UN Security Council’s
Permanent 5 members. or P5. They all have what’s known as the right
to veto. So we’re going to break down what the right
to veto is, how the P5 got this power, and how its implementation has failed humanitarian
crises around the world. We also sat down with Salil Shetty, former
Secretary General of Amnesty International, to help break down some of the shortcomings
of the Security Council’s veto power. The P5 have been accused of, at times, abusing
that power. Do you see it that way? Without question. To understand that, we need to establish the
context in which the Security Council was set up. Especially because it’s remained largely
unchanged since its first meeting. The council is one of the six principal organs
of the United Nations, which was founded in October 1945. Created in the immediate aftermath of World
War II, the UN’s goal was to, as their charter puts it, ‘save succeeding generations from
the scourge of war.’ The U.S., UK and then-Soviet Union, the three
major Allied powers, were victors of World War II. And they were ready to establish their status
and power in the form of a elite council. Former U.S.-President Franklin Roosevelt lobbied
for China’s inclusion as a permanent member of the council and then-British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill did the same for France. The Permanent Five members of the Security
Council were established and granted veto power, meaning their single negative vote
carries the power to reject a resolution. So you have Russia and China sort of on one
side, and you have France, the UK and the United States on the other. So it’s kind of the West versus the rest,
and that’s how it’s been organized. Some of the body’s functions and powers
include: to investigate threats to international peace, to recommend a resolution process,
to impose and lift sanctions, and to even enforce military intervention. It has done all of those at various times,
including military action against Gaddafi in Libya in 2011 and sanctions against Iran
in response to their nuclear program in 2006. The P5 also set aside another 6, eventually
becoming 10, non-permanent membership spots. Non-permanent member spots rotate every two
years. For resolutions to pass, 9 out of the 15 total
members on the council have to vote in favor. So, even though they don’t have veto power,
temporary members still have a really important job. But, if even one of the P5 states vetoes a
resolution, that’s it. And that’s happened hundreds of times since
the Council was founded, often in cases where that state has been accused of advancing its
own political interests in the face of global crises. It’s like a club, so the people who are
the most powerful members in the club, they make the rules. So they’re not gonna change the rules in
a way that negates their own interest. So, who are we talking about here? Let’s start with Russia. They’ve used their veto power more times
than any other P5 member. Most recently, the ally of the Syrian regime
has used its veto power 12 times on draft resolutions concerning the Syrian civil war. That includes drafts that would have allowed
chemical weapons investigations, imposed sanctions, and referred Syria to the International Criminal
Court. More than 400,000 people have died as a result
of the conflict in Syria since 2011. The kind of underlying issue is that every
country in the Security Council is there to protect human interests, the interests of
humanity as a whole. But they tend to protect their own national
interests. So the humanitarian or the human consequence
of these big powers playing politics is what we see in Syria. Russia has similarly exercised its veto power
to protect its interests around Ukraine and Crimea. But Russia isn’t alone in using the veto
power in accordance with its national interests. China has vetoed several measures that lended
legitimacy to Taiwan’s independence, which China doesn’t recognize. Meanwhile, the U.S. has voted down dozens
of resolutions related to its support for Israel, including those that would have condemned
Israeli settlements as illegal, called on Israel to completely withdraw from Palestinian
territories, and requested investigations into mass killings of Palestinian protesters
along the Gaza border. It also cast the single opposing vote against
14 affirmative votes on a resolution calling on the U.S. to withdraw it’s embassy in
Jerusalem. One party cannot continue to monopolize the
peace process, especially not one that acts with bias in favor of the occupying power,
at the expense of the law and the rights of the occupied people. Even the threat of a veto is enough to keep
resolutions off the table altogether, as has been the case with mass killings of the Rohingya
Muslims in Myanmar. China, a major trade partner of Myanmar, is
expected to veto any related resolutions. So, what has been proposed for the future
of the veto? Some countries, including P5 members France
and the UK, have supported the concept of voluntary restraint. That basically means the P5 would have a responsibility
not to use their veto power in situations where mass atrocities are being committed,
like Syria, for example. This proposal has gained steam in recent years,
with major human rights groups calling on the Security Council to adopt the measure. But some say the veto is necessary to act
as a check and balance on foreign intervention. And others say it might be hard to agree on
a definition of what constitutes a ‘mass atrocity.’ Another proposed remedy? Rather than restrict the P5’s power, expand
its membership. Some argue the glaring lack of permanent representation
from regions like Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia is part of the problem,
and that expanding the P5 to those regions would benefit the council. India, Brazil, Germany, and Japan are among
the popular contenders. Collectively, they formed a group known as
the G4 to strengthen their chances of permanent membership status on the Council. A big challenge the UN faces is, if you start
by saying, ‘we the people,’ where are the people’s voices in the decision making? And while some permanent members, like France
and the UK, are more open to expansion, Russia, China, and the U.S. have been more cautious
or directly opposed. It would take a whole lot of support to modify
the UN Charter, and to get all P5 members to agree at the same time to restrict their
own power. But despite of all its flaws, experts generally
agree: the UN creates a vital space for diplomacy, mediation, and maintaining international peace. It has indisputably helped save lives, lifted
people out of poverty and starvation and maintained global order. I always say the challenge with the UN is
if it didn’t exist, we’d trying to figure out how to invent it. But it still remains to be seen whether the
Security Council will make the necessary reforms to balance power among its members and adequately
address global humanitarian crises that are falling through the cracks. We want to hear from you: how do you think
the Security Council should be reformed? Should veto power extend beyond the P5? Or should it be reigned in during mass atrocity
situations? Let us know what you think in the comments
below, and if you learned something on this episode of NowThis World, please hit that
like and subscribe button.

100 thoughts on “The Problem With the UN Veto Power | NowThis World

  1. where does the humanitarian funding come from? who are the neutral officer liasons formulating with the boots on the ground reports? embassies represent foreign travelers but most governments are occupied by creditors who sell loans to cartels in the regions. feels more and more like a video game

  2. the disclaimer about how the UN is really great at accomplishing its mission for world peace is really annoying considering how many wars are being waged by its core members.

  3. There is nothing such as human rights religion politics an money divided the world in a million different pieces so everyone will get there self a gun

  4. The entire United Nations is not only a conspiracy of world domination, but world domination for the powers of evil. Did you know that the UN funded NAMBLA from 1993 to 1994? You need look no farther than the New York Times to find this- back when they told real news stories instead of needing Bill and Hillary's approval for each story.

  5. The exclusive publisher and distributor of United Nations documents is Lucis Trust, a Theosophical organization that admits its name was originally "Lucifer Trust". The UN flag has 33 segments. Those familiar with the occult will have no trouble discerning what that means. Add to that their support of NAMBLA and what do YOU think they're about?

  6. UNSC is an expression of power ,world is ruled by these powers. these are 5 countries with power across the globe ,if India had that much power like them then we wouldn't have to ask them for VETO power,we could work for our interests with our power.

  7. You will find that this video is actually funded by the g4 member countries, creating a paradox for them to enter the permanent members.

  8. if anyone should be added it should be Japan counters china's interests in east and also a stable and peacefully country

  9. The main reason is those Five countries have enough nuclear power to destroy the world. And Germany, Japan or else, none of them have that power or have that possibility to own the power for what they have done in WW2. It’s an animal world.

  10. I believe veto power can be kept in check, when they can't veto vote if the case has them bring directly or indirectly involved in it. If their forces are included in war, they shouldn't be allowed to veto

  11. P5 paid a blood price to defeat fascism in World War II. Okay, now countries like India and Japan want to change the rules of the game, do you think it's possible? It's naive to share the benefit cake with someone else. Anglo-American, French and Russian support India, they are just talking about it, because they know it is impossible, because there must be a country that will vote against it, so why not support India? After all, when Indians are happy, they will buy Western weapons. Even though there are conflicts among the five countries in international affairs, the interests of the five countries are identical on the issue of Security Council reform.

  12. I think the smaller UN states should get veto the bigger members like usa china russia france and the uk shouldn't be in the council the smaller states wouldnt create a war or conflict less likely

  13. Ironically the biggest booster of the UN was a US President, FDR . However the only way it could be accepted by the US in 1945 was to guarantee a permanent Security Council "veto" to the USA and its victorious and most important Allies in WWII. Without it, no USA money or involvement, like the old COMPLETELY useless League of Nations(and how did that work out?). Remove the veto power and the UN becomes another powerless and expensive international talking factory that does some philanthropic/relief work around the globe w/o USA participation and $$$$.
    BTW There are some people both in and outside the USA who believe that is not such a bad idea. The UN is currently only as strong and relevant as its member nations in the General Asembly and especially the Security Council want it to be.

  14. Comment une nation qui a fait usage du terrorism et de latorture ….peut Vitoezzer contre Moi! Abdique en Kabylie right now ! Attentat de londres 2005.

  15. I sent a Letter to the PM of Canada supporting this idea in 2006, but I Had in my Letter Along list of Nations that should be on the SC of the UN, year around Based on GDP AND NATIONS HAVING HAD A REAL STRONG ROLE IN ONE WAY OR OTHER ON HISTORY and thus being more Baluce to the UN, SC !

  16. The 5 permanent voting members seat next to abolish and to set up 5 years terms, that's kick out u.s. and Britain this 2 dishonestly nations.

  17. First of all, if anyone (including non-nuclear powers) could have a veto, mass destruction would start. The US, Russia and China for instance would do everything, including non-diplomatic measures, to serve their interests. They are the most stubborn parties, who assigned themselves as the guardians of the world.
    Second, there is a resolution 'United for peace' established in the first years of UN, to authorise the General Assembly (where is no veto) to decide on military interventions in case the SC fails to stop a war-related humanitarian crisis. This has already been used once. So the P5 do not have limited power, it rather depends on their sphere of influence (NATO, Community of Independent States etc).

  18. without the p5, UN is nothing but a joke , dont you understand? the strong does what he wants, the weak suffers what he must.
    The global rules are made by few great powers.

  19. I think the UN security council should expand its permanent members. For example they could include Mexico,and Brazil for Latin America. Germany,and Ukraine to represent more of Europe. South Africa,and Libya for Africa. India and Japan for more of Asia. Finally they should add Australia and Indonesia for Australasia

  20. As usual the countries that control the majority of the economic activity of the world are the P5 with UN veto power. Just get rid of the veto power or how about give the UN members the power to overrule the veto power of the P5. If the P5 won’t limit their power then expand the powers of the UN members instead.

  21. Time and again China has used its Veto against a full majority of support for India's request to designate documented terrorist from Pakistan who openly admit their bombing activities with ultra sense of pride. If you want peace, stop protecting terrorists in first place, and let them be crucified. But again, who wants peace? It's all about securing own interest at the cost of greater harm these days.

  22. the right to veto must be expanded to the countries throughout the world, representative of every sector must be the part of security council, as in case to protect the right of Muslim there representative should have the veto to defend their right and so on for other community as a whole

  23. If anything set it Up as a representative democracy. Security council voted in by the states. That being said that could turn sour real quick.

  24. There are three criteria for becoming a permanent member:

    1. The capacity to wage a global war.
    2. The economy to sustain a global war.
    3. The will to fight a global war.

    Thus, Japan and Germany do not qualify. India is the only present potential candidate at the moment.

    The primary purpose of the UN is to provide a forum of cooperation for the major powers. That means the major powers must be on the Security Council and must have a veto. The current five members are still the dominant military powers in the world. That's why they are there.

    The UN is not about global governance. It's about great power hegemony and reducing the risk of great power conflict. That is how it is structured to function. That is how it will continue to function. It cannot be reformed. It can only be abolished.

  25. We should be more realpolitik: the UNSC is structured like Mafia commission made up of the powerful mafia families where might is right. If you want to join the commission, you should prove your strength by, for example, winning a total war against any of the five families.

  26. India has 130 crores of population that contributes to more than one fourth of global population. If you can't include India into UNSC it only means you don't want to listen to the voices of numerous HINDU, MUSLIM population. Right now there is no single nation in P5 who represents the said ethnic groups. What's the use of UNSC where countries like China are using VETO and not allowing countries like Tibet to exercise their rights. China never agrees to international tribunal courts but still enjoys the power of veto, who supplied nuclear technology to Pakistan and North Korea, well an elementary standard boy can answer this question, why is world quiet when china occupies and builds islands in international waters? I feel the UNSC should bring more countries and balance the power in regions. I have no faith in UNSC as the p5 countries continue to guard their own interests and I am pretty sure this will continue for ever.

  27. What a joke, UN is never about justice, it's just that countries have insane military power need a place to negotiate in order to prevent wars between the superpowers. China was not a permenant member before, and UN sended army to fight with China in Korean war and vietnamese war. Chinese sacrificed soooooo many soilders but eventually drove them off. And China spent a lot of time/money and energy and china finally built nuclear weapon by itself. Since then the UN recognized China as a super power. The thing is: Power gives you Permenant seat and not vice versa. If any of the military superpower decided to leave UN, then UN is nothing but an empty shell. China used blood and death and finally got the permenant seat. You want to get the permenant seat just because you have huge population? Or you are democratic? Its laughable. Power IS justice. As a country that suffered from foreign aggression and invasion for the last century, no one knows that better than the Chinese do. Remember, NO PAIN, NO GAIN.

  28. The UN draws its power from the 5 permanent members. So the rest of the world is powerless to impose any ruling against them really. Is Ireland gonna show russia the back of their hand if they step out of line? No. So its only fair that they have the majority of the power too. An any direct military action against most of the 5 especially USA, Russia and perhaps china would quickly spiral out of control and lead to a possible 3rd world war. The UN and veto power is a polite gesture to make people believe the world is ruled by a wise fair council…. its not, its ruled by the countries with the biggest and most ruthless militaries. Thats why the USA spends a massive chunk of its budget on military weapons development, because money isnt real, when the chips are down the country who can bring the most pain is calling the shots.

  29. Whats the point of space for mediation etc, if no resolution can be taken. It's just a library with bunch of school kids talking to each others.

  30. One simple question. Why is Russia even one of the big 5. But then is China, or even the United States. 3 countries that are the most dangerous to the peace of the world, are members of the big 5.

  31. The Muslims need the Caliph System. Not UN. UN is formed by the Salibiyyin. The crusaders will never rest till the whole Middle East regions from the river of Egypt to the river of Iraq are belongs to them. The Muslims will rises again and crushes them. We will drives them out from the land of Palestinians.

  32. There should be a representation of two Islamic states according to veto power, Pakistan and Turkey. May be 2 from arab nations too. Or may be we need to extend more from africa. And the veto power, could be challanged by other veto powers, by voting between veto powers, we can cancel the former veto, and peace will prevail in good manners.

  33. Well, for me, the veto power make the P-5 fight each other on the table, not in the battlefield. You should be glad for that. Coz when the P5 fight each other in the real battlefield, the entire world will suffer much

  34. It's better the diplomats and politican who fight war on the tables than soldier and generals on battefied. Last time war beetween great power resulting 60-100 million people killed across the world. UN main purpose is to keep Great Powers have sense and talk and avoid major war for greater good.

  35. There is only 2 kind of people make decision in United Neglegent,
    the one is Rich and another with massive Nuclear Weapon.

  36. The only good part of the UN is humanitarian relief and food. The Security Council is an absolute farce. It might be better if its ambassador members had a weekly chit chat in Geneva. The fact that they meet regularly is about the only good thing about the Security Council. As for the Secretary General the main criteria is to wear a nice suit, give regular hand wringing speeches, and most important of all not upset the P5 members. The person in that position is actually meant to do nothing.

  37. There should be more permanent members seats in UNSC so as to take the decisions in a better way. Sometimes the P5 members use there power to benefit some other friendly nations like China is doing for Pakistan.

  38. Warning to all foreign investors going to invest in Nigeria!!!… Presently and few years backward Nigeria had not being and is not a safe country for investments… there are No JUSTICE in the courts of Nigeria for the average and sincere citizens.. No security of lives and properties, No good roads network, No dependable electric power supply, No value placed to the hard works and the future of the Nigerians at large, so CRIMES ARE INEVITABLE!.. and these had and is still giving birth to unstoppable flow of Kidnappings, corrupt police men and i mean all police men, armed robbers and armed bandits (created by the Nigerian political class)… all thanks to the Nigerian Governments including the Buhari's Government which has muted the rights of Nigerians both back home and in the diaspora….
    …As a Nigerian it is so sad, but these are facts.

  39. United Nation is nothing more than a way that allows 5 countries to rule the world.
    Any country that have dignity and independence will not be part of United Nation.

  40. It should be extended beyond P5 And also their should not be any necessity for P5 Country to vote at the time of crisis i.e, mass killing.
    Their should also be the power after extension that majority counts.

  41. Veto SHOULD be disappeared bcz this power creating troubles all over the world and making UN useless!!! To ensure equal justice for countries veto power must be banned 👍 If veto power exist then no need to have other countries as UN members bcz they have been unable to make positive changes!!

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