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Foreign Media Reaction

May 24, 2005



**  Papers conclude the U.S. opposes "the granting of veto rights" to new UNSC members.

**  Dailies opine that achieving "UNSC expansion with veto powers" will be "highly improbable."

**  Neighbors of G-4 applicants are skittish towards their permanent accession to the UNSC.

**  Reform advocates note that changing the UNSC will lead to a "more democratic UN."


The U.S. is 'not really enthused'--  Dailies agreed "U.S. support is vital" to enlarging the UNSC, with Germany's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung judging that "much, if not all, now depends" on Washington.  Other German writers noted the U.S. is "allegedly opposed" to Berlin's entry.  They urged Berlin to "convince" the U.S. that adding a country that "shares the U.S. dream of a more democratic world" would be a "clear plus," but German skeptics said Berlin's effort "falls short of plausibility."  Critics charged the U.S. effectively rejects UNSC expansion "because it would dilute American power."  Pakistan's centrist News assailed the U.S.' "persistence in maintaining authoritarianism in the anarchic international system."  

'Forget about seeking a veto right'--  Outlets stressed that it "already seems to be clear" that the G-4 would not gain the veto right now held by the five permanent UNSC members, meaning newcomers would "only get a second-class permanent membership."  Indian analysts split on the question of whether New Delhi should "continue to lobby for veto power," especially since "Japan, Brazil and Germany are willing to compromise" on this issue.  The right-of-center Pioneer insisted that the G-4 "definitely do qualify to share" the veto right, joining the centrist Hindu in contending that a "non-veto seat is meaningless."  Other Indian papers termed the veto a "bargaining chip" that could be sacrificed to "settle for permanent membership."

No nation 'can count on its neighbors'--  Papers in countries neighboring the G-4 group of applicants for permanent UNSC membership found various reasons to oppose their efforts.  Turin's centrist La Stampa warned of "Italy's marginalization" if Germany joins the UNSC, while Spain's left-of-center El Pais added it would be "ideal" if EU members shared "only one seat."  Argentina's leading Clarin cited the "historic Argentine disagreement with the Brazilian claim to represent the region," while India's centrist Telegraph noted that the G-4 was on a "collision course with China."  Demonstrating Beijing's oblique opposition, the official China Daily cautioned that "hasty decisions...would be detrimental."

A 'patently unfair and outdated global structure'--  Pro-expansion analysts "saw many reasons for an enlargement of the UNSC."  The center-left Irish Times backed UNSC reform to "bring it into line with contemporary international realities."  Brazil's center-right O Estado de S. Paulo predicted "greater representativeness and efficiency" from a larger UNSC.  Japan's liberal Mainichi called on the UN to "value the momentum for reform that has emerged."  These dailies said a larger UNSC would result in a more "democratic and equitable" global politics that would "encourage the construction of a new realistic multilateralism."

Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, rmrmail@state.gov

EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 33 reports from 12 countries over 17 - 24 May, 2005.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.


GERMANY:  "America's Advice"

Stefan Ulrich judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (5/20):  "Indeed, it can hardly been forecast whether Washington will accept a permanent German seat on the UNSC.  The commentaries from Condi and Co are too vague.  Only one thing is certain:  Once the U.S. reveals its view, the question of a UNSC reform will be decided.  Depending on President Bush raising or turning down his thumb, the most ambitious foreign policy project of the Schroeder government will succeed or fail.  This shows to what extent the superpower dominates the UN....  The trouble with Beijing could prompt the U.S. to get used to the idea of an enlargement of the UNSC, the large democracies Germany, Japan, Brazil, and India would strengthen the U.S. in its struggle with the authoritarian Chinese global power.  That is why the German government should leave no doubt on which side it would stand in such a conflict.  If it wants to get a seat on the UNSC, it should make clear that it shares the U.S dream of a more democratic world, for this dream is also the dream of the UN."

"Not That Easy"

Centrist Leipziger Volkszeitung said (5/20):  "It is not that easy for Germany to enter the box of the UNSC, even though the Red-Green government is pressing for greater influence and responsibility on the international stage.  The chancellor is now even using the services of opposition politicians to achieve this goal...for the Bush administration is not really enthused about the German claim for a permanent seat on the UNSC.  Even Secretary's Rice's rigorous rejection, which has been downgraded in the meantime, does not change this.  Obviously, the irritation at the differences over the Iraq war does not change this.  But the case of Iraq demonstrated painfully how urgently a reformed UN that is capable of acting is needed."

"Changing The UN"

Center-right Westfalenpost of Hagen declared (5/20):  "To change the UN also means to question the power positions of the current five permanent members of the UNSC.  In view of the global trailblazing role of the U.S., this must create a lot of trouble.  The U.S. government is clearly supporting Japan, not Germany, in its striving for such a seat.  Reports that Secretary Rice is allegedly opposed to a German seat are burdening the transatlantic climate in this question.  In this situation is it of great use that CDU foreign policy expert Rühe reported that the U.S. has not yet made up its mind.  Let's put it differently:  The German striving for a permanent UNSC seat has got a strong damper.  It is to be hoped that the skepticism of the U.S. government was not the last word from Washington in this matter."


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (5/19):  "Not all cards are on the table yet; some players are still hiding, but what we heard from Beijing and Washington about an enlargement of the UNSC puts a damper on Germany, Japan, India and Brazil's application.  If the rejecting statement Secretary of State Rice is supposed to have made is right, the German government would have to increase its efforts to convince George Bush's America that the old model ally Germany would be a clear plus as a permanent member on the UNSC.  It does not matter whether the skepticism is the result of a long-term resentment due to the dispute over the Iraq war, because an enlargement of the UNSC is not the primary concern of the U.S. in the current attempts to reform the UN.  Moreover, the German chancellor should not put to much trust in Paris' and Moscow's unbinding and friendly words."

"Not The Last Words"

Right-of-center Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung editorialized (5/19):  "Secretary of State Rice's rejection might not be the last worlds.  Berlin will not give up its foreign policy goal of bearing more responsibility in the world so quickly.  It is clear that the current construction of the UNSC needs to be reformed urgently.  What sense does the organization make if it cannot stop its own members to wage war without a common agreement, like in the event of Iraq?  However, the other side of the run-up to the Iraq war is similarly ingenious:  The many new resolutions of the UN against Saddam Hussein could not be implemented for years.  Nobody can desire a world organization that only produces paper and has no power to intervene.  The applicants for a permanent seat on the UNSC, including Germany, could bring new momentum into the aging New York assembly."

"Poor Rationale"

Right-of-center Muenchner Merkur observed (5/19):  "There is no official confirmation of the sentence with which U.S. Secretary of State Rice has apparently rejected a permanent German seat on the UNSC.  However, if Condoleezza Rice really expressed skepticism over the rationale of giving another EU member a seat, she would be right without any doubt.  Berlin would have been dealt another blow for its persistent ambitions after the attacks from China.  Indeed, the Berlin plan falls short of plausibility, which gives it a touch of arrogance.  Why should the Germans sit on this distinguished council, but not other Europeans apart from the privileged nuclear powers Britain and France?  Germany lacks the capability and the means to seize more power."

"Blockaders And Blockade Strikers"

Stefan Ulrich asserted in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (5/18):  "Following the row over the Iraq war and the numerous scandals of the UN, the call for reforming the world organization is greater than ever before.   If the great reorganization now fails, the UNSC will stay as it for decades.  The four countries [Germany, Japan, India and Brazil] are therefore pushing for a quick decision, while its opponents, such as Italy and China, call for further discussions.  They want to kill the reforms.  Much, if not all, now depends on the position of the U.S.  If they openly supported the side of blockaders, the ambitious project of Germany and its partners would fail.  If the Bush administration allowed it--in consideration of its favorite ally Japan--the four could get the support of two thirds of the countries.  To get Washington's approval, the four should forget about seeking a veto right for the UNSC's new members.  America would never accept more veto powers.  Anyway, the power to say no does not suit the goal of the four to make the organization more capable."

"UN Seat"

Nikolaus Blome noted in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (5/18):  "There are many reasons for an enlargement of the UNSC.  Its make-up reflects the world of 1945.  During the Cold War, a change was unthinkable, but today it is overdue.  The UNSC never became and never will be a world government, but it can legitimate certain policies anywhere in the world better than any other organization.  To do that all greater regions of the world should be represented on the UNSC.  Europe is already represented.  However, the German government is allowed to claim a permanent seat, because Germany is one of the greatest contributors to the budget and the peacekeepers....  The seat on the UNSC will be the ultimate litmus test for the new German self-confidence, which is so important to the chancellor."

"Impetus In New York"     

Clemens Wergin observed in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (5/18):  "China's prompt rejection shows that the optimism of the four aspirants was premature.  On the other side, the United States, which previously only supported Japan's ambition, has now nodded friendly toward the other countries as well--but only in case the four forget their desire to get a veto right.  But the veto right is the real power means in the world organization.  It already seems to be clear now that Germany and its partners will only get a second-class permanent membership."

"Power Struggle Over The UNSC"

Roland Heine wrote in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (5/18):  "The German government faces tough times.  Its favorite foreign policy project, a permanent UNSC seat, is on a collision course with reality.  The U.S. signaled that it does not want more countries with a veto right and China rejected the four countries' draft resolution for an enlargement of the council.  If it remains like that, the project will be dead.  Once more it has become clear that the struggle to reform the UN is a power struggle.  The players involved are not so much interested in a greater efficiency of the UN as a means to balance national interests.  It is more about securing and enlarging the national influence on the world organization.  None of the permanent members want to water down their veto rights by accepting more members on board."

"Jumping Out Of The Shadow"

Andreas Rinke opined in business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (5/18):  "The draft resolution is a further step toward a normalization of Germany's foreign policy.  Until now, German and Japan have had the role of penitents, who paid a large amount of money to the organization without having any rights in return.  Now, Berlin can dare begin a debate over the UN in close cooperation with its most important EU partners.  So far, only the U.S., France and Britain had the right to openly express their interests.  Those who pay high contributions and deploy thousands of peacekeepers would also like to decide where they are used."

ITALY:  "Berlusconi Calls Bush Regarding Future Of UN"

Paolo Mastrolilli noted in centrist, influential La Stampa (5/24):  “PM Berlusconi intervened in the debate regarding UNSC reform with a telephone call to President George Bush....  This official step taken by the Italian PM demonstrates that the battle, which has been under way for the last ten years to avoid Italy’s marginalization from the UN, is now moving towards the final phase....  Palazzo Chigi maintains that it has received reassurances that the reform will not go against Rome’s interests, but it was the White House spokesperson who announced the telephone call, and this makes diplomats reflect on how things went.”

DENMARK:  "UN Credibility At Stake"

Center-left Politiken editorialized (5/20):  "The problem with reforming the UN is that while the process is ongoing, it is crucial to maintain its credibility and legitimacy.  This is, in reality, perhaps impossible, especially as the U.S. is in the process of appointing John Bolton as its representative." 

IRELAND:  "Achieving Reform At The UN"

The center-left Irish Times commented (5/21):  "One of the most important issues in world politics this year is the proposed reform of the UN to be decided at a summit in September....  They are the most far-reaching reform proposals put to the organization since its foundation 60 years ago....  The most difficult issue politically is reform of the UNSC to bring it into line with contemporary international realities--a matter of high politics.  Considerable progress has been made, in the hope it can be agreed well before September so that the development and human rights issues can also be resolved....  More effective means to prevent conflict before it breaks out are also being discussed, as is a new approach towards protecting universally agreed and applicable human rights, which could get around the barrier of state sovereignty. Mr Annan's document insists quite correctly that such political and legal changes will prove to be ineffective unless they are accompanied by clear commitments to implement the eight Millennium Development Goals...the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, the achievement of universal primary education, empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating major diseases, environmental sustainability and long-term development. Detailed and concrete targets to achieve them were agreed and governments have made a solemn vow to renew them in September. With the diminution of the UN on the Iraq war, now is the time for public opinion to call in these pledges.”

SPAIN:  "The Heart Of The UN"

Left-of-center El Pais said (5/22):  "The reform of the UN proposed by Kofi Annan has two dimensions: on the one hand, the operating of the organization as such and of its legal and bureaucratic instruments, and on the other, the UNSC.  This second one is the most difficult, since it implies a new distribution of power in world's foremost institution....  There is no doubt that the world has changed in 60 years and this should be reflected.  That is, (the UNSC) should be more representative, without a decrease of its effectiveness, but also without generating new inequalities....  It would be ideal that the EU as such had one only seat, but neither London nor Paris are going to renounce their prerogatives, nor Berlin its aspirations.  The G-4 wants this question to be decided in July.  If it happens so, it may coincide with budget negotiations in the EU and be the object of unadvisable transactions.  The reform may also run aground if other Asian countries oppose the aspirations of Japan and India, some Latin American countries the aim of Brazil or if any African country requests the same."


CHINA:  "UN Reform Should Aim At Long-Term Interest"

Hu Xuan remarked in the official English-language China Daily (5/19):  “Brazil, Germany, India and Japan are pushing for seats on the UNSC....  Expansion of the UNSC is an issue concerning the future of the UN, the world's largest multilateral mechanism, and the immediate interests of every country....  Decisions should be made on the basis of extensive discussions from the member nations of the world organization....  Sharp schisms remain over such thorny questions as which nations deserve permanent seats, how far to expand the make-up of the UNSC and whether new permanent members should be granted veto power....  As a way out, the panel has suggested two alternative models as a basis for discussion by member states....  Both proposals aim at enlarging the UNSC to command greater respect, especially in the developing world, by bringing its membership closer to the realities of today's world....  Given the great divergence among member countries, any hasty decisions on the Council's expansion will only inflame rifts and thus would be detrimental to all member states and the process of the world body's reform....  The reform, which is expected to herald a new future of the UN, will not be easy....  All relevant parties should start from the overall and long-term interests of the world body, follow the stipulations and spirit of its Charter and carry out extensive and in-depth consultations, in a bid to push for a common consensus among member states to realign the UN to respond better to today's pressing challenges.”

"The U.S. Refuses To Give Japan A Veto: The Four Countries’ Proposal Is Not Practical"

He Hongze, Gao Yongcong and Qing Mu argued in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (5/18):  "The four countries, Japan, Germany, India and Brazil submitted their proposal on UNSC reform. But the U.S. responded that it won’t support them becoming permanent members unless they don’t want a veto.  The common opinion is that the four countries’ proposal asks for too much.  It not only asks for veto, but also sets a schedule.  The U.S. may be the biggest objector to the proposal.  It won’t allow more countries to have a veto.  The reason is that if the four countries have it, the U.S. may only gain one supporting vote from Japan, but the others will all use the veto to fight against the U.S.  The Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman said hurriedly putting forth a proposal on a reform plan will harm the UN reform process.”

JAPAN:  "Haste Makes Waste?"

Liberal Asahi observed (5/19):  "Apparently out of a sense of impatience with stalled talks on UN reform, a group of four aspirants for UNSC permanent membership, including Japan, have unveiled a draft resolution for a framework of UNSC expansion that increases permanent members from the current five to 11....  Considering UN Secretary General Annan's plan to complete procedures for UNSC expansion by September, these aspirants may feel there is not much time left for breaking the deadlocked UNSC expansion talks. But there are still many hurdles lying before the group of four. For example, the US is opposed to the granting of veto rights to the four candidates.  Although India, one of the candidates, insists on getting veto rights, Japan is not necessarily sticking to that issue, and is hopeful that India will become more flexible....  Among the G-4, Japan is the most eager to obtain permanent UNSC membership....  But if Japan goes a little too far trying to obtain votes, Tokyo will only get backlash from these countries....  Haste makes waste."    

"Permanent UNSC Membership: Make Utmost Effort In Short, Decisive Battle"

Liberal Mainichi declared (5/19):  "Four aspirants to become permanent UNSC members, Japan, Germany, India, and Brazil (G4) have formally presented a draft 'framework resolution' for UNSC reform....  Japan's bid for a permanent UNSC seat has reached its first critical stage....  However, Japan has steep hurdles to overcome. The adoption of the resolution will require the approval of at least two-thirds of UN members. In addition, the ratification of UN Charter amendments will need the approval of all five incumbent permanent UNSC members [P5]....  Furthermore, even the G4 disagree on whether the new UNSC permanent members should be given the veto power, which the current P5 enjoy, with India insisting on getting veto power, while Japan is flexible on this issue.  UNSC reform has been considered many times before within various frameworks. However, the interests of various states had clashed and the enlargement of the UNSC has never been brought to fruition. We would like to value the momentum for reform that has emerged as the United Nations celebrates the 60th year of its founding.  Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura has assembled Japanese ambassadors all over the world at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ordered them to lobby for support. However, this seems to have come a bit too late, considering the tight schedule. Moreover, Japan has not come up with effective measures to improve relations with China and the ROK, which are negative about Japan's permanent membership in the UNSC. This is an indication of lack of coherence in Japanese diplomacy.  Since the government has designated permanent UNSC membership as the 'most important task of the Koizumi cabinet,' according to Foreign Minister Machimura, and has dashed off to fight a short, decisive battle, it must do everything in its power to achieve this goal. The overall capacity of Koizumi diplomacy is being put to the test."


INDIA:  "Whither UN Reforms?"

An editorial in the centrist Assam Tribune read (5/20):  "There are speculations galore that Washington may actually oppose the entire expansion move because it would dilute American power....  On the broader question of U.S. support, Rice has sent conflicting signals. The Bush Administration’s ability to block the four nations is indirect....  If 128 Assembly members vote to allow them to join the UNSC, the UNSC members must accept that decision.  But then they must submit the revised charter to their governments for ratification. The U.S. could simply withhold the treaty from the Senate....  Nonetheless, the G-4 is plunging ahead with an ambitious worldwide lobbying campaign....  One reason the G-4 leaders may be campaigning on the other side of the world is that, in this effort, no nation can count on its neighbors. Argentina and Mexico oppose Brazil. Japan is facing serious opposition from North and South Korea as well as China....  Italy opposes Germany, while Pakistan is trying to block India.  And those two countries in opposition, along with South Korea, are leading a counter-lobby pushing a proposal that would not award new permanent seats to anyone. Still, the four nations have found distant friends....  As momentum slips to expand the UNSC, it remains to be seen as to whether the G-4 agrees to retrace its steps and first make the entry into the club....  All in all, given the U.S. reticence and reservations in having to part with its prestigious ?Veto’ power and also the echoing of similar sentiments by the other present permanent members of the UNSC, it would be in the fitness of things for the aspirants to rethink their strategy. It is now or never."

"Veto Issue" 

An editorial in the centrist Kolkata-based Telegraph read (5/20):  "The process of expanding the UNSC has finally generated momentum. The latest evidence of this is the new draft resolution moved by India, Germany, Japan and Brazil: the so-called G-4 countries. Although it is unlikely that the draft resolution will invite widespread support, the possibility of a larger UNSC is greater today than at any time since 1945....  If this happens, an amendment to the UN charter also needs to be made subsequently. The draft resolution, however, has already invited criticism. The U.S., easily the country with the greatest weight and influence in the UN system, has described the G-4 draft as a ?matter of concern’ and clearly indicated that it will not support UNSC expansion with veto powers. Even China has suggested that the draft resolution ?will fuel conflict and undermine the UNSC'....  There is, however, clearly a silver lining. Support for reforming the UN, especially for the expansion of the UNSC, is all pervasive. All the permanent members of the UNSC and a large section of the member states want the UNSC to reflect contemporary international realities. Thus, there could be considerable support for a resolution which will seek expansion without extending veto powers. The G-4 members probably realize this ground reality, but may be using the ?veto issue’ as a bargaining chip to finally settle for permanent membership without the right to block action.”

"Friend France Jogs Memory" 

Pranay Sharma wrote in the centrist Kolkata-based Telegraph (5/20):  "Amid its disappointment at Air-India’s preference for the American Boeing over the European Airbus, France has subtly reminded India that it was one of the first to back Delhi’s demand for a permanent seat on the UNSC.  The French move comes at a time when the US is undecided on whether to support the Indian bid. France and the US are vying for contracts for the 126 fighter aircraft India would soon be buying. The Americans are lobbying hard for India to buy their F-16 and F-18 fighters while the French are looking to sell Mirage 2000s....  The U.S. has made it clear that so far it has decided to support only Japan among the Group of Four nations for a permanent seat on the UNSC and not the other three--India, Germany and Brazil. France has not said anything on whether, unlike the other permanent members of the UNSC, it wants the additional members to have veto powers. India and most of the other hopefuls are reconciled to getting into the Security Council without veto power. Officially, however, Delhi still maintains that it will continue to lobby for veto power. The French government’s statement at this juncture, therefore, has special significance.”

"China Block For India's UNSC Stop"

Devirupa Mitra contended in the centrist Statesman (5/20):  "If the UNSC is the modern equivalent of King Arthur’s round table, then India’s aspiration to be part of the powerful club is its quest for the holy grail--near but yet so far....  Indeed, when the leaders of India, Japan, Brazil and Germany joined hands and posed for the cameras last year, it was clear that while they could wage an effective campaign together, they also inherited the ?difficult neighbors’ of their partners. During the recent visit of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Islamabad, Pakistan had indicated that it would be amenable to support Japan, alone. The American reaction has not been surprising, with only Japan among the G-4, having sent troops to Iraq, being openly supported. Now, there are credible reports that the USA will not accede to new members getting the veto right. For the four countries, getting a permanent seat on the UNSC is arguably among their greatest diplomatic challenges. Just how important this is was demonstrated by the fact that Tokyo witnessed a remarkable ?rally’ this week - of all the Japanese ambassadors across the world being given a pep talk by their foreign minister to gear up for the fight. The Indian foreign secretary, Shyam Saran, is in the USA on a three-day visit, lobbying the sole superpower to take a favorable stand. But the signs are ominous. India and the other three nations may still scrape their way to the UNSC but it will probably be only for a second-class seat.”

"G-4 Versus P-5"

The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer opined (5/19):  "By circulating their draft proposal on restructuring the UNSC by inducting six new permanent members with full powers, including the power to veto resolutions, and four alternating members...though the draft does not mention the G-4 members by name, the purpose is evident:  To take the campaign for reform and democratization of the world body to the next step of collective action....  There is, however, a catch which, given the obduracy of the U.S., China and Russia and their reluctance to open the doors of the UNSC to new permanent members, will transform into an obstacle....  A General Assembly resolution is not enforceable and those members of the P-5 who are opposed to sharing the UN's high table that they have monopolized till now, can be expected to invoke this clause....  Skilful diplomacy demands the avoidance of tough-talking by the obvious front-runners for permanent membership of the UNSC, namely the G-4 countries. But perhaps it will be in order to do some plain-speaking with the P-5. The attitude of the U.S. and China, especially, is abhorrent, not least because it militates against all norms of democracy and equality without which the UNSC cannot claim to represent, with any degree of legitimacy, the aspirations and concerns of the 191 countries whose interests the UN is supposed to protect....  Meanwhile, a small window of conciliation has been kept open by the G-4 [excluding the veto right]....  For the moment, let us not get distracted by that possible concession. India should persist with its stand that true democratization of the UNSC can happen only by giving the veto power to those who deserve it, and the G-4 members definitely do qualify to share this power with the existing P-5.”

"No Fear Of Flying"

An editorial in the centrist Indian Express read (5/19):  "The G-4 group of nations--India, Germany, Japan and Brazil--has circulated a draft UN resolution that envisages veto powers for newly-inducted UNSC Members. While opposition from the US and China, for very different reasons, makes the prospects of this resolution uncertain, it is nevertheless an imaginative move. It is a cardinal rule of international politics that no entrenched order gives up power willingly; rather power has to be claimed. If the G-4 can mobilize significant support for their cause, they will have sent a strong message about the illegitimacy of the current distribution of vetoes in the Council....  Even if they do not succeed this time around, they will have improved their bargaining position in the future.  It could be argued that there is no reason for India to expend political capital on membership of an institution that is moribund and on terms no one will accept. Both assumptions are mistaken. There is no reason to suppose that U.S. hegemony in its current form will last for ever and the UN may well emerge as a forum where balance of power politics is carried out. Ironically, the vehemence with which the U.S. and China defended their turf suggests that they do take the UN seriously.  Even if India’s aspirations for a permanent seat with a veto are not ultimately accepted, it will gain tremendously from actively campaigning for it. Second, India will have demonstrated that it is capable of serious proactive diplomacy around the world....  Compromise will be all the more honorable for having come after expending effort, rather than meekly giving in. If India is to be a great power, it will have to learn the lesson that the fear of failure should not hold you down right from the start.”

"India Rushes To Enter Elite Club"

K.P. Nayar stated in the centrist Kolkata-based Telegraph (5/18):  "India, acting in concert with Japan, Germany and Brazil...took the bold, but risky, step of circulating a draft UN resolution, which, if adopted, could see all four countries elected permanent members of the UNSC by the middle of July. The resolution will mean that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will have his task cut out for him when he visits the White House....  U.S. support is vital for India to achieve that goal. The draft resolution, circulated among UN’s 191 members...seeks to expand membership of the UNSC to 25 from its present strength of 15. The draft does not mention India or the other three aspirants for permanent seats by name. Instead, it stipulates that two of the new permanent members would be from Asia, two from Africa and one each from the Latin America/Caribbean area and the geographical region known in the UN as ?Western Europe and Other States’, which includes diverse entities such as Israel. The draft seeks to increase the UNSC's non-permanent membership by four--one each from Africa, Asia, East Europe and Latin America/Caribbean. It says new permanent members should have ?the same responsibilities and obligations as the current permanent members’, implying that they too should have the veto power....  But diplomats at the UN...said this provision was included in the resolution at India’s insistence. Japan, Brazil and Germany are willing to compromise on the demand for veto power although they have not publicly said so … The Bush Administration had informed aspiring permanent members, such as India, that it would not support their candidatures unless they gave up their insistence of having the veto....  The surprise move by G4 to advance their case for UNSC restructuring and complete the entire process before heads of state and government arrive here in September for the UN’s 60th anniversary, put them on a collision course with China....  As of now, the G4 is unfazed by Beijing’s opposition to their draft."

"UN Realities" 

The centrist Times Of India concluded (5/17):  "Judging by what its officials have been saying on background as well as in public forums, the U.S. doesn’t want India to become a permanent member of the UNSC.  It ?unambiguously” supports Japan’s demand....  When it comes to India’s case, the U.S. position is to link the issue with broad UN reform....  And as far as giving the veto power to any new permanent member, the Americans have ruled out the possibility, a stance that the other four current members of the council happily support.  It is clever policy for the Americans to try to create a rift among the four nations- Japan, Germany, Brazil and India-that are carrying out a global campaign to change the patently unfair and outdated global structure reflected in the composition of the present UNSC....  The group of four must not only stand firm on permanent membership with veto powers, it should now expand by inviting at least one nation from Africa, perhaps South Africa, to join it. American worries about the council becoming paralyzed with 10 veto-empowered nations are overblown.  With the presence of the other four existing veto-wielding members, the U.S. has been able to do exactly what it has wanted in pursuit of its global interests; the addition of five more will make little difference.  A united stand for veto-wielding council membership by a group of important new powers on the global stage might seem fruitless in the face of US opposition, but it serves notice of an emerging reality in the world.”

"Non-Veto Seat Is Meaningless" 

Narendra Singh Sarila argued in the centrist Hindu (5/17):  "There are three good reasons why India should refuse to become a permanent member of the UNSC without veto power.  First, the induction of non-veto-holding permanent members in the council will do nothing to change the present dispensation under which power and decision-making is concentrated in the hands of the five veto-holding members of the council--Non-veto holding members--ordinary or permanent--can make no impression unless they have the means to block decisions.  On disputed issues of importance, the five veto-holding members usually first attempt to settle them by horse-trading outside the council....  Second, being a permanent member would involve us in many more international disputes of peripheral interest to us-without the redeeming feature of having the lever of the veto either to make a serious contribution to their solution or to protect our interests against those whose corns we tread on....  We will be unable to go along with all American prescriptions. On the other hand, it is in our national interest to limit our disagreements and particularly to avoid public recrimination with the U.S. at this juncture....  Third, our agreeing to the system of permanent membership with the veto will mean perpetuating the exclusive veto powers of the present five permanent members for decades to come....  Our government has taken a principled stand that we are not interested in permanent membership of the UNSC without the veto.  I am distressed to see that many of our leading newspapers have more or less fallen in with Kofi Annan’s views expressed in New Delhi recently....  The U.S. alone, among the five veto-holding members, is secure enough to accept the induction of four more veto-wielding permanent members.  It is confident that it can prevail on vital issues with our without the support of the UNSC.  However, it does not want to rock the boat for the time being....  If we stay out and can persuade the other G-4 countries--Japan, Germany and Brazil--to do likewise, it is possible that the U.S. will yield to our demand in the not too distant a future....  It may accept India and Brazil since a certain parallelism is developing in the policies of these countries and the U.S. Others will then follow.  We should not only reject the present proposal but give a lead to other G-4 countries to remain firm.  Even if the above countries succumb--and there is less chance of their doing so if India stands firm-we must stick to our guns. A calculated risk to stand alone can often be a winner in diplomacy.”

PAKISTAN:  "The U.S. Warning"

The centrist national English-language News opined (5/17):  "The warning by American officials to India, Japan, Germany and Brazil--states bidding to join the UNSC--that they must not seek veto power as a condition to win the support of the U.S. for their aspirations is indicative of the shape of the things to come.  According to American officials and diplomats, as quoted by The New York Times, the veto power to new members might paralyze the UNSC.  Although the U.S. forewarning is not above and beyond the two models that the UN Secretary General Kofi Anan has presented for UNSC reform, it seems that Washington by issuing such statements is trying to assert that no change in geo-political decision-making is possible without its nod....  Such mentality and pressures will only render the UNSC reform process superficial and its outcomes cosmetic.  Washington's persistence in maintaining authoritarianism in the anarchic international system counters its own slogan of promoting democracy around the world.  In fact, the need of the hour is the rest of the world's united voice against the authoritarian powers vested in the 'big five' after the WW-II.  The international system must be made democratic and equitable.  The international community must resist any reform that upholds elitism in international politics."


ARGENTINA:  "More Realism Required In Foreign Policy"

Former Foreign Minister Adalberto Rodriguez Giavarini opined in leading Clarin (5/23):  "The latest spat between one sector of the Argentine diplomacy and Brazil not only partially clouded the delayed, although necessary, public debate about the inclusion of the Malvinas Islands in the EU Constitution, but it also clouded the historic Argentine disagreement with the Brazilian claim to represent the region when the UNSC is reformed....  The debate on the UN reform goes beyond the discussion about the UNSC composition. This is why it is advisable to encourage the construction of a new realistic multilateralism accepting the new post-Iraq international scenario based on the principles agreed to by the international community so as to promote the reforms aimed at obtaining a more democratic UN that will benefit all humanity."

"Argentina, Brazil, And The UN"

Juan Gabriel Tokatlian asserted in daily-of-record La Nacion (5/19):  "It is just as mistaken to sustain that Argentina has an anti-Brazilian stance in relation to the eventual reform of the UNSC as it is erroneous to think that Brazil expresses an imperial ambition on this issue....  On the eve of the UN 60th anniversary, the UNSC reform issue has resurfaced. Although it is highly improbable that this reform will be approved....  It is understood that an increase of its members is acceptable because the last modification was made in 1963....  Likewise, it appears clear that any modification will not imply granting the eventual new permanent members the power to veto....  On the one hand, the five permanent members have diverging projects and interests. The U.S. prefers two permanent seats for Japan...and Germany....  On the other hand, the potential candidates to a new Security Council are finding, to some extent, crossed vetoes. Japan's aspiration is not generating much backing in South East Asia: China and the two Koreas in particular vehemently reject Tokyo's arrival....  Germany's candidacy has been responded to by the postulation of Italy, which, together with Spain and Canada, does not back a permanent seat for Berlin. India and Pakistan oppose each other,,,,  In this context, it is almost natural for South America to spawn similar situations....  In our area, Brazil has been more effective in obtaining tacit backing and in mustering vocal support....  Buenos Aires' stance on Security Council reform is in line with its own tradition and with its present condition: Argentina has always sought a certain degree of influence in the international system and has been gradually losing attributes of power over the last three decades....  The mistake is to believe that this is a circumstantial and unilateral thesis of an anti-Brazilian nature.  Brazil is not our rival....  We do not agree on the issue of UNSC reform but we are partners on another broad range of regional and global issues. That is what it is about in the end: the creation of a realistic and vigorous bilateral association."

BRAZIL:  "The United Nations And The United States"

Former Ambassador in the U.S. Rubens Barbosa wondered in center-right O Estado de S. Paulo (5/24):  “What is behind the nomination of someone who is greatly contrary to the UN’s practices, actions and philosophy to be the representative of the nation that is its most important member in political, financial and military terms?  A benevolent interpretation might lead to the conclusion that President Bush would like to gradually abandon the neoconservative, militarist and radical hard line represented among others by John Bolton, and start with Condoleezza Rice a less unilateral policy in international relations....  The reality is different. The intransigent defense Bush has publicly made of the nomination, by insisting that Bolton is the necessary person for the UN at a moment when the organization’s reform is being discussed, shows the White House’s clear strategy: to occupy a forum of great visibility and repercussion to disseminate and defend the neoconservative agenda. It is difficult to believe that a personality like that of John Bolton will accept the enlargement of the UNSC with the inclusion of six new permanent members, giving greater representativeness and efficiency to the organization’s activity, when such a change will make the decision making process more complex for the U.S.”

GUATEMALA:  "The UN, The Violator"

Edgar Rosales contended in conservative Siglo Veintiuno (5/20):  "During the management of Koffi Annan the UN has fallen to the lowest level of prestige....  The Food-for-Oil scandal in Iraq and the incompetency of the UNSC...are facts explicable by the ineptitude never seen before in a Secretary General....  That the UN be revealed as a violator of its highest contribution to humanity, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...with freedom of expression...cuts the soul....  While [Taiwan] isn’t a member of 'the Organization' (sounds like the mafia, no?) the press cannot have access. Where remains then the universality of its principles? The world is left stupefied....  To restrict the work of journalists we see in our own matter of third-world governments...but the indignation would be the same if it were Cubans, Iraqis or Guatemalans....  A dictatorial world, whose fundamental values are interfering, incoherence, and now, immorality.  No more Koffi, please.”


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