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UN Security Council Reform: Veto Right for Japan

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis  November 16, 2007


Orientalist, Historian, Political Scientist, Dr. Megalommatis, 50, is the author of 12 books, dozens of scholarly articles, hundreds of encyclopedia entries, and thousands of articles. He speaks, reads and writes more than 15, modern and ancient, languages. He refuted Greek nationalism, supported Martin Bernal’s Black Athena, and rejected the Greco-Romano-centric version of History. He pleaded for the European History by J. B. Duroselle, and defended the rights of the Turkish, Pomak, Macedonian, Vlachian, Arvanitic, Latin Catholic, and Jewish minorities of Greece. Born Christian Orthodox, he adhered to Islam when 36, devoted to ideas of Muhyieldin Ibn al Arabi.

Greek citizen of Turkish origin, Prof. Megalommatis studied and/or worked in Turkey, Greece, France, England, Belgium, Germany, Syria, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Russia, and carried out research trips throughout the Middle East, Northeastern Africa and Central Asia. His career extended from Research & Education, Journalism, Publications, Photography, and Translation to Website Development, Human Rights Advocacy, Marketing, Sales & Brokerage. He traveled in more than 80 countries in 5 continents. He defends the Right of Aramaeans, Oromos, Ogadenis, Sidamas, Berbers, Darfuris, and Bejas to National Independence, demands international recognition for Kosovo, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and Transnistria, calls for National Unity in Somalia, and denounces Islamic Terrorism.Bottom of Form 1


Following several successive deliberations, the United Nations Member States managed to pave the way of the forthcoming negotiations, as regards the UN Security Council reform, a subject that has been at the epicenter of the international community over the past three years.

After the 192-member forum wrapped up a three-day debate on the issue, Srgjan Kerim, the General Assembly President, in his closing remarks made on November 14th, said that "the debate demonstrated the clear commitment of Member States to embark upon a new stage that offers the prospect of achieving the ultimate goal of comprehensive reform of the Security Council" (

Mr. Kerim specified that nearly half of the UN’s membership had taken part in “a frank and effective dialogue” in which they all agreed on the importance and urgency of Council reform, despite the fact that they still differed on the precise formula for change and the process for achieving it.

The Macedonian UN General Assembly President added that the process “will require our combined efforts based on pragmatism, political courage, mutual faith and respect, as well as flexibility and the political will to reach the broadest possible agreement”. Furthermore, he warned that the world “cannot afford to undermine this collective political momentum by calculating to imbibe it with hesitation in order to derail or disrupt the process.”

Quite fittingly, the General Assembly President clarified that the UN member states should be guided – in the forthcoming intergovernmental negotiations on the issue – by a series of principles that have emerged during the long-running debate on Council reform.

According to the UN General Assembly President, those elements include:

1. the Council reform must go hand-in-hand with transforming the wider UN system,

2. the negotiations must be undertaken in good faith, and based on mutual respect,

3. the reform must “accommodate the interests and concerns of all sides, especially those who are currently underrepresented”, and

4. the process must always be transparent and objective.

Reforming the UN will not be an easy task. We cannot be sure whether it is going to be on the right track or not; we can only have the hope that the universal values solemnly declared in the Charter of the UN will apply to all the decision making procedures and approaches in an unbiased way.

In a series of articles, we intend to come up with suggestions for a more representative (as the UN General Assembly President wished) UN Security Council and a more representative General Assembly (never forget: "Council reform must go hand-in-hand with transforming the wider UN system").

However, we will not limit our suggestions to the representativeness issue, although it is certainly of primordial importance. We will base our suggestions on issues of seminal significance about which the diplomatic UN General Assembly President was rather taciturn - diplomatically.

We actually do not believe that the world needs an international body that is not fully committed to Humanism, Democracy, Equality, Equity, Justice, Freedom and Respect of Human Rights. It is not Stability or Security that only matters; Stability and Security in an undemocratic world of Human Rights' violations matter not.

We are not alone in believing in this, and one has to bear in mind that the UN as organization, as its unsuccessful precedent, the League of Nations, has been precisely conceived as a threshold to the Era of Human, Free, Democratic and Righteous Societies of Independent Nations.

This must be always reminded to any involved part, as we have not advanced much since 1945. Certainly, many totalitarian realms became successful democratic nations, but the world's current conditions are a far cry from the ideals fervently incorporated in the Charter of the UN.

We will start with a focus on current weaknesses and deficiencies ensuing from the interim historical developments.

UN Structure: Unreliable and Obsolete, due to Historical Developments

Most of the countries – member states agree that the current UN crisis, magnificently highlighted by America and its allies embarking on the Iraq war through overt circumvention of the Security Council, proved the UN unreliability and obsoleteness in the most spectacular way.

However, this is only normal for an organization that was conceived during the WW II and materialized at its aftermath. As theoretical conception and as political materialization, the UN represented in 1945 a completely different international landscape.

Germany, Italy and Japan: Out of the UN Security Council

At the moment of its inception, the UN was the seal of the Allied victory over Germany, Italy and Japan. Necessarily, these three countries had to be deprived from the privileges offered to the five (5) leaders of the Anti-Nazi Victory, namely the US, the USSR, the UK, China, and France!

Turkey and the entire Islamic World: Out of the UN Security Council

On the other hand, as continuation and extension of the colonial policies of France and England, Turkey and Iran – although either neutral or pro-Allied – could not be accepted within the elite of the elite, the Security Council. The entire Islamic World was thus left out of the UN Security Council, despite the fact that it was not among the defeated nations, whereas at the same time it represented slightly more than 20% of the world's entire population.

As a matter of fact, historically viewed, Turkey (as Ottoman Empire) and (imperial) Iran had been – for many long centuries – the main political institutions of the Islamic World, and at the same time the Ottoman Empire and the Safevid and Qadjar Empires of Persia were the main target of the aggression of the European Christian and Colonial powers, France and England.

France and England orchestrated Russia's numerous wars against the Ottoman Empire and Persia, and even machinated fratricidal wars between the Sunni Ottomans and the Shia Persians. Following their colonial policies and through unprecedented bloodshed in Northern and Eastern Africa, the Middle East, Caucasus, Central Asia, and India, France and England had driven their two enemies to quasi-insignificance at the aftermath of WW I.

Imperial Persia was kicked out of India, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Caucasus (only to be replaced by Russia and England!), whereas Turkey was pushed out of Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia, Mecca, and all the coastlands of the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa (only to be replaced by France, Italy, and England!).

By 1920, all the territories abducted by France, England and Russia were annexed lands, colonial property, or under 'mandate' by the League of Nations. Within this context, England, Soviet Union, and France insisted in order not to extend an important status to either Turkey or Iran in 1945, although both countries had not cooperated with Nazi Germany, remaining neutral.

Colonized India: Out of the UN Security Council

Even worse, colonized India was not even a state by 1945, following almost two (2) centuries of British colonialism. The magnificence of the Mogul empire was a matter of History.

The Hispanophone and Lusophone worlds: Out of the UN Security Council

Dictatorial and friendly to Nazi Germany – although neutral – Spain and Portugal could not have been offered veto privileges, notwithstanding their great colonial past; in addition, the Latin American states did not constitute in 1945 a real dimension of the world politics or the global economy, even if we refer to Mexico and Brazil.

So, the Hispanophone and the Lusophone worlds were left out of the Security Council of the then newly born institution.

1945 Most Outrageous Decision: France with UN Security Council Veto!

Last but not least, France was accepted in the privileged Veto Club! This did not happen without some difficulty of course; so incredible it was. We know for sure that Stalin was rather opposite, whereas Roosevelt never took the French seriously. Verbally pompous (involving references to Joan of Arc, Le Roi Soleil, and … Napoleon), economically insignificant (not among the world's top 5 economies in 1939), and militarily irrelevant, France collapsed instantly in 1940, and was occupied for four (4) long years, presenting an unpleasant reality to the Allied armies because of its double-faceted, Janus-like, political existence.

The Vichy government collaborated openly with Hitler and the German occupying forces, whereas the imaginative and illusionist Charles de Gaulle, a modern replica of Joan of Arc or eventually the Don Quixote of the Never-Acquired-Grandeur, expressed the French anti-Nazi commitment. Yet, tiny Greece's commitment to the Allied Victory was greater than France's!

Why accept such a country at the same level as Soviet Union, a country that sacrificed in WW II no less than 20 million people? At the end, France owes its position to Churchill, who must have regretted for it later, and to the eventual preference for an odd number of Veto powers!

UN Security Council in 2007: in Striking Contrast with Our Global World

Today, the Soviet Union has disappeared, and along with it the entire world of the Cold War that followed WW II. Furthermore, the colonial structures have collapsed, and the old colonial powers, mainly France and England, have been reduced to second class economic powers. In terms of GDP (purchasing power parity) they rank among the world's nations 7th and 6th respectively! They still exercise colonial power but very limited of scale, if compared to that they enjoyed 65 years ago; their colonial influence is exercised indirectly, at all levels, economy, politics, education, culture, and relies largely on pre-existing structures.

Before proceeding through some striking examples of comparison, we should underscore the historical argument, which is not less convincing! A period of 65 years is a very long period of time anytime anywhere, especially after the Renaissance times.

A. Compare Europe 1930 and 1865: Austria – Hungary, Ottoman Empire and Tsarist Russia, the paragons of Central and Eastern Europe in 1865, had disappeared by 1930, whereas the German 'superpower' had risen meanwhile.

B. Compare Europe 1810 and 1870: the French in the suburbs of Moscow, and the Germans in Versailles make a very striking example in this regard.

C. Compare Europe 1800 and 1735: numerous European monarchies had meanwhile been replaced by revolutionaries!

D. Compare the Middle East 1518 and 1453: from a small regional Anatolian – Balkan power, the Ottomans had managed to unify the Balkans, the entire Middle East, and vast parts of Northeastern Africa!

If we transpose the issue on the technological – scientific field on which the social lifestyle and rhythm rely, we understand more easily that 65 years signify a very long period of time, especially if we refer to times after the Industrial Revolution!

In the same way one could not live in 1860 with the rhythm of the daily life of 1785, using diligence stagecoach at the times of the railway, one cannot afford to live today, using typing machines (as in 1945) at the times of PC and Internet.

In the same way one cannot live today without a television set, without a washing machine, without a video set, without a DVD player, without a portable computer, and without a mobile telephone, appliances and handsets that were all unknown to all the people of the world in 1940, we cannot afford to accept that France can possibly represent one fifth (1/5) of our world!

Considerable global political differences between 1945 and 2007

1. China – a giant compared to UK, France and Russia

China is today permanent member of the Security Council as it was in 1945. Although China is the world’s most populous country, and its economy is currently booming, there is a great gap between that vast country and the developed world. To mention just one indication, China is not a member state of the G-8, where belong countries like Canada with less than 3% of China’s population.

In 1945, China’s importance hinged on its sizeable population, vast territory, and the fact that, prior to the Japanese occupation of its eastern, coastal provinces, China had never been colonized – contrarily to India.

Nowadays, China’s significance depends also on its extremely large share of the World economy. It is quite indicative that China’s GDP ranks second only to that of the US, totaling no less than US $ 10.2 trillion (est. for 2006 – all the economic figures mentioned herewith are taken from CIA’s World Factbook, as of November 16th 2007).

If we limit the comparison within the Security Council permanent members’ circle, the GDP of France and England combined represent less than 38% of China's GDP.

As a matter of fact, China dwarfs Russia, England and France, three out of the rest four UN Security Council permanent members, as the combined three countries’ GDP amounts to slightly more than 50% of China’s GDP!

With the US GDP totaling US $13 trillion, one – considering the UN Security Council as a possible reflection of the global economy – gets the impression that there is no need for the presence of England, France and Russia in the Security Council, as these three members' GDP combined amounts to less than 18% of the total! It seems as if the world is divided into two important halves, the US and China, with America slightly larger.

The conclusion is in this regard very simple, namely that it is very misrepresentative indeed to offer same rights to the three UN Security Council dwarfs as to the US and China.

However, the UN is made out of 192 member states, and we should extend comparisons and analyses wider.

2. Japan

Japan has risen to great economic importance, being the world's second economy, and third largest GDP!

Humiliated in 1945 after the explosion of two atomic bombs, the emperor Hirohito looked impotent next to Mac Arthur in that old picture; however, he survived to see Japan becoming the ‘free world's 2nd economy’. With the collapse of the Soviet block, and despite China's unorthodox way to liberalization, Japan retained its importance, despite ten (10) years of economic depression that have taken an end. World leader in technology and research, Japan is the world's fourth exporter, Japan is the world's no2 in terms of Foreign Exchange and Gold reserves, and the world's no3 when it comes to the number of Internet users.

Japan is still kept outside the Veto Club although its population (127 million people) is larger than that of France and England combined (123 million people), and Japan’s GDP (US $ 4.2 trillion) is larger than that of the two European veto ‘powers’ combined (US $ 3.8 trillion).

In today’s world, if Japan is left outside the Veto Club, then both France and England have no real right to be there either! In a forthcoming article, we will examine further cases of countries deserving UN Veto Right, and more particularly India, Germany, and Italy.

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