The Populist Challenge and the Future of the United Nations Security Council
(2020) 35 Maryland Journal of International Law (forthcoming)
12 Pages Posted: 27 May 2020
Date Written: May 26, 2020
This article examines the potential impact of the populist challenge to International Law on the United Nations Security Council. The Security Council is often criticized as ineffective, unprincipled, and an anachronistic mechanism that reflects a power balance from the past, rather than the realities of today. The article argues that the rise of populism is likely to further erode the Security Council’s legitimacy and efficacy. At the same time, however, it emphasizes the need for greater nuance in the way that both the phenomenon of populism, as well as the relationship between national and international concerns, are understood and framed. Taking these complexities into account, the Article explores three scenarios that could result from an escalating crisis of Security Council legitimacy. The first involves reform and renewal. The second comprises retreat and realignment. The third encompasses reimagining the international peace and security architecture and creating something new.
Keywords: Populism, international law, United Nations Security Council
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