Resurgent Cold War and U.N. Security Council Reform Opportunities

46 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2020

See all articles by Joseph M. Isanga

Joseph M. Isanga

Concordia University School of Law

Date Written: June 5, 2020


The United Nations (UN) and its Security Council (SC), in particular, have been persistently condemned for lack of effectiveness. Many past reform efforts have been fruitless because of the entrenched national interests of the permanent SC members. But as long as the world consists of nation-states, there is no alternative to trying to improve the UN as a multilateral platform. For reform effort to succeed, the global community has to look for opportunities. This Article argues that it is now opportune for the permanent members of the United Nations — the United States, Russia, China, France and Great Britain — to accept changes to the Charter of the United Nations. The opportunities are presented by irreversible changes in global economic, geopolitical and military realignments that have dramatically increased the international leverage of non-permanent SC members such as Germany, Japan, Brazil, India, South Africa. These changes can no longer be ignored, minimized or regarded as inconsequential by the permanent SC members. This Article urges for a re-invigorated reform effort for a more inclusive and accountable — and thus more effective — SC. To those ends, the Article argues for the expansion of number of SC permanent members to include representatives from regions — such as Africa, Latin America and Asia that have either been completely or mostly excluded by the over 70 year-old SC permanent membership. Further, this Article argues for the International Court of Justice in reviewing of SC resolutions as well a UN General Assembly override vote in cases of SC logjam, indecision or inaction. The Article also explores possible reforms to the veto powers of the permanent members of the SC.

Keywords: United Nations, Security Council, Reform, Permanent members, International Court of Justice, Resolutions, Veto, United States, China, Russia, France, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, India, Brazil, South Africa

Suggested Citation

Isanga, Joseph, Resurgent Cold War and U.N. Security Council Reform Opportunities (June 5, 2020). Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 47, No. 2, 2020, Available at SSRN:

Joseph Isanga (Contact Author)

Concordia University School of Law ( email )

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208-639-5411 (Phone)

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