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United Nations Security Council This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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It has broad, sweeping power. It is at the center of world politics. It has the power to determine the fate of entire regions. It is the United Nations Security Council.

The stated purpose of the United Nations Security Council is to maintain international peace and security. It has 15 members, ten of which are elected to two-year terms by the General Assembly. There are five permanent members: the United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and China. Simply put, the position of these countries as permanent members is a sham.

These five countries symbolize the politics of the past and represent the power of bygone days. To be sure, all are still major players in world politics, but why are they included when other deserving countries aren't? Take, for example, Brazil. With a population of 182 million, it is the most populous country in Latin America and is the fifth largest in the world. Why is it not a permanent member? All of Latin America is ignored under this current arrangement.

The only way countries have influence is if they are elected to the Council. Even then, they lack the ability to veto because only permanent members possess that power.

India is another country that deserves to be a permanent member. With a population of more than one billion, it is the second most populous country in the world. It is the fastest-growing country, too, and will overtake China as the most populated country by 2035. Why is it not a permanent member of the Security Council?

Egypt also deserves permanent status. With a population of almost 75 million, it has more people than France or the United Kingdom. Its involvement in affairs in the Middle East would certainly seem to give it the right to be on the Council. What makes it undeserving?

The question really is, what makes a country deserving of becoming a permanent member? Is it population? Influence? Necessity? Military power?

It would seem that if it were any of these criteria, or a combination, the current list would change. There are countries with larger populations and more influence. There are countries that need the position more. Military power would seem to be a non-issue if the purpose of the Council is to maintain peace. Countries like India, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt and Indonesia are deserving of permanent membership. The current composition of the Council is just a snapshot of world power 50 years ago.

So what should be done? One solution would be that no country should have permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council. To give such power to just a few countries (when so many deserve it) is a farce. The entire council should be elected by the General Assembly. Not only would this make the council a better reflection of politics today, it would level the playing field within the Council. Without the power of automatic veto, powerful countries like the United States and France would be forced to (gasp!) actually be diplomatic. They would be forced to find common ground. It would make the process of the Security Council fair.

The only way the Security Council will be effective is if it functions in a fair manner. Giving some members of the Council more power than others defeats this aim.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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