The Veto in the United Nations Security Council

Faculty Mentor(s)

Anna Bonnema, Hope College
Dr. Wayne Brouwer, Hope College
Dr. Charles Green, Hope College
Amy Otis-DeGrau, Hope College
Yolanda Vega, Hope College
Professor John Yelding, Hope College

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The United Nations (UN) was established after the Second World War to promote world peace and welfare. With six principal organs, the UN aims to facilitate cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and the achievement of world peace. The 15-member Security Council exercises significant power within the UN, especially the five permanent members (Britain, China, France, Russia, and the U.S.) who have veto power over all resolutions. This power was granted after World War II to make sure that Japan and Germany did not retaliate against UN decisions. However, some believe that the permanent members have been too likely to exercise their veto on behalf of their own self-interest. It has been more than seven decades since the war, and this veto has been repeatedly responsible for the failure of the UN to live up to its purposes. Furthermore, in an era in which numerous countries are developing rapidly, it is no longer tenable for five countries to have the right to veto anything they want.

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