Monday, November 8, 2010

Obama to back India for Permanent Seat on UNSC

NYTimes story here.  Comments below the fold.

In terms of why this might not surprise us, see these previous posts (here and here).  This is what bargaining looks like.

As for what it would mean if India actually gained a permanent seat, I can't help but wonder if it's mostly important for symbolic reasons.  Others in this field know far more about the UN than I do, so I don't want to push too hard on this.  But it seems to me that with each permanent member having veto power, there's already very little incentive to take anything controversial to the UNSC.  Is the set of proposals that would otherwise have been brought to the UNSC and approved by the 5 current members but which India would veto substantial in size?

Add in the fact that it's unlikely that if new members are to be added, only one will be added.  Brazil would certainly expect a seat as well, at bare minimum.  Which would only further decrease the chances that any one seeks UNSC approval on anything.

But I'm sure there's a better argument to be made than I'm currently imagining for why it would matter in more than a symbolic sense if the UNSC were expanded.

UPDATE: Erik Voeten at MonkeyCage agrees this is unlikely to have any practical consequences.

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