Can the US win the Security Council Vote?

Of course, we all know about the veto threats, and clearly Our Leader spent some time last night getting America ready for the idea of ignoring the Security Council in order to protect America from the dreadful threat of international drone aircraft armed with nuclear anthrax. Yet there can be little doubt that it would be much better for the Bushistas if they could actually win that vote, even if France, Russia, or China vetoes. One hastens to note that none of these have actually explicitly said they would veto.

As it stands now for: US, UK of course. Spain

Against: France, China (possible abstention) Russia (probably), Germany, Syria

Bulgaria, legendary breeding ground for KGB thugs, for. Already beaming with joy over its recent advances in trade status as regards America. Bought and paid for, FOB.

Pakistan(?) probably against, but not a solid bet. Buyable and not subject to the rigors of public opinion, not being saddled by the democratic structures we are so eager to bestow upon Iraq.

Mexico - polls say the people are solidly opposed. But as Porfirio Diaz once remarked, “Pity poor Mexico! So far from God and so close to the USA.” Could be done.

Chile - doable.

Angola, Cameroon, Guinea - One of those ironies of history, where very small nations suddenly have enormous influence, and are enormously influenced. National basket cases, especially Angola, a playground for brutal politics and exotic diseases. Man in the street likely niether knows nor cares about Iraq. Desperately in need of foreign aid.

Now theres the thing: it would be hard to fault the leadership of these for falling in line with the USA even if that is a distasteful prospect. I would dearly love to believe that I am a citizen of a great and magnanimous nation, one that offers aid for purely humanitarian motives, and far too noble to use such as a threat against the helpless and hungry. I harbor no such illusions. They are eminently buyable, and I cannot blame them. (One has to wonder if this might not have some bearing on Our Leaders remarkable conversion into an anti-Aids activist.)

So it could be done. Barely. If America gets all the buyable nations, we will go ahead with the vote, if we know the outcome in advance. Then GeeDubya can say “The UN was behind us, but France and/or (Germany, Russia, China) backstabbed our noble cause.” I think Putin would rather nail his pecker to a tree than deal himself out of the post-war oil goodies, probably abstain as will China.

And so to war.

Good analysis, elucidator. Looks like a 50-50 bet to me.

I think, unfortunately, that you got it exactly right.

I sooooo wish that I could bust your chops about it, though. :wink:

Since we’re all in such cosy agreement, can we agree that scrapping the veto and introducing decision-by-2/3rds-majority is a good idea?

Stephen Pollard of the Daily Telegraph wrote

I have trouble believing Pollard’s “well-connected advisors.” Still, think of the impact of this story. Should Security Council members vote against war with Iraq, if their vote won’t prevent the war and might destroy the UN?

I’m still an asshole. I just happen to be right.

The US would never give up its veto. Dubya would become eloquent first.

Normally I’d agree but I think we’re now beginning to move into uncharted waters. I’m just going to briefly outline a changing landscape that I’d consider important.

I do believe a sentiment has grown in recent times – post Cold War – that the world is out of balance with one power so dominant, that this environment is, potentially, more dangerous, in its own way, than the USSR/USA MAD theory (I’d imagine the Cheney view of the world scares the hell out of any European politician). A lot of things have kind of come together in recent years, much centring on dialogue surrounding the Kyoto process.

In addition, one can trace the new-found (in relative terms) Arab unity to Gulf War1 and the shafting Bush 41 gave them after promising so much for their support. This extends now to a new Muslim unity, or at least a very lively talking shop. Also, Europe has (finally) begun to utilise some of its economic strength in various diplomatic guises and initiatives.

Hints of a new atmosphere can be seen, IMHO, in areas such as Kyoto, the reception the US and Israel got at the ant-Slavery Conference, that the US got at the last global warming summit and the snub of appointing Libya to the Human Rights position – boo’s, slow hand-clapping, walkouts, snub’s, etc; It’s a kind of ‘world community’ reaction that we haven’t seen before, far less so coordinated and ‘like-minded’.

The developing world has always had its problems / resentments with the way the US ties its aid so closely with contracting, military deployment and the sometimes overly intrusive terms of the US controlled World Bank. This new EU encouraged atmosphere offers developing countries a new angle.

Quite whether the current position within the Security Council – and especially the permanent members – will reflect that growing sentiment is unclear (to me). We might still be where we were (buying your support) or some may feel its time to take (what they see as) a principled stand against the ugly neighbour.

Fwiw, I rather suspect it’s too early for Europe to take on the US (and call the Bush bluff on the UN as an organisation). But it will come. In time.

On the above debate, I find myself wondering what is the record for the number of permanent member - and council - abstentions ?

Plus, ‘scrapping the veto’ would turn Security Council actions into parliamentary compromises instead of the consensus resolutions they are intended to be. The difference is that the UNSC resolutions are supposed to carry the weight of international solidarity, not just majority. Remember, mere disagreement with a resolution is rarely expressed through veto, or at least doesn’t require a veto. (The US has used the veto more than any other member.) However, the absolute objection of a permanent member to a resolution indicates a great lack of consensus, and therefore such a resolution cannot claim international solidarity and should be vetoed by the objecting member.

Just out curiousity, how would Germany stab us in the back in the Security Council if the US got a majority? They don’t have a veto.

By invading Poland.

For what is worth I think the SC will pass another resolution, probably a version of the US/British/Spanish one. It will not authorize war but will say something like “Sadam is really really not cooperating enough and we’re getting tired of it”, the US/Brits will take that, invoke Article 51 and declare war on Iraq.

It will be a throw back to the pre-1990 days when almost nothing got through the SC, anything was sure to get a US veto, or a Soviet veto, or a Chinese veto, or a French veto, or a British veto. What we’re probably seeing now is an effort, maybe not coordinated just a confluence of interests, to create a balance-antagonist to US power, a role that the old USSR used to fill, and that had been vacant since the late 80’s early 90’s.

This is simply not true. The US is a distant second to the USSR. Although I guess that since the USSR is no more, the US would hold the record for existing countries.

Mexico a yes? Don’t be too sure. There’s a lot of pissed-offness there, according to Krugman, and here’s why:

bayonet1976: Thanks for the cite; I stand corrected. And as far as USSR==>Russia goes, I think we’d still have to credit the Cold War voting history to the current post-CW entity, so I was still wrong.

Krugman looks for any excuse to bash Bush. Based on Krugman’s poor track record, his opinion that Mexico will oppose the US is a reason to expect them to support us. :stuck_out_tongue:

Got any reason to think his facts are wrong, or is that just more dismissal of the motivation of anything inconvenient for which you lack a counterargument (one of your favorite approaches, btw)?

BBC article on the same topic

It will depend on the three African nations probably. I think two of them are in the French zone of influence in Africa. They probably receive more aid from France than the US. I doubt they will vote with the US.

Pakistan is vulnerable to to US pressure but I don’t think it will be the swing vote for an attack on another Muslim country. In other words if the US has 8 votes and needs only Pakistan to get a vote for war, I don’t think Pakistan will play.

So it’s looking unlikely that the US will get the nine votes. Even if it does France or Russia will likely veto.

If the vote is so obviously coerced, or bought, of what value would any resolution be either way? The UN is about the moral authority of civilization itself, not national self-interest, as I’ve always understood it.