Time to move the UN?

Is it now time to move the UN to somewhere neutral like Switzerland, home of the Geneve Convention?
Time to scrap veto power?

Why now?

Getting rid of the veto isn’t a bad idea and some changes in the makeup of the Security Council are long overdue, but good luck getting all those countries to agree to reduce their own say. I don’t see any particular reason the UN itself should be moved.

I’d say getting rid of the veto power would be the single worst thing to do regarding the United Nations.


why should 5 countries decide the fate of the rest of the planet just because they won a war?
It’s not democratic and surely voting on resolutions should be democratic.

The UN is not a democratic organization.

This is why.

The UN already has a significant presence there.

This. The virtue of the permanent member veto when it was originally crafted was that it ensured decisions coming out of the Security Counsel would be consistent with the reality on the ground. The five permanent members were (in theory) capable of acting as spoilers whether or not they had a veto, by virtue of their economic and military clout. Thus, it’d be better to work that spoiler function into the system, and encourage states to negotiate around it.

One could quibble about whether all the states with a permanent veto really do, by the above standard, deserve that power (France? Really?), and there are probably other states (India, South Africa) that could make a plausible claim to at least as great a capacity to act as spoilers as any of the five current permanent members. But the basic idea - that there’s no point in the UN making big decisions that will be guaranteed not to get buy-in from the really great powers - is a sound one.

Actually, my point was that the UN is not a democratic body because it features nations that are not democratic, with the votes cast by their “representatives” reflecting the will of dictators and not the will of the people. For an organization to truly be democratic, it must be democratic from the ground up.

But your answer was good, too.

Exactly. The whole point of the security council veto is that if the UN cooked up something the USSR didn’t like, the USSR would just tell the UN to go screw.

The UN was conceived, not as a federation of like-minded states, but an organization where states that were deadly enemies could work out their differences short of war. It is not a democratic organization, it is a talking shop created to reduce the likelihood of war. It includes all countries, including odious dictatorships, and THAT’S THE POINT. It enshrines national sovereignty as a fundamental principle because otherwise no one would have joined.

If you want a democratic organization of states, you’d be better off starting a whole new one. But if you give every state a vote, the dictatorships will outvote the liberal states. And giving Tuvalu the same vote as India isn’t exactly democratic either.

For that matter, even if you are a starry-eyed dreamer who wants a democratic one-world government, why on earth would you want it to be a body that gives one vote each to India (pop 800,000,000) and Tuvalu (pop 12,000)?

eta: dang simulpost

Looks guiltily at US Senate

Looks cheerfully at US House

What does it mean to be neutral? I supposed Switzerland is for Switzerland the same way the USA is for USA.

I suspect it means they generally don’t get involved in wars since the country is small and isn’t really worth invading. And they won’t kick up a fuss about who leaves money in their banks during a world war, cough cough.

I think the practical effect is that they don’t sign military related treaties with other countries. They weren’t part of NATO or the Warsaw pact, for example, and avoided the various pacts that led to WWI.

Only if you want to ensure that the countries currently having veto power will exit the UN.

Indeed. Such a (purely speculative) global “House of Representatives” could consist of reps from equally-sized population blocs.

But countries that don’t allow multi-party elections that circumvent the national government–like China–get nothing.

“What makes a man turn neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?”