1. Introduction in:

Andreas Schwenk

Finding a Cue through "Q", page 1 - 4

Applying Q-Methodology to Compare German and U.S. Diplomats' Attitudes towards U.N. Security Council Reform

1. Edition 2019, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4306-6, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-7239-4, https://doi.org/10.5771/9783828872394-1

Series: Wissenschaftliche Beiträge aus dem Tectum Verlag: Politikwissenschaften, vol. 81

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
Introduction The United Nations Security Council constitutes the most crucial organ of this international organization founded in 1945, carrying the security- and military-related responsibility of the United Nations. After the devastation of World War II and the preceding failure of the League of Nations, the international community came together to create a lasting international organization to maintain international peace and stability. According to Article 24 of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council holds “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security”, which is conferred on it by the members of the United Nations. Thereby “in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf ” (UN Charter, Ch. V, Art. 24, Para. 1). The Security Council “shall act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations” (UN Charter, Ch. V, Art. 24, Para. 2) and the members of the United Nations “agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter” (UN Charter, Ch. V, Art. 25). Chapters VI, VII, VIII, and XII of the UN Charter then furthermore lay out the details according to which the council may exercise the specific powers granted to it in cases such as the “settlement of disputes” (UN Charter, Ch. VI), “action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression” (UN Charter, Ch. VII), “regional arrangements” (UN Charter, Ch. VIII) and the “international trusteeship system” (UN Charter, Ch. XII). At its founding in 1945, the Security Council was made up of eleven members of which five were the so-called permanent ones and six were the so-called non-permanent ones. In 1965, the council was enlarged to fifteen members, which has been the only structural reform in its history. Following this, the current council still exists and operates within the structures of 1965. Nowadays, it is made up of fifteen members of which five are the so-called permanent ones and ten are the so-called non-permanent ones. The five permanent members 1. 1 are made up of the five victorious nations of World War II: The People's Republic of China, the French Republic, the Russian Federation (formerly the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. These five countries have been represented on the council continuously since 1945 and are vested with a veto right to block any resolution on the council which might not be in their interest. The ten non-permanent members are selected by their regional groups for twoyear terms on a rotating basis. Within the United Nations, there are five regional groups. After the UN's founding in 1945, the groups were: 1. British Commonwealth; 2. Eastern Europe & Asia; 3. Latin America; 4. Western Europe; 5. Middle East. During the reform of 1965, the groups were changed into the following: [1. African Group; 2. Asia-Pacific Group; 3. Eastern European Group; 4. Latin American & Caribbean Group; 5. Western European & Others Group]. This group scheme still persists today in the same way as the 1965 Security Council scheme persists today. Each of the five groups nominates members for a two-year term. In contrast with the permanent members, the ten non-permanent members have no veto rights on the council. A security council resolution is passed when nine out of the fifteen members vote in favor and none of the five permanent members uses a veto. The set-up of the security council has been at the receiving end of critique throughout most of its existence with certain countries feeling under-represented on the body or not sufficiently vested with rights such as the veto. After the end of the Cold War, this critique has intensified. The main reasons for this intensification are the demand for an updated version of the council's structure, adequately reflecting the new geopolitical realities of the post-Cold War world and the 21st century. Since the council's founding, France and the United Kingdom seem to have lost their world power status, while Russia is no longer a super power after the fall of the Soviet Union. The immediate post- Cold War world of the 1990s has left the United States as the only remaining super power in a largely unipolar world order. The 21st century predicts the rise of China as a new world power to challenge this unipolarity. Russia's role and the role of the two European countries remain unclear. Furthermore, globalization has diversified the influence and weight of the world, adding more countries to the picture. 1. Introduction 2 While nowhere near as powerful as the world's current only superpower, the likes of India and Brazil have been gaining international importance in the recent years. On the European continent, Germany appears to re-emerge as a player, steering the Eurozone through its financial troubles and increasingly gaining political relevance globally as well. The European Union, while experiencing some hick-ups at the moment, has achieved greater harmonization among European countries over time and increasingly acts as a single player. All of this opens the question to whether the current Security Council set-up still reflects the balance of power of the 21st century and thus, whether another reform of the council's structure is necessary. The reform of the United Nations Security Council is a topic that leaves a huge space for creativity and wishful thinking, but also for constructive progress and thoughtful reform proposals. Several reform proposals out of the diplomatic and academic world have emerged in the last 25 years since the end of the Cold War with none of them having reached a true breakthrough. From the diplomatic proposals of the Secretary-General's High-level Panel Report (2004), the “G-4”1 (2005), the group “Uniting for Consensus”2 (2005), the “African Union”3 (2005) or the “S-5”4 (2006) to the various academic works of Joseph Schwartzberg (2004; 2005; 2007; 2013), the analysis of Kara McDonald and Steward Patrick (2010), the critiques of Maurice Bertrand (1985) or the analysis of Richard Butler (2012), the topic of council reform has sparked immense interest and a great amount of contributions. This master thesis will engage in a comparison of diplomats' attitudes from the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany on UN Security Council reform. Diplomats are selected purposefully, as they have inside knowledge on the process from the perspective of their two respective countries. The two countries are of particular interest for a comparative study, as they belong to two different categories within the reform effort. The United States being one of the United Nations' founding members and current veto power, belongs to 1 Group of Four: Brazil, Germany, Japan, India. 2 Uniting for Consensus: Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Spain, Turkey. 3 African Union: All member states. 4 Small 5 Group: Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Singapore, Switzerland. 1. Introduction 3 the category of countries that hold permanent seats (P-5), while Germany being one of the most commonly mentioned aspirant countries belongs to the category seeking a permanent seat in a potential reform. While in theory many other countries could have been incorporated in such a comparative study, I decided to use these two for reasons of most convenient access to information, and language fluency in both English and German. Due to personal contacts, it was easier for me to establish contacts to the diplomatic services of these two countries than it would have been to any other countries. Furthermore, attitudes among the two countries' diplomatic services might serve as a checkup of congruence in foreign policy goals with the United Nations, as well as the current state of affairs of the “transatlantic bridge”. With its growing economic importance and de-facto leadership role in the European Union, Germany appears to have become an ever more important partner for the world's only remaining superpower, the United States. Close cooperation between these two countries on a UN-level contributes to stability, peace and security in the world, and is thus a corner stone for both nations' foreign policies. A renewed look at the potential for cooperation in “taking the United Nations into the 21st century” between two such crucial UN-member states could prove of utter importance, especially after recent reform efforts have stalled. Possible room for maneuvering, as well as findings of policy congruence might aid in a reinvigoration of the debate on UN Security Council reform for the benefit of both countries. 1. Introduction 4

Chapter Preview



United Nations Security Council reform has been hotly debated since the end of the Cold War, which unleashed a global geopolitical realignment. But since 2007, the push to update the Security Council to reflect the power-sharing realities of our modern age – giving for example Germany a seat on the coveted panel – has largely stalled. Finding a Cue through “Q” chronicles the history, key initiatives and major players in this important discussion, while focusing on U.S. and German involvement on the council, and reboots the debate through political discourse analysis and intensive Q-methodology. Diplomats from Germany and the United States were asked to rank their agreement with statements made by stakeholders from government, business, academia and media in both countries. Instead of presenting a priori categories and foregone conclusions, this method describes the parameters of the debate through typologies derived from fresh diplomatic assessments. Social perspective narratives were created from the results, leading to the surfacing of two dominant discourses: Convinced Institutionalism and Cautious Institutionalism. Andreas Schwenk’s innovative approach provides new insight into the thinking of German and U.S. diplomats, and offers a valuable contribution to overcoming the stalemate. “Considering the growing number of attacks on multilateralism, Mr. Schwenk’s meticulous study clearly illustrates the need for reform of what is designed to be the world’s pivotal multilateral organization. A lack of reform of the U.N. Security Council might lead to future challenges to its primacy. It was my great pleasure to contribute to this fascinating book.” Doris Hertrampf, German Ambassador (Ret.) “I enjoyed participating in Mr. Schwenk‘s rigorous and systematic study of the vexed issue of U.N. Security Council reform. His analysis demonstrates broad commitment to keeping the Security Council effective, while the diversity of views confirms that changes to the number, regional distribution, or powers of its members will continue to be difficult.” William B. Wood, U.S. Ambassador (Ret.)