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The UN Security Council, Canada–and the curse of the EU…

…or, taking the “O” out of WEOG. I wrote earlier about our failure to win a seat:


Hardly a shocker when one thinks that we were up against two EU countries undoubtedly supported by all the members (did the UK support a fellow Commonwealth member? hah!) and with the rather significant lobbying of all those members, and EU representatives abroad, for them…

Now David Frum excellently amplifies the EU problem for Canada and others in the WEOG; the deck is stacked:


The temporary Security Council seats are assigned to regional blocs. Five seats become available January 1, 2011. One of those seats is assigned to the African bloc. One is assigned to the Asian and Arab bloc, one to the Latin American and Caribbean bloc, and two to the bloc to which Canada belongs: Western Europe and Others [WEOG].

Each of those regional blocs caucuses separately to determine whom it will nominate to fill its assigned seat.

The Africans nominated one candidate, South Africa, and it was duly elected. The Asians nominated one candidate, India, which was likewise duly elected. The Latin American and Caribbean group nominated one candidate, Colombia, again duly elected.

Noticing a pattern?

But the Western European and others group nominated not the requisite two candidates, but instead three: Germany and Portugal, as well as Canada. By nominating three, the Western European and Others bloc forfeited its right of decision. That looks like an unwise act. Why did it happen?

The answer has nothing to do with Kyoto or Israel, and everything to do with the internal politics of the European Union. It’s the European Union countries that dominate the Western bloc. Increasingly, the EU countries have been negotiating these UN nominations among themselves first. They decide that they want Germany and Portugal — and then they muscle their way through the rest of the bloc onto the UN floor.

This phenomenon creates two serious structural problems.

  • European Union bloc voting gives the EU unintended clout within the Security Council. Remember, Eastern Europe is also a bloc, and it gets one seat on the Security Council, currently held by Bosnia-Herzegovina. Bosnia-Herzegovina is not yet a EU member, but it would dearly like to be, and so would other members of the Eastern European group. The EU can pressure EU applicants into complying with EU wishes, even against a supposed EU ally like Canada [in addition there is the amazing fact that B-H is not fully independent and is in some ways an EU protectorate, latest here].
  • Bloc voting by the EU within the Western bloc seriously disadvantages the “others”: Canada, Australia and New Zealand. (Israel is an affiliate member of the Western group, and also, by the way, one of two countries in the UN ineligible for Security Council membership. The other is Kiribati, but Kiribati’s exclusion is almost certainly only temporary: It only joined the UN in 1999, after all.)…

Will any of our major media other than the National Post mention the above realities? Hah!

Publius truly puts it all into, er, perspective:


As you can expect the Portuguese responded to this triumph with complete indifference. When I checked the major Lisbon newspaper’s site, Tuesday afternoon, the main headline was about – shocker – a Portuguese soccer victory. Bankrupt they may nearly be, but hell if they don’t have their priorities straight. Old wise people, they understand only too well that what Cristiano Ronaldo does on the pitch, contributes far more to global happiness than anything UN Security Council has ever done.

Canada, which is a much younger country than Portugal, has responded to its defeat at the UN with all the composure of a teenage girl being rejected for cheerleader…

Mark
Ottawa

4 Responses so far.

  1. Bill RobinsonNo Gravatar says:

    So the EU’s numbers allow it to dominate the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG), giving it control over which countries get nominated for Security Council seats. I can understand that. It then uses this control to ensure not that its two preferred candidates get the WEOG nod, but that Canada is also nominated, thus throwing the decision to the full membership of the UN, where the EU’s numbers do not dominate, and where the decision is made by secret ballot, thus opening the option for EU members who dissent from the EU-as-a-whole’s preferences to vote for Canada without being held to account for that dissent by the other members of the EU.

    Clearly no one can expect to compete against Machiavellian geniuses like that.

  2. MarkOttawaNo Gravatar says:

    What is “Machiavellian” is that the EU chose to nominate two of their members, thus making sure that Canada did not run unopposed, and then taking their chances on how the vote would pan out. A vote the EU as an organization (those reps abroad) and its members could try to influence much more readily, and with a lot more clout, than Canada.

    Mark
    Ottawa

  3. Bill RobinsonNo Gravatar says:

    Oooohh, so the issue here is that the Europeans, in choosing not to support Canada’s bid, deprived us of our opportunity to get a Security Council seat without a vote. Not that the fix was in but that they declined to put the fix in in our favour! (And what’s more, they even intended to vote for someone else!)

    Hmmm. I guess given our current culture of victimhood that’s some sort of grounds for complaint…

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