Sam Rosenfeld and Matt Yglesias (the duo that brought you The Incompetence Dodge) each make excellent points about today’s Ivo Daalder/Robert Kagan op-ed, which argues that the Security Council should no longer have the final say on authorizing armed intervention. Retorts Matt: “to survey the wreckage in Iraq, and conclude that despite the lessons seen there we can’t defer to the UNÃ¢â‚¬Â¦on the grounds that the UN might sometimes say no is very weak tea.”
And Sam makes the basic point that it is not terribly surprising that these two would pen an op-ed questioning the relevancy of an institution that would not authorize a war they both initially supported.
Still, the actual substance of Daalder and Kagan’s argument deserves closer inspection. Their main reason for abandoning the Security Council in favor of a “Concert of Democracies” is that the latter would be less constrained by a Chinese or Russian veto, and thus free to authorize humanitarian interventions around the world. In fact, as I respond in detail on UN Dispatch the Security Council frequently votes to authorize the use of force for humanitarian ends, China and Russia notwithstanding. The debates over Iraq and Kosovo are the only two instances over the last eight years in which the council failed to authorize the use of force when one or more of the P-5 democracies wanted it to. There are eighteen other examples to the contrary. We just don’t hear about these cases all that often.
— Mark Leon Goldberg
Mark is a Senior Correspondent for the American Prospect magazine and writes UN Dispatch. The opinions are his own.