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Similar to his short-sighted call to eliminate the Senate filibuster because it is inconvenient for his legislative agenda, President Joe Biden said in his address to the UN General Assembly that his administration has proposed reforms to expand the UN Security Council and add more veto-wielding permanent members to make the Council “more inclusive.”
Biden administration officials have been talking for several weeks about these reforms, apparently, because Russia and China have been using their veto power to block U.S.-backed Security Council resolutions on Ukraine, the Middle East, and North Korea. However, although this proposal has long been backed by most UN members and the foreign policy establishment, it is certain to go nowhere.
The UN Security Council has 15 members. The U.S., the U.K, France, China, and Russia are the five permanent members with veto power. Regional blocs elect the other 10 members for two-year terms. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield recently called this arrangement “an unsustainable and outdated status quo.”
Thomas-Greenfield has proposed not just an expansion of the council and the addition of members but also informal restrictions