Thursday evening began an exciting weekend of events for the Philodemic Society with our weekly debate and fantastic first Kai Yai Yai debate and ball featuring schools from across the east coast. Thursday’s resolution was Resolved: All members of the UN security council should rotate. Ms. Bolas, making her induction into the society, argued that reform is needed for peace as the current system is stagnant. Permanency and veto power are two of the principal problems that would be solved by having a rotation as they lead to arbitrary rulings because of the unfair and unequal nature of the current system. Historically, the security council was made up of the victors of WWII which Ms. Bolas argued only reflects a single moment in time. Ultimately, the security council has let genocide, like in cases such as Rwanda, occur without any resistance. Ms. Bolas concluded by stating that other possible solutions cannot solve the problems of the security council. Ms. Correia, also making her induction, argued that having the five permanent members of the security council is key to security. Powerful states are the only ones capable of doing the actions required for the security council, and smaller countries lack the capability to complete the duties of the security council. The large countries could easily withdraw from the UN if smaller countries bully the powerful ones when they are on the security council. The current system serves as a system of checks and balances as differing agendas push against each other. Other reforms are possible, but rotation is not the way to go.
Mr. Wilson responded that there are processes in place to make the transition work easily and that equity makes for a better system. He argued that we need countries from key regions so that there can be a more efficient and equal system that instills credibility. Using examples of the lack of criticism on Syria and the Right to Protect movement to show that the security council is held back by the current process. Mr. Kendrick began by arguing that we must evaluate the debate through the view of US self-interest. He argued that it does not make sense to rotate because it would weaken the US ability to impact foreign policy especially with Israel. Furthermore, we need to keep our veto so that we can prevent anything that could threaten US interests, and the state of Israel. Ultimately, we must protect our own self-interest.
Mr. Dulik rejected the notion that we should evaluate with US self-interest and argued that Latin America should be represented and France should not. Mr. Spagnuolo argued that the military spenders on the security council give it legitimacy. Mr. Quinn strongly asserted the complete ineffectiveness of the security council’s lack of comment on the Syrian strike into Turkey. Mr. Prindiville believed that the debate would come down to legitimacy and enforcement via the permanent members’ military enforcement. Mr. Donovan stated that legitimacy is lost when there are issues that are ignored like in Rwanda. Mr. Taft tried to sway our view of the UN to one that is like a Wild West Town. Ms. Marki said that this would give the UN a breath of fresh air. Ms. Cleary argued for the importance of the veto power. Madeleine Ringwald (COL ’16) argued that the actual debate’s crux was the fear of US descent and that our interests cannot be the dominance of all others. Mac Dinneen (COL ’14) gave a history lesson on the founding of the security council and an analogy to the US Congress to show that the only changes should occur to the veto capability. Victor Wang (NHS ’15) said that sharing leads to caring and that we need to trust in the security council. Taylor Willis (SFS ’16) argued that the security council is really for preventing another world war and that the current system prevents that from happening. Tim Rosenberger (COL ’16) showed how the current countries on the security council are random in the modern world. Chloe Krawczyk (SFS ’15) argued that rotation would not solve the problems of the security council using examples of Iraq and Rwanda. Mr. Edgar, in the process of getting fined 5 dollars, showed how sanctions would be more likely to happen if there was a rotation and also warned of the dangers in the Asian island dispute. Mr. Petallides used the country of Examplestan to show how it boils down to sovereignty and how force is needed for there to be legitimacy. Ms. Ziegler attacked the issue of the most important issues in international law and showed how it ultimately comes down to sovereignty and that there is time sensitivity on the security council. Vice President Arber argued that in the international system either China or the US is needed to support it and the current system reflects that need. Ms. Higbee, returning for the evening from Vanderbilt, pointed out that there are value differences on the security council which prevents action. Mr. Miller talked about game theory and how stability is needed as well as knowing what other actors will do. Mr. Kelley closed the floor by stating that the current system is useless citing the lack of action on Iraq in 1998 and non-security council sanctions on Iran to show that rotation is potentially beneficial.
Mr. Kendrick stated that states that have better governments and promote freedom deserve more influence on the council. Furthermore, we should factor in US interests especially in how the US needs the veto power. Mr. Wilson started his closing keynote with a highlights tour about the importance of norms in the international system. He also showed how the security council would gain legitimacy via rotation. Ms. Correia started with some jokes that demonstrated the need for power on the security council. In addition, she warned about the potential threats to US security if we rotate. Ms. Bolas told of the dangers in the South China Sea that could create a potential world conflict if the current system holds. She closed the debate by saying that the permanent powers need a check and a long-term solution is needed.
The Society voted 25-7-23 to have a technical negation of the resolution.
The Society inducted Ms. Bolas and Ms. Correia! Huzzah!