Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 13, 2003
WAR: Real World Powers

More and more people are questioning why the French deserve a permanent seat and veto on the UN Security Council and the world's largest democracy, nuclear-armed India, doesn't. Thomas Friedman made this point in his Sunday column in the NY Times.

Frankly, an honest accounting targeted at dividing between the real major powers and the lesser ones would throw the Brits off as well, and make it a Permanent Four, at least for now. (The next century could tell us whether places like Brazil or Indonesia will ever grow into their populations, or Australia or Canada into their land masses, or whether the EU swallows up the whole continent, but none of these things seems likely in the near future). Only the reasonableness of the British keeps Americans from questioning them as a major power.

On the other hand, is permanent Security Council membership about the strength of a country as a regional power -- or its willingness to act globally? I suppose both Britain and France are among the few nations with at least some military capacity to project force (by which I mean troops and substantial air power, not just missiles) outside their immediate region and the willingness to use it. The Germans can't do it, and in fact the Indians and Chinese have never tried (I assume the Chinese have the capability), while you still see the British and French going to places like the Ivory Coast and the Falklands. Other small fry who have done so (like Cuba) either travelled on the backs of bigger powers or went only with UN contingents. Maybe Australia qualifies under this definition as well, I'm not sure. It's at least a question worth asking if we're trying to figure out who really counts as a "world" power.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:58 AM | War 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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