Iran’s Crisis of Legitimacy
An Embattled Regime Faces Mass Protests—and an Ailing Supreme Leader
Amazement and concern are often expressed these days that the United Nations seems unable or unwilling to "do anything" about Viet Nam. What is the Security Council for, it is asked, if not to stop wars? If the Council is blocked by a veto, why does not the General Assembly act? Yet neither apparently will even discuss Viet Nam.
The history and limitations of the United Nations are not always well understood. Americans forget that we collaborated with the Soviet Union in writing into the Charter severe restrictions on the powers of the Security Council, and that we have of late publicly shared with our West European and Latin American friends apprehension that new "swirling" Afro-Asian majorities in the General Assembly might drag us into adventures against our interest. A narrow mandate conferred on the United Nations, if sauce for the goose, has to be sauce for the gander too.
In 1945 the Security Council was conceived as the all-powerful peacekeeping instrument of Five Great Powers acting together but capable only of procedural action and ineffectual debate if one of the Five dissented. At the same time, the Assembly was conceived not at all as a world legislature- perish the thought!-but as a vehicle of parliamentary or multilateral diplomacy, able to recommend what could be negotiated among the requisite majority but unable to decide or enforce.
What is really astonishing is the amount of effective work the two bodies have been able to do. The Council, in the absence by chance of a permanent member, mobilized an international army against an aggressor in Korea and subsequently has authorized and supervised military operations not only between but inside sovereign states, with their consent. The Assembly set up and has ever since maintained a substantial peacekeeping presence at Suez, and has nursed and prodded disarmament negotiations as far as the Five Powers would tolerate and sometimes further than they would like.
At the present moment, however, the United Nations is seriously weakened by the consequences of the Article 19 crisis. In that case the United States, from the noblest of motives, on reasonable legal grounds, but with considerable political recklessness and imperfect perception of its own real interests, asserted the Assembly's right and duty to tax all members to pay for all peacekeeping operations. The worthy objective was to provide the U.N. with the substantial resources necessary for effective peacekeeping. The obstacle was the refusal of the Soviet Union and France to pay for an operation in the Congo of which they strongly disapproved and which the Soviets considered to have been directed at least in part against themselves. There was a certain U.S. disingenuousness in ignoring the fact that, should the shoe be on the other foot, Congress would be unlikely to appropriate funds to support an operation which it felt was directed against American interests. The critical U.S. miscalculation, however, was in imagining that the majority of U.N. members, no matter how strongly they believed in U.N. peacekeeping and "collective financial responsibility," would humiliate two great powers by depriving them of their vote and thus, in the majority's view, risk breaking up the organization. The consequence of pressing the issue so hard and so long was to arouse everyone's apprehension about various aspects of U.N. peacekeeping and at least temporarily to destroy the large measure of consensus on the subject which had been gradually and painfully worked out. The fact is that the United Nations is itself an anomaly, because it is an international organization with theoretically far-reaching authority superimposed on radically unequal but equally sovereign states. Hence, its real power and effectiveness fluctuate wildly depending on the climate of international relations and its own internal temperature. The authority, absolute and relative, of the Security Council and the General Assembly, because of the Article 19 affair and for other reasons, is in the process of painful reappraisal at the moment. It is a good time to examine the health of the two bodies and attempt to determine what confidence or hope can realistically be placed in each of them.
Article 24 of the U.N. Charter says: "In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security."
The Soviet Union has always slurred over the first clause of this provision, which specifies that the purpose of conferring this responsibility on the Council is "to ensure prompt and effective action." It has also tended to define the word "primary" as synonymous with "sole" and, while admitting that the Assembly could debate problems involving peace and security, has insisted that action in this field could be taken only by the Council. It has, moreover, at least theoretically held that every military operation initiated by the Council should be directed by the Military Staff Committee, of which it is a member, acting of course unanimously.
There is little point in displaying moral indignation at this conservative and restrictive interpretation of the Charter. The fact is that the U.S.S.R. has, except on questions of decolonization and "imperialism" where it gleefully and sanctimoniously joins the Afro-Asian majority, been very substantially in the minority in both the Council and the Assembly since the establishment of the United Nations. The Western powers have (once again except in colonial and some economic questions) usually been able to mobilize majorities in both bodies for action or exhortation they desired. In its view, which seems not implausible, the only way the Soviet Union could protect its interests was the veto.
What has been most aggravating to other members has been the Soviet habit of using the veto in protection not only of its own interests but also those of states with which it wished to curry favor, such as India or the Arabs. On the other hand, since it is obviously one of the primary aims of Soviet foreign policy to influence and lead the underdeveloped world, it has in practice increasingly refrained from blocking Council action, even to the extent of limited military operations directed by the Secretary- General, if and when such action or operations were clearly desired by the Afro-Asian states. United Nations intervention in Cyprus and the India- Pakistan war, and even the later anti-Tshombe phase of the Congo operation, fell within this rubric and demonstrated a limited but welcome degree of great-power coöperation in the Council. Rather ominously, however, in the India-Pakistan case, both the U.S.S.R. and France, after joining in calling for a cease-fire and withdrawal and charging the Secretary-General to observe them, immediately objected to the scale on which he did so and insisted that both direction and financing of the operation be subjected, in a manner contrary to established practice, to very strict Council scrutiny and control.
The France of de Gaulle is basically skeptical of the value of international organizations, except those of a cultural character propagating the French language, the logic of Descartes and the rhetoric of Racine. With its bias toward rugged national individualism, the French Government is attracted by Article 2 (7) of the Charter: "Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state." France since 1958 has often given the impression it believes this clause outweighs all the other provisions of the Charter.
Nevertheless, France too cannot be wholly indifferent to the interests and desires of its friends and of the Third World. While it is as categorical as the Soviet Union in insisting on the quasi-exclusive responsibility of the Council for the maintenance of peace and security, it rarely vetoes, just as it rarely supports, executive action by the Council, and very often ends up in a lonely abstention which would be embarrassing to any government less indifferent to isolation than de Gaulle's. Of course, the French Government is no more irrevocably wedded to consistency than any other and is quite capable, as in the Dominican case, of pressing zealously for a degree of United Nations intervention which it has in most previous cases held to be wholly improper.
The United States fully supports the view that the Security Council has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and favors resort to it, in preference to the General Assembly or any other international body, whenever a threat to the peace occurs. The United States has, however, four reservations in regard to Council powers and functions.
First, it emphasizes the word "primary" in Article 24 and insists that the Assembly has a residual responsibility when the Council is unable to act because of the veto or for any other reason. This widely shared view has since 1951 been implemented by the "Uniting for Peace" procedure whereby under certain circumstances an issue is carried automatically from the Council to the Assembly. The second United States reservation relates to the application by the Council of Chapter VII of the Charter, which provides for a formal "determination" that a threat to or breach of the peace or an act of aggression exists, and a decision as to what enforcement measures to take to restore peace. The U.S. Government seeks to avoid, except in the gravest circumstances, the application of sanctions, in the wisdom and effectiveness of which it has little confidence. This reservation has, to the intense annoyance of the African nations, governed our attitude toward Chapter VII action on apartheid in South Africa and on Portuguese territories in Africa, as well as on Rhodesia until its unilateral declaration of independence in November 1965. The third United States reservation about the powers of the Council relates to our view that only the Assembly has the right to assess members for peacekeeping or any other expenses, though recommendations from the Council to the Assembly on such matters may be appropriate. The fourth reservation concerns our insistence that the Secretary-General, if he is designated by the Council to conduct an operation, be given sufficient authority and discretion to do so effectively.
The United Kingdom and other Western European states, together with Canada, Australia and New Zealand, share our views about the primacy of the Security Council but many of them, while not excluding it, are less enthusiastic about residual resort to the Assembly when the Council is immobilized by a veto. This coolness arises partly from a more persistent inclination on their part to come to terms with the Soviet Union and France, and partly from a lingering resentment at the prolonged anti- colonial vituperation to which many of them have been subjected in the Assembly. It stems more particularly, however, from the fear that the new Assembly majority might involve them in prejudicial crusades in southern Africa or Asia. They show an increasing tendency, therefore, to keep the focus of action in the Council, even when this means, as it recently seems to, that there will be very little action at all.
The Latin American attitude is similar to that of the West Europeans. To the extent they judge multilateral peacekeeping necessary or desirable in this hemisphere-and some of them have serious reservations on this score- their preferred instrument is the Organization of American States. They have joined in resisting Soviet efforts to use the Council to circumscribe United States policy and action vis-à-vis Cuba. On the other hand, some of them have not been averse to availing themselves of the U.N. platform to denounce U.S. "imperialism." In the Dominican case the two Latin American Council members split, Bolivia upholding our view that the problem should be left to the O.A.S., while Uruguay attacked United States intervention and supported an active United Nations presence as a monitor on the U.S. and O.A.S. forces. The Latin American members of the Council do not normally display deep concern with Council business outside the Western Hemisphere, though they have usually endorsed U.S. initiatives and have on occasion supplied troops, diplomats and officers to assist in U.N. peacekeeping.
The attitude of the Afro-Asian states toward the Security Council is ambivalent. Their recognition of its importance is demonstrated by their successful campaign to expand its membership from eleven to fifteen, thereby increasing their own representation to five, or one-half of the non- permanent members. In light of the presence of two Communist states, it will henceforth be virtually impossible for the Council to act by the constitutional majority of nine votes without the concurrence of at least some Afro-Asian members. Moreover, particularly since the Article 19 crisis, they have increasingly felt the necessity of great-power agreement on fundamental issues, particularly in the field of peacekeeping, and have plausibly assumed that this could best be found in the Security Council.
At the same time, most of them being small or middle-sized states vulnerable to attack by larger or more aggressive neighbors, they have traditionally been among the strongest proponents of an effective U.N. peacekeeping capability and of a resort to the Assembly under "Uniting for Peace," if the Council were immobilized on such an issue. They have, moreover, been increasingly disillusioned by the refusal of the Council majority to take radical action on the problems about which they feel most deeply, particularly those in southern Africa, and have therefore recently tended to concentrate their efforts on those issues in the Assembly where their numbers enable them to obtain sweeping declamatory resolutions, even though such resolutions are unenforceable.
Before concluding consideration of the Security Council, we may revert for a moment to the Council's refusal to deal with Viet Nam. Why has this been so?
In August 1964 occurred the so-called Tonkin Gulf incident in which American destroyers were attacked by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. In accordance with its customary practice, the United States immediately brought this issue before the Council. At that point the Soviet delegation proposed, and the United States agreed, that North Viet Nam, as a party to the dispute, be represented during the Council proceedings or otherwise present its views to the Council. Hanoi, however, categorically refused to attend and publicly rejected U.N. jurisdiction in the incident. Peking went further and denied U.N. jurisdiction over any aspect of the Indochina conflict. Since it thereafter became clear that the Soviet Union would veto any draft resolution which might be submitted to the Council and that further proceedings were consequently futile, the case was dropped.
Subsequently the Secretary-General sought repeatedly and in vain to find means, either in or outside the U.N., whereby the conflict might be ended. Throughout 1965 the United States consulted repeatedly with him and with all members of the Security Council with a view to ascertaining whether and how the issue might usefully be brought before the U.N. In each case our delegation was advised by all concerned that Hanoi and Peking would clearly continue to oppose U.N. jurisdiction as long as they were not U.N. members, that the Soviets would consequently veto any Council action and that in these circumstances it would be useless to raise the issue.
Nevertheless, after the United States had exhausted all other possibilities of negotiation during its prolonged bombing pause in January 1966, it did bring the issue formally to the Council, frankly with little hope of success but at least to demonstrate to opinion at home and abroad that no stone was being left unturned in the search for peace. The result was as expected. The Soviet delegation strongly opposed the inscription of the item on the agenda and, having demonstrated that even this procedural point was a cold-war issue, was able to persuade France and the three African members to abstain in the vote, so that the United States was barely able to obtain the required majority for inscription.
Thereafter the Japanese President of the Council, Ambassador Matsui, labored long and diligently but quite vainly to obtain some constructive result. It was impossible, in the absence of some agreement between the United States and the U.S.S.R., even to persuade the members to meet again on the subject since they feared a violent debate in which they might be unable to avoid taking sides. When the President finally concluded proceedings by a letter to members in which he suggested there was at least consensus in favor of reconvening the Geneva Conference, the Soviet delegation, which had insisted that only this Conference could deal with the issue, scolded him for implying that any consensus existed. So the effort ended in frustration.
Where do these conflicting policies and practices leave the Security Council as the "primary" instrument of the United Nations, and perhaps of the world community, for the maintenance of international peace and security?
First, the Council has of course demonstrated that it can act effectively when the great powers are in agreement, even if that agreement is partial and precarious. The Council brought the India-Pakistan war to an end and assumed a contingent responsibility for the removal of its causes, even though it was unable to agree on subsequent steps, in part because the Soviet Union saw and seized the opportunity to mediate unilaterally. The Council authorized and sustained the major phases of the Congo operation, despite Soviet, French and British disagreement with important aspects of it. A United Nations force has been maintained for two and a half years in Cyprus at the Council's direction, and war between Greece and Turkey averted.
On the other hand, issues involving great-power confrontation are either withheld from the Council by common consent, as in the case of Berlin, or brought in primarily for psychological or preëmptive purposes without the expectation of substantial United Nations action, as in the case of Cuba or Viet Nam. All members are extremely reluctant to render judgment on major disputes between states-first, because each party has its friends which support it and, second, because judgment may imply enforcement. Most members, as was shown during the India-Pakistan war, shrink from the application of enforcement measures against a sovereign state, even from a formal determination that a threat to peace exists, except in direst circumstances. Western and Communist states join in their reluctance to apply sanctions, except to each other, and the neutralist nations prevent their application in East-West confrontations.
New impediments have emerged and old ones have been given new life since the Article 19 crisis. While it is true that there has been a revival of efforts to use the Security Council in preference to other machinery and to seek assiduously for great-power agreement, the Soviet Union and France, while of course welcoming this trend, have shown little corresponding disposition to make concessions in order that Council machinery can work. On the contrary, with apprehensions aroused and tempers frayed by the crisis, they manifested during the India-Pakistan affair a determination to check the creeping effectiveness with which Hammarskjöld and Thant had been organizing peacekeeping operations outside strict Council supervision. Moreover, the same two permanent members seem more than ever resolved to insist that the Council, despite the clear provisions of the Charter and the strong opposition of practically all other U.N. members, shall play the decisive part in determining how operations are to be financed, and indeed that in most cases they be financed in the most inefficient way possible-by voluntary contributions. It is no doubt significant that the Soviet-French Declaration, issued during de Gaulle's visit to Moscow last June, included the following complacent paragraph: "As concerns the United Nations Organization, note was taken with satisfaction of the progress made in the sense of realizing more exactly the role which belongs to the organization in accordance with its Charter, and also of the efforts which are being undertaken for the introduction of greater financial and administrative strictness in its functioning."
Another factor that must be taken into account in estimating the future efficiency of the Council is the probability that the Peking Government will before very long be invited to assume the seat of China there and that it will eventually accept the invitation. Considering the revolutionary zeal and arrogance of the Chinese Communists, this could result in an epidemic exercise of the veto, which would recall the early days of the Council when the Soviets were in a similar mood. On the other hand, it is not clear what national interest the Chinese would serve by consistently immobilizing an international body of which they were a member. It would seem more plausible to suppose that they would use the veto only when their own interests were directly threatened and otherwise would, like the Soviets, follow the course most likely to curry favor with the Afro-Asians. Indeed the element of Sino-Soviet competition introduced by the presence of the Chinese might create a pattern of Council behavior more favorable to Afro-Asian than to Communist aims.
It will be well, before venturing any prognosis of the future development and efficiency of the Security Council, to examine briefly the present state of its complement and rival, the General Assembly. Nevertheless, we may here note the paradox that, even as the Council's membership was reënforced and as it dealt rapidly and vigorously with the India-Pakistan war and the Rhodesian declaration of independence, it thereafter for nearly a year has sedulously avoided occasions to show its authority and its capacity.
Senator Vandenberg in 1945 described the General Assembly which had just been established as the "town meeting of the world." He meant, presumably, that it would be the tribune of all the world's people, not censored and inhibited by the great powers as the Security Council, it was feared, might be. Though necessarily the Assembly heard the voice of the people filtered through and expressed by governments, history in general bore out the Senator's description. It is perhaps only ironic justice that, as a result of the peculiar organization of society in the modern world, those of the world's peoples which are more equal than others in power are becoming less equal than others in the General Assembly.
There have been four major functions which the Assembly has served during the past 20 years. First, it has provided an unparalleled platform for statesmen from all countries, great and small, to address mankind and in this way has given those from small countries particularly a healthy feeling of status, dignity and participation. Second, it has provided these same statesmen with regular and relatively unspectacular occasions for meeting with their confreres, for taking the temperature of current crises, for negotiating quietly if the temperature is conducive, and for exposure to the realities and complexities of the world, inducing the sobriety that sometimes comes from that exposure.
Third, the hortatory resolutions adopted each year by the Assembly, though lacking the force of law, express and often enhance the force of public opinion. Last year nearly a hundred were adopted, on such varied subjects as Chinese representation, a world disarmament conference, Tibet, peacekeeping, apartheid, dismantling military bases, a U.N. capital development fund, the World Food Program, elimination of racial discrimination, minimum age for marriage, housing, promotion among youth of the ideals of peace, refugees, Rhodesia, Aden, the Cook Islands, et cetera. Finally, the Assembly's functions are those concrete actions it takes to create, maintain and finance various operations and agencies designed to implement United Nations purposes and principles, such as the U.N. Emergency Force in the Sinai, the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, the Conference on Trade and Development, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and the U.N. Development Program.
To understand, however, how the Assembly in fact currently performs these functions, it is pertinent to note the substantial change which has occurred in the last six years in its composition and balance of power. During the first decade and a half of the United Nations' existence its membership rose gradually from 50 to 82. This latter number was composed of 41 "Western" states (Western Europe, Western Hemisphere and Antipodes), exactly one-half of the total; 31 Afro-Asian (22 Asian and only 9 African); and 10 Communist states (all in Eastern Europe). The Westerners, therefore, had an effective veto and, moreover, were generally able to pick up from Afro-Asian allies or friends the extra votes for the two-thirds majority required to approve actions or resolutions they sought.
However, beginning with the massive African accretions in 1960, the balance has radically shifted. There are now 117 members and the 118th, Guyana, will be admitted as soon as the current Assembly convenes. Of the 36 new members, no less than 27 are African, 4 Asian (of which one, Mongolia, is Communist) and the remaining five (Cyprus, Malta, Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana) all in the category of "developing" nations. There are, therefore, at present no less than 72 Afro-Asians, almost two-thirds of the membership, and another 25, including all the Latin Americans, which line up with the "have-nots" in "North-South" controversies. The "Westerners," therefore, even assuming their continued alliance with Latin Americans on most political issues, are now barely more than a third of the Assembly.
This trend will presumably continue. New states likely to become independent and to ask for United Nations membership in the near future are the three so-called High Commission Territories in South Africa, Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland, as well as Mauritius and perhaps British Honduras. There are, of course, a host of small islands in the Caribbean and the South Pacific (which the present sovereign, in most cases the United Kingdom, finds financially onerous and sometimes politically embarrassing to continue to govern) which have as good a claim to independence and United Nations membership as, for example, has the Maldive Islands. However, if these were admitted in large numbers, there would soon be created an Assembly in which the majority of members might represent only 5 or 10 percent of the world's population. This would hardly be conducive to its prestige or effectiveness.
This problem of "ministates" is giving increasing concern to the older members of the United Nations and even to some of the more farsighted Afro- Asians who, while they of course welcome additions to their numbers and voting strength, realize that the value of the latter would be gravely depreciated if it came to be based on a reductio ad absurdum. The rules of the Security Council provide that applications for membership shall be referred to a committee of the whole, presumably to determine inter alia whether the applicant is "able and willing" to carry out the obligations of the Charter. This rule has, however, long since fallen into abeyance and, though the Council was last year gently reminded of its existence by the U.S. delegation, so far no one has dared challenge the "sacred right" of any political entity, no matter how tiny, to self-determination, independence and, implicitly, U.N. membership.
This doctrine, promulgated in the celebrated Assembly Resolution 1514 of December 14, 1960, is the credo of the indefatigable and single-minded "Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples," and is rarely qualified by reference to Assembly Resolution 1541, adopted one day later, which declares that a territory may reach "a full measure of self-government" by means other than total independence.
As the Afro-Asians are already the majority of the Assembly and seem likely further to increase their strength, it is important to examine their use of this power. First, however, one must note its limitations. The so-called "Afro-Asian bloc" is not a bloc at all since it contains conservatives, moderates and radicals, since this spectrum shifts as governments change, since alliances and traditional associations with Western states continue sporadically to operate, since often uninstructed delegates do a great deal of freewheeling and since common goals are not always shared by Africans and Asians or by subregional groups within these continental conglomerations. In practice, therefore, one finds that on many issues the "bloc" is widely divided.
Quasi-unanimity is obtained among the Afro-Asians only on two broad categories of issues: those relating to decolonization and to the political and human rights of subject peoples, and those relating to trade and aid arrangements designed to benefit the underdeveloped nations. When voting is called for on the first of these categories, they are almost invariably joined by the Communist states, and in action on the second category they are joined by the Latin American states. In either of these cases they therefore command a clear two-thirds majority, except when the proposed measure is manifestly so dependent on Western states for its implementation that the Afro-Asian majority itself perceives the futility of adopting it over Western opposition.
In general, at least in so far as decolonization issues are concerned, the radicals among the Afro-Asians call the tune. They tend to be more energetic, persistent, articulate and tactically unscrupulous than their more moderate brethren. Most important of all, they have the advantage that most of the moderates are politically vulnerable at home to charges of betrayal, or at best "Uncle Tomisrn," if they fail to support resolutions bearing the charismatic labels of freedom, anti-imperialism, human rights, equal or preferential trade or development, etc. Most alarming to the "Westerners," which in this instance includes the legally and regionally minded Latin Americans, was a display of tactical unscrupulousness at the end of the 1965 Assembly. On that occasion the Afro-Asians, unable to muster the necessary two-thirds to adopt a resolution calling, inter alia, for the dismantling of military bases in colonial territories, decided by a simple majority-contrary to all precedent and to their own treatment of the issue-that this was not an "important question" within the meaning of Article 18 (2) of the Charter and hence did not require a two-thirds vote for adoption. The possible implications of this action for the future are all too clear.
However, before becoming overwrought at the prospect of Assembly excesses, it is well to recall once again: (1) that the Assembly can only recommend, not decide or command, and that it rests with states to determine whether or not to comply; (2) that most measures recommended by the Assembly for action by the United Nations itself require funds for their implementation, that the West supplies more than two-thirds of the funds, and that the United States at least, for good or ill, has asserted its right to follow the Franco-Soviet example of ignoring assessments when it considers its national interest so requires; (3) that the "new majority" generally maintains its cohesion only on two sorts of issues-residual decolonization, trade and aid-on which Afro-Asian objectives can usually be achieved only with Western coöperation; and finally (4), lest the West itself yield to self-righteousness, that while the "old majority" still prevailed it also was none too scrupulous about running over minorities with its well-oiled steamroller.
Under the circumstances described above, how capable are the Security Council and the General Assembly, jointly or separately, of performing the functions laid down for them in the Charter?
By far the most essential function of the Council is to maintain, or assist in maintaining, international peace and security. If it succeeds to some degree in this aim it justifies its existence; if it fails consistently it has little reason for being.
Over the past ten years, despite the strong reservations of the Soviet Union and France, the Security Council was able to play an important role in peacekeeping in Africa, in the Near East and South Asia, and to some degree in Latin America. It was not able to play such a role where the great powers confronted one another, as in Berlin, though it did contribute, together with the Secretary-General, to the solution of the Cuban crisis. It was not able to play such a role in East or Southeast Asia- despite American willingness that it do so-because of the absence of Communist China and North Viet Nam from the United Nations, and after 1964 because of the absence of Indonesia.
As to the future, should another confrontation so acute as to threaten general war unhappily occur between the United States and the U.S.S.R., they would certainly and rightly wish to deal with it bilaterally and at the highest level. However, a concurrent resort to the Security Council, as in the Cuban case, would very probably be in the interest of both and would in any case almost certainly be brought about by neutrals if it were not by the parties themselves. Whether the presence of Communist China in the United Nations would enable the Council to deal constructively with the problems of Asia is open to serious question. Nevertheless, the situation there is, in the view of most U.N. members, so perilous to world peace that they are likely soon to extend an invitation to Peking to be represented in both Assembly and Council, regardless of the immediate prospects of the invitation being accepted or, if it were, of constructive results ensuing. Many members would, however, wish to qualify such an invitation by insisting that Taiwan also retain a seat in the United Nations. Finally, it should be noted that a revival of activity and effectiveness on the part of the Council would probably cause it to take a deeper interest in threats to the peace in Latin America-unless the Organization of American States shows itself more united and effective than it has recently.
The immediate question, however, is not whether the Council can broaden its scope and improve its capabilities but whether, after the disastrous confrontation over Article 19, it can recover the ground it has lost and once again deal effectively even with situations not directly involving great powers and in areas outside the immediate periphery of China, the Soviet Union and the United States. It is clear that the U.S.S.R. and France would prefer that it not do so, that they feel the current deadlock over peacekeeping works to their advantage, and that whenever Council intervention is invoked they will endeavor to limit its action to rhetoric and adjuration. If unsuccessful, they will insist at least that the Council exercise the strictest supervision over any peacekeeping operation in respect to finance, command, composition and supply. However, the lengths to which they will carry their restrictive preferences will depend to a great extent, in the future as in the past, on whether others show a willingness to carry issues to the Assembly if action on them is vetoed in the Council.
In fact, the only real hope of the Council's continuing to be an effective instrument in the immediate future is that the Afro-Asians, whose interests it has most served, will insist that the Soviets and French liberalize their approach to peacekeeping at least to the degree they grudgingly accepted in recent years. So far the behavior both of Westerners and Afro- Asians in the Committee of 33, which was set up by the Assembly to inject new life into U.N. peacekeeping, has been disappointingly timid and ineffective. Whether the Afro-Asians will exert the pressure necessary to change the picture depends on some measure of cohesion among themselves, on the character of the crises that may occur in their areas, and no doubt also on the degree to which the Western powers permit the Council to serve Afro-Asian as well as Western interests, particularly in southern Africa.
The future prestige and effectiveness of the Assembly also depends to a substantial degree on the behavior of the Afro-Asians, but here it is restraint rather than initiative that is called for. If they choose to employ their voting strength merely to pass provocative resolutions, by either two-thirds or simple majorities, they will destroy the inter- regional harmony and coöperation that makes the Assembly a meaningful body. Similarly, if they continue to insist on full independence and U.N. membership for all political entities, no matter how small or unviable, and reject the exploration of devices for associating such small entities with other states or with the United Nations in a status short of full membership, they will before long undermine the significance and credibility of the Assembly. This would greatly intensify the demand for some form of weighted voting in the Assembly, even though so far no form has been proposed or devised which would be reasonable, just and useful even from the viewpoint of the West.
On the other hand, the responsibility for making the Assembly "work" does not rest solely with the Afro-Asians. Western statesmen sometimes imagine that, if Afro-Asians would only act "responsibly"-that is, in a manner inoffensive to Western interests and sensibilities-the world would proceed smoothly along its accustomed dichotomous course and the General Assembly would continue to reflect the comforting consensus which existed there before 1960. Yet such statesmen in their less euphoric moments recognize that "winds of change" are blowing, and the "town meeting of the world" cannot escape the blast. The Afro-Asians will in fact be "responsible" and the Assembly will "work" to the extent that the developed Western nations offer within its framework an acceptable measure of satisfaction to the vital interests of the Afro-Asians, especially in the fields of trade and aid, human rights and decolonization. Their task in doing so will certainly not be facilitated either by the failure of Britain and the United Nations to check "white settler" domination of Rhodesia or by the recent politically inspired decision of the International Court of Justice on South West Africa, both of which have substantially contributed to the growing and dangerous African impression that they cannot find justice through the United Nations.
Residual peacekeeping by the Assembly, which may have to be more frequently invoked if there is to be any U.N. peacekeeping at all, also depends in large measure on the nerve and wit of the West. If Western governments, despite their control of the resources, hardware and logistics without which no substantial peacekeeping operation can be carried out, remain frozen into immobility by their fear of the Afro-Asian majority, then the Assembly-like the Council-will be unable to exercise its responsibility in this field and the United Nations as a whole will revert to that "static conference machinery" which Dag Hammarskjöld in his final report asserted is the desideratum of "certain" (i.e. Communist) members.
After all, it is the West, and most of all the United States, which will have to man the breach whenever and wherever the United Nations fails to meet a vital need for security and progress, for peacekeeping or nation- building, for checking externally inspired "wars of liberation" or fostering economic development necessary to political health. Had the United Nations been impotent, the United States and its allies would have had to meet alone, with their own forces, at their own exclusive expense and with unpredictable but certainly unhappy political consequences, the need for stabilization around the frontiers of Israel, in the Congo, in Cyprus, just as they have had to meet alone, because the United Nations is absent, analogous but substantially escalated needs in Viet Nam, Laos and Malaysia.
It therefore especially behooves the United States and its allies to refurbish, sharpen and use the instruments provided for these purposes by the Security Council and the General Assembly. The prerequisite for doing so does not lie in the first instance in attempting to satisfy the Soviet Union and France, whose objectives in these bodies are at present inconsistent with ours, but in reviving our traditional association inside the United Nations with the Afro-Asian states and in overcoming the errors on our side and on theirs which have weakened that essential coöperation. Such an association should not and cannot be directed against the Soviet Union and France, but, if its members once again show a common determination to make the United Nations an effective instrument for carrying out the purposes and principles of the Charter, in fact as well as in name, there is a reasonable prospect that in the long run those two ultra-conservative great powers, and perhaps even eventually Communist China, can be gradually prodded into progress in this as in other realms of international interdependence.