John Bolton: 'Enlarging the Security Council would weaken it'

From a talk on reform of the United Nations given at Chatham House by the US ambassador to the UN
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The Independent Online

From that comes the argument that the council should be expanded and new permanent members should be added. There are a lot of theories about who is entitled to be on the council, all of which conclude that the Security Council needs to be much larger.

Whatever level of effectiveness you want to assign to the Security Council, from our point of view, making it less effective is absolutely contrary to our interests and the interests of the United Nations. So when we see plans that take the Security Council from 15 members with five permanent members to 27 members with 11 permanent members, I think in our view that violates the rule of do no harm. And the numbers don't even touch on the issues of what countries should get on to the council. We ask, what countries deserve to be there? Japan would qualify in our view but previous debates on the composition of the council have come to nothing.

We have talked about a revolution of reform for the UN - this is intended to convey that reform in the UN is not a one-night stand. Reform is forever. It is something we are motivated to do because we want to strengthen the UN, strengthen its capabilities. If this doesn't happen, there are plenty of members of Congress who will have something to say about our levels of contribution.

The mismanagement and the corruption in the oil-for-food programme arose out of the culture that exists at the UN, I'm afraid to say, where this kind of behaviour and the behaviour of those who benefited from all this money sloshing around wasn't seen to be a problem until too late. That says something I think very unfortunate for the UN system as a whole.

We need in the UN, as in all the organisations we belong to, effectiveness, responsiveness, transparency and that's what our reform agenda is all about.