Expanding the Security Council?

French and EU President Nicolas Sarkozy issued a call from the floor of the UN yesterday to expand the Security Council and G8. Declaring that, “The 21st century world cannot be governed with the institutions of the 20th century,” he argued that inclusion of today’s emerging powers is not just “a matter fairness” but a necessary condition for “being able to act effectively.” “We cannot wait any longer to enlarge the Security Council. We cannot wait any longer to turn the G8 into the G13 or G14 and to bring in China, India, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil,” said Sarkozy.

In “Expand the Security Council? Non. The G8? Qui,” I explain why that proposal is only half bad.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    Dude, the link is busted.

    With regard to the security council–do away with it. Sarko is right that it is anachronistic, but expansion ain’t gonna help. The UN needs full-scale institutional changes.

  2. James Joyner says:


  3. davod says:

    Do away with the Security Council and have full democracy. The first vote will be to revoke Israel’s sovereignty.

  4. just me says:

    I think the whole thing needs fixing.

    Although I do think there is an argument to be made for India to be on the council and at least one of the Central or South American countries, but I don’t think expanding the security council will fix what is broken with the UN.

  5. Brett says:

    I think they ought to reform the entire nature of the Security Council and the basis for membership on it.

    It is fundamentally a security organization, so the basis for membership on it should be due to either military power (although I don’t know how you’d measure it – the top ten spenders?) or economic power, or an index made of both.

    India in that context makes sense, and to an extent Japan does as well along with Germany (not because Germany has a big military, but it is a big economy, and Japan spends a lot both on its military and has a big economy). Brazil has neither, with no worldwide force projection, and Nigeria especially does not.