Credits: 3

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) stands at the pinnacle of the global system of peace and security. Its mandatory powers under Chapter VII of the UN Charter makes it a close approximation of world government. Clearly the UNSC is a body worth careful observation and study.

Drawing on the lessons learned from the failure of its predecessor institution, the League of Nations, the designers of the UNSC, in effect the victors of WWII, endowed themselves with the power of veto over Chapter VII decision making. The exercise of the powers of the UNSC have consequently been held hostage to the need for its five permanent members to cooperate. The history of the UNSC therefore necessarily follows the realities of major power relationships. At times of cooperation, the vast powers of the UNSC have been put into effect. At times of tension, the Council has fallen into stasis.

The course will examine the work of the UNSC methodologically and geographically. The key issues covered will include peacekeeping, sanctions and use of force as well as the difficult question of UNSC reform. Issues to be unpacked include R2P (the responsibility to protect) and RN2V (the responsibility not to use the veto).

Sample Syllabus