This week you will read (in the article by Bosco) and hear (in the lecture on the UNSC) about two different perspectives on the proper function of the UN Security Council: the governance perspective and the concert perspective. The former argues that the UNSC should take primary responsibility for ensuring global peace and security, organizing and taking action to address threats that might emerge throughout the world, be they acts of genocide or civil wars.

The latter perspective views the UNSC as a concert of the Great Powers whose primary function is to ensure that the interests of the Great Powers do not conflict, potentially leading to a great power war. According to this view, preventing great power conflict and protecting the national security interests of the great powers should trump other security concerns, such as civil wars, ethnic conflict or genocide.

Which of these perspectives do you find the most convincing as a model for thinking about how the UNSC should act? Given that these two functions often conflict in practice, which do you think the international community and the US in particular should prioritize, when and why?

250 world response