Washington — US President Joe Biden's speech to the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly sparked controversy, where he confirmed that his administration will continue consultations to reform the Security Council and increase the number of its permanent members.

Despite the belief of many legal experts and international organizations in the inevitability of reforming the Security Council, those with a realistic vision of geostrategic balances confirm the impossibility of progress in this direction, especially since the idea of reforming and expanding the Security Council is not emerging today, but has been the goal of many initiatives since the sixties of the last century, but it has always ended in a dead end.

Anjali Dial, an expert at the Institute of Peace and professor of international law at Fordham University, believes that reform of the Council is very difficult to achieve, despite the presence of many committees and diplomats who have been working insistently on reforming the UN Security Council for decades.

Dial tells Al Jazeera Net that everyone agrees on the need for the Council for reform, but no one agrees on the type of reforms, so stumbles a lot of discussion on the reform of the Security Council in the technical details, and the wishes of the various parties.

Since the creation of the United Nations in 1945 after World War II, five permanent members have veto power over issues of war and peace: the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia.

The Council also has 10 non-permanent members elected for a two-year term, who have no veto power. The authority of the Security Council lies in its ability to approve binding resolutions, as opposed to those approved by the UN General Assembly.

Repair requirements

Security Council reform requires an amendment to the UN Charter, which in turn requires a two-thirds vote of the 193 members of the General Assembly, as well as the approval of all five permanent members of the Security Council.

The paralysis in the face of the Russian war in Ukraine since February 2022 has shown a fundamental flaw in the work of the Security Council, when a veto-wielding member violates the UN Charter.

That experience revealed the willingness of permanent members to obstruct international norms on serious crises, as in Syria, Myanmar, Palestine and elsewhere in the world, prolonging human suffering and strengthening the Security Council's enduring reputation as a mere forum for the interests of the five major Powers.

Observers agree that there are two main ways for the Council to become more just and equitable: one is to expand its membership to become more representative, and the other is to modify or abolish the mechanism for the use of the veto.

Who is a candidate for permanent membership?

The United States is seeking to expand the council by adding nearly 6 permanent seats to the council without giving those countries the veto, which observers see as a reflection of Biden's desire to recognize the growing influence of the developing world.

While Washington sees the need to include Germany, Japan and India in the Council, other capitals see the need to include Brazil and South Africa.

There are also many other countries that see themselves as eligible for membership in the Security Council, such as Nigeria, Algeria, Indonesia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

In an interview with Al Jazeera Net, former U.S. diplomat Postztai Wolfang says that "the current structure of the Security Council, especially its permanent members, reflects the reality of the world in the late forties of the twentieth century. But today, there are countries like India, Japan and Germany that have at least the same influence as the UK and France, and therefore also the right to become permanent members."

"Moreover, the continents of Africa and South America should also have permanent seats with veto power, to emphasize that these continents are equally important," Wolfang said.

Who wants to give up the veto?

No country is expected to give up its veto power, which is their most important authority in the UN system.

"It is difficult to find consensus on a new decision-making process in the Security Council. I am quite sure that the Big Five will not give up the veto, but to make the Council effective, there must be a way to veto it. At the moment, I don't think Russia and China are ready to accept such a mechanism, but we will see."

Professor Dial said Russia's war on Ukraine last year "highlighted the fundamental flaws of the UN Security Council to a wide audience, as many people and policymakers who do not pay much attention to the UN became interested in it after the invasion of Ukraine."

"So it can now be clearly seen that Russia obstructs the work of the UN Security Council, and everyone can see that there is no way for any other country to circumvent this obstruction. This has refocused attention on reform processes and generated momentum for them across many different diplomatic and political circles."

A useless invitation

"Reform of the UN Security Council is certainly a worthy political goal of the Biden administration, perhaps especially because of its contentious relationship with Russia at the moment. However, the UN Security Council is an exclusive, undemocratic body that does not reflect the balance of power in the world today, nor does it reflect the interests or voices of most of the world, so reform is a common and justified goal."

Professor William Wolfworth, a professor and expert on US foreign policy at Dartmouth University, noted that "the Biden administration's approach of supporting the addition of permanent members without veto power makes diplomatic sense. But I find it difficult to see any progress, and it seems that every idea of reform ends up deadlocked," he told Al Jazeera Net.

In the end, Washington's success in its endeavor requires it to stop using its veto to protect and justify Israeli policies against the Palestinians, which the Biden administration's policies have not yet supported.

Washington is one of the countries that use the veto the most when it comes to international condemnation of Israeli policies against the Palestinian people, and United Nations data indicates that Washington has used its veto power 53 times since 1972 to prevent condemnation of Israel.