Reform/renewal of the U.N.

In the wake of a number of scandals involving the United Nations, some in the United States are calling for Washington to withhold part or all of the dues it pays to the U.N. as its share of the world body’s budget. The chief of staff of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, speaking before a congressional committee on May 19, warned the U.S. that any such move would be ill advised.

The scandals have taken the focus away from a deeper issue — whether to expand the membership of the Security Council beyond those countries that were on the winning side of World War II. Germany and Japan, who were on the losing side in that war, think their position in today’s world warrants their inclusion as permanent members. India and some African countries argue for their inclusion as well, so that their continents are better represented.