The Right Coast

January 07, 2004
The United Democratic Nations
By Michael Rappaport

An interesting essay in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the United States should help to form and promote a Caucus of Democratic states that would exercise influence to promote democratic values at the United Nations. Here is an excerpt:
    At a minimum, it is essential that the U.S. take the lead in establishing and strengthening a Caucus of Democratic States committed to advancing the U.N.'s assigned role for world peace, human dignity and democracy. In order to advance the principles of the U.N. Charter, a strong Democratic Caucus must emphasize human dignity as an essential ingredient for peace and stability. It must challenge and limit the influence of the regional blocs that, for example, decide on the rotating membership of the Security Council and the various U.N. missions and commissions.
While Kampelman argues for a caucus of democracies within the UN, this is only one possible means of promoting democratic values and perhaps not the best choice. Arguably, it would be better to start an alternative institution where the democracies could regularly meet, discuss, and pass proposals.

There are many reasons for promoting a separate United Democratic Nations (UDN). First, a UDN would allow democracies to have a stronger and clear voice than they do now. At present, the United Nations gives equal voting rights to dictatorships and democracies. Second, a UDN would weaken, and possibly lead to reform of, the UN. The pronouncements of the democratic nations would compete with those of the UN, and would have more moral authority, especially with the free peoples of the world. Such competition could lead the UN to be more open to reform or risk losing its influence. Third, a UDN would provide an additional incentive for states to become democratic. It would draw a clear line between democracies and less legitimate states, and by treating the latter as lesser moral states, might help induce at least some of them to take the final steps necessary to becoming democracies.