Bipartisan Consensus: Obama's Support for India on UN Council Is Right Move

Liberal and conservative pundits applaud the move

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President Barack Obama has announced that he supports the addition of India to the United Nations Security Council as a permanent member. India and nine other states recently began a two-year term as temporary members of the UN's most important body. Joining the U.S., U.K., France, China, and Russia on the Security Council is a top ambition of India, which is seeking to project its influence as an emerging world leader. Obama's announcement, which came during his high-profile visit to India, is seen as major U.S. outreach to strengthening ties with India. Here's what U.S. commentators have to say about the development. This appears to be a rare point of cross-partisan agreement: Good move by Obama.

  • Probably 'Doomed,' But Important Gesture  Commentary's Max Boot appraises, "Obama appears determined to make up for lost time [with India]. In his speech to the Indian parliament, he made a suitably dramatic gesture, calling for India to be granted a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. That is unlikely to happen anytime soon, because other nations are also determined to get a coveted seat — South Africa and Brazil among them. But it’s a good thing to call for because it is an emotional issue for India and an area where we can back Indian ambitions at no harm to ourselves."
  • Sets Great Precedent for U.S.-India Relationship  Foreign Policy's Tom Ricks writes, "This strikes me as the right move strategically. China will be miffed, but that is OK. The message is sent that we will work with our rivals but support our allies. ... Also, it shows that while the U.S. is trying to bolster the rotten regime in Pakistan, we understand where our long-term interests lie. [Obama] should get some credit for not being an idiot about on this."
  • High Time to Reform the Security Council  Think Progress'S Matthew Yglesias sighs, "Reform of the UN Security Council is something of a doomed endeavor, but in my view that’s all the more reason for the United States to play the role of good guy rather than protector of the status quo. India and Japan should have permanent Security Council seats. Brazil too. We should work something out with Africa. The EU should have some kind of consolidate seat instead of separate ones for France and the UK. There shouldn’t be unilateral vetos of UNSC resolutions. ... Over the long run, either these structures will shift or else they’ll become decreasingly relevant. The former would be clearly preferable to the latter, but in either case it makes sense for the United States to try to get ahead of the curve."
  • India Would Join as Part of Greater Shift  The Volokh Conspiracy's Kenneth Anderson writes, "The Obama endorsement is less than meets the eye. It is an endorsement in the context of a larger Security Council reform settlement in which, to start with, permanent membership would likely mean something different from what it means for the P5 now — which is to say, most of the (quasi-) plausible proposals for SC reform, in one version, envision a new group of permanent members who are permanent but lack the veto. That proposal is the most likely to actually work its way through UN reform."
  • Republicans Should Support This  The Weekly Standard's Daniel Halper quotes a "GOP House aid," who approves. "A two-fer for hawks: (1) Fans of the Indians move a little closer to the dream of someday turning India into a billion-sized Britain. (2) U.N. skeptics can now squarely credit Obama for doing more to neuter the U.N. than a hardline hawk could've ever done."
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