Multilateral Constraints on the Use of Force: A Reassessment

  • March 01, 2006
  • Dr Seyom Brown

The difficulty of achieving a multilateral consensus in the NATO Alliance can create more of a crisis than does the difficulty of generating an effective UN response to threats to international peace and security. NATO was supposed to be America's prime multilateral institution for obtaining legitimation and support of military action when the UN Security Council was paralyzed because of the veto. But as it has turned out Washington's ability to obtain a Brussels imprimatur for U.S.-led multilateral military operations has become almost as hard as (and in some cases even harder than) obtaining UN endorsement. And whereas proposals to change the UN Security Council's voting rules have become a matter for open discourse among statespersons, such discourse with respect to the North Atlantic Council is shied away from as subversive of the ethos of the Alliance.