Reforming the UN Security Council
Americans support substantial reforms of the UN Security
Council. A large majority favors additional countries
becoming permanent members of the UN Security Council;
with majorities favoring adding Germany, Japan, India,
and Brazil, and a plurality favoring adding South Africa.
Most dramatic, a majority says that the UN Security
Council should have the capacity to override the veto
of a permanent member, including the US.
Americans are largely in support of reforming the UN
Security Council by adding more countries as permanent
members. A BBC/GlobeScan/PIPA poll from December 2004
found a large majority (70%) that favored additional
countries becoming permanent members of the Security
Council, without specifying which countries would be
added. Only 23% were opposed.
When given various specific countries as candidates
for permanent membership in the UN Security Council,
majorities also express support for adding Germany,
Japan, India, and Brazil, with a plurality favors adding
South Africa as well. Asked by the Chicago Council in
July 2006, the greatest majority believed Japan should
be added (66%) followed by Germany (62%). Slight majorities
also favored adding India (53%) and Brazil (52%), with
a plurality favoring the addition of South Africa (45%).
All these numbers are consistent with the results from
when BBC/GlobeScan/PIPA asked these same questions in
However, a majority of Americans does not believe that
the permanent seats of the United Kingdom and France
on the UN Security Council should be replaced by a single
seat for the European Union. When the German Marshall
Fund asked this question in May 2005, 55% said they
strongly (34%) or somewhat (21%) disagreed with this
proposal, while just 36% agreed.
Perhaps the most radical change to the Security Council
that Americans would support is empowering the Council
to override the veto of a permanent member. Presented
this potential change in the December 2004 BBC/GlobeScan/PIPA
poll, 57% favored the change “so that if a decision
was supported by all the other members, no one member,
not even the United States, could veto the decision.”
Just one third (34%) were opposed to the change.