ON THE SECURITY COUNCIL: And an observation on neoconservatism. Following on Helen here, an analysis of Article 27(3) of the UN Charter, addressing circumstances when a member of the Security Council needs to recuse themselves from a debate or vote. Also, Kenneth Anderson makes an argument about desuetude and the use of force (if you do not regularly go to Opinio Juris for your international law commentary, you really should).
The observation: say what you will about neoconservative foreign policy, but they take institutions seriously. The UN's inability to perform most of the functions people would consider basic--such as outlawing the use of force in anything besides self-defense--is often taken with a shrug of the shoulders, as if to say, "well, what can you do?" One might try to invoke the order-v-justice distinction here; the UN fails as an institution to support anything like just solutions to a number of international problems, but this is perhaps impossible anyway. So long as it provides order and stability, then it does good. I remain unconvinced, however, that it does as much work as it could with respect to order. The disorder instead happens in parts of the world it's easier to ignore, and what looks like stability--Georgia and Russia agree to disagree on the status of particular territories, but keep hostilities minimal--changes quickly to instability. A neocon is at least prepared to say that if an institution doesn't do the work (for justice or order) that the institution was designed to do, then the institution should be reformed or replaced. In this, they come close to liberalism, but I don't know that closeness to liberalism is fatal, even for conservatives, if the argument is right.