One of the most cited quotations is Albert Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again in the expectation of a different result each time. I though of that on reading in The Japan Times ("Japanese envoy presses for UNSC entry," June 3) that Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa had said Japan should logically be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as the second biggest financial contributor to the U.N. budget (10.8 percent). Japan joined the U.N. in 1956 and has been elected to the UNSC 10 times for two-year terms.
Japan's ambition for permanent membership was first expressed by Foreign Minister Yohei Kono in 1994 in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly. More than a decade ago Japan joined Brazil, Germany and India in the so-called Group of Four (G-4) in a major push for UNSC restructuring. This faltered in the 2005 U.N. reform effort against determined opposition from some existing five permanent members (P-5) and many regional rivals of the aspirant states.
Japan is not alone in keeping the dream alive. In his first address to the General Assembly last September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India's claim. He brought up the subject again during his trip to China in May. Modi is yet to grasp, if only to shed, a distinctive pathology of Indian foreign policy: it is typically aspirational without being programmatic. Consistent with that pathology, the G-4's claims to status and recognition as permanent members of the UNSC are articulated as national entitlements when they should be based on political strategy.