In a crisis situation, war is the unspoken last resort. But in the Historical United Nations Security Council, set in 1973, war just might be inevitable.
“We wanted to do something during that time period because there’s a lot of stuff that went on there that’s not talked about often in MUN,” says Prannoiy Chandran, the committee chair. “Everyone just talks about the Cuban Missile Crisis, when there are so many other topics that have scope for so much debate.” Ethan Dodd, the crisis director, adds, “we were just as close to nuclear war during the Arab-Israeli War.”
This tension is enhanced by the accuracy of the committee. Chandran and Dodd have taken extra steps to ensure that their committee is historically accurate, despite potential confusion.
“We don’t have Israel or Palestine or Egypt in our committee at all. We are using the actual UNSC makeup from 1973, so some of those countries will be wondering why they’re there, but we feel this adds to the realism of it,” explains Chandran. The idea behind this is that no single delegate will dominate debate.
Another unique aspect of this committee is that delegates will discuss two topics, the Yom Kippur War and the 1973 Chilean Coup d’Etat. Dodd thinks that this will make for fast-paced and rich sessions. “It’s pretty rare for a historical UNSC. We’re trying to give both equal airtime and not just have one as a backup,” he says.
As a committee chair, Chandran hopes that delegates will be active in debate and make bold decisions. “I really hope people other than the P5 [primary 5 countries] speak up. I really want to see a non-P5 nation suddenly do something crazy and become threatening,” he says.
As a crisis director, Dodd is more excited to see how delegates respond to the updates. Delegates will have the chance to send notes to the crisis staff and tie in global issues to their conflict. “I think it will be interesting to see how delegates rise to the occasion and address things in a broader, global historical context,” exclaims Dodd.
This is undoubtedly a historical committee, and the topics reflect the foreign tensions of the time. Nevertheless, we can see the effects of these conflicts today. Dodd notes, “what people don’t realize about the 1973 Yom Kippur War is that it was, in effect, a proxy war between the United States and the USSR. These tensions, of course, are boiling up again today.”
Indeed, modern conflicts in Syria and the Ukraine are also small proxy wars waged by larger global powers. “This war [in 1973] played a huge role in shaping the borders and the tensions and the alliances in the region that echo today,” says Chandran. “For anyone who’s been keeping up with the news and current affairs, there are going to be a lot of parallels when they come to this committee to what we’re seeing today.”
Above all, the goal is to collaborate on viable solutions. Dodd states, “I want them to actually solve the problem. A lot of crisis committees involve people trying to screw each other over. As a CD, while I do want to see shady stuff behind the scenes, I do want to see them actually solve the crisis.”
The two staffers have put a lot of effort into designing the committee, and in the end they’re hoping that it will encourage teamwork and real-world goal setting. “It is the UN; we’re trying to work together to solve the problem,” says Dodd.
Above all, it is to be understood that with great power comes great responsibility. “I don’t want to see too many nukes at the end of the day,” concludes Chandran. “I really hope that this will test the delegates. Nukes aren’t great for crisis.”