Since the formation of the United Nations, the creation of a standing UN military force has repeatedly been proposed.1 Such a force has been seen as a means of improving the organisation’s response to urgent problems of international war, civil war and mass killings; as a way of expediting the provision of peacekeeping forces to back up ceasefire and peace agreements; and as a basis for preventive deployments to ward off imminent dangers. The Security Council has generally been envisaged as having a key role in the creation and direction of such a force.