An organization created to unify the world, to protect us from each other in the ultimate goal of creating world prosperity and unity between one another in the hope of stopping another world war of occurring. This organization is called “The UN’s.”
The idea of a first peace organization was come with up towards the end world war one (1914-1918). This organization was called “The League of Nations,” and was initiated after World War one. This organization had many flaws and could not stop the Germany once again from trying to take over Europe. This thus was the start of World War two.
World War two (1939-1945) was split up into two groups, the Allies and the Axis. The Axis being primarily the Germans and their close allies, which consisted of the Italians, Japanese and Turks. The other group, called the Allies consisted of the nations of America, Great Britain, France, China and Russia.
Towards the end of the war, Europe was left into ruins, its economy was in disasters and people did not have homes to go back to, when the war was over. This lead to some of the allied leaders to meet and talk on what the future should bring. One of these meetings was held between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (The UN – HLS). Though when this meeting took place, America still was not in the war, but were still helping by aiding the Allies, with supplies. Officially the UN’s sprung up, during a secret meeting in August 1941 on board of the worship “Prince of Wales” (The UN – HLS). Though officially, the UN’s was introduced to the world by Roosevelt in January 1942 and was signed by twenty six nations (The UN – HLS). So the framers of the UN were the countries of America and Great Britain, but the other Big Allied Nations received the same powers as the Framers themselves. These five Allied Nations became permanent members and shared equal power (US, Britain, France, USSR, and China).
“At no time in history has there been a more necessary meeting then this one…you members of this conference are to be architects of the better world. In your hands rest’s our future.” Though they do not do as much for our future as they could and say they do. In theory the UN’s overall needs reforms, but when broken down and viewed into the separate branch’s, some of these branches do more then we think, but yet the other branches are a waste of our money and need to be reformed. The UN is an outdated organization, which no country seems to take seriously, not even the countries that created its charters. This is because it is full of people who only care about being members of the organization and receiving large amount money for working within the UN.
First of understanding the purpose of the UN’s is very important. The framers of the UN’s came up with the following outlined hopes for a better world. These ideas were called the “Atlantic Charter” (The UN – HLS). The main ideas of this charter were that; “all countries should have a democratic government, all countries would engage in trade freely with one another, all countries would share in world prosperity, and all counties would seek to reduce their weaponry” (The UN – HLS). The ‘Big five’ though drew up their plans for the international organization, they proposed the following ideas; “The title of the new international body would be UN’s, its purpose would be to maintain international security and peace, it would seek to develop friendly relationships amongst all nations, it would try to tackle international economic, social and humanitarian problems. It would act as a hub for all nations to act together so that all the nations could be towards achieving the good for whole of the world” (The UN – HLS).
Thus the ‘Atlantic charter’ created six separate branches in the UN’s. These consisted of the; General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council, International Court of Justices and Secretariat. The General Assembly’s task is to decide on issues of international peace and security. Within this assembly all the members are represented there equally. For a decision to be passed the vote requires a two thirds majority (The UN – HLS). The Security Council on the other hand is a smaller assembly which is given the task of “securing tranquility and peace.” It consist of 11 members in total, five of which are permanent (USA, Russia, GB, China, France), the other six are rotating members and are elected by the general assembly. For a proposal to pass in the security council it needs 7 members to pass and five of these must be permanent members because anyone of the permanent members have the power to veto a proposal. The Security Council has the ability to recommend a blockade or other financial impositions and can call for military force to take action by the UN (The UN – HLS). Therefore the Security Council is where all the major decisions are made. The UN International Court of Justice is the main judicial body and it contains fifteen members. Out of the fifteen members there can only be to members from the same country at one given time (The UN – HLS). The Last Branch is the Secretariat. This branch contains one member and he is called the Secretary General and he acts as a sort of president of the UN’s, he runs the UN’s. This man or woman is elected by the general assembly.
Early in the life span of the UN’s it started to win wide support by all nations and new members entered it rapidly. It gained a certain prestige due to certain successes it had in the early years. “From 1945 to the 1970s, the UN’s looked to be a strong successor to the failed League of Nations” (UN and Problems). Few of the more known successes were in Mozambique, Cambodia, Angola, Haiti and Congo. Even today some people still find the UN’s a worthy organization. One of the first successes came in Mozambique. Under UN’s monitoring the thirty year civil war had changed from skirmishes on battle fields to legislature. The UN helped initiate a cease fire between Fremlimo, ruling party and Renamo a rebel movement. With the cease fire the UN organized the first democratic national elections (Cooper). Another area of success was in Cambodia. There the UN helped end hostilities between government forces and the Khmer Rouge Guerrillas. This war was one of the bloodiest civil wars today.
The UN once again successfully organized a national democratic election where ninety percent of the people voted (Cooper). Angola also flared into civil war around the cold war time. “Soviet backed government and US backed UNITA rebels raged for two decades” (Cooper). But once again the UN had success in stopping the civil war. But the national elections which were held in Angola were not as successful because the UNITA rebels renewed fighting due to the outcome of the elections. The UN’s came up with a compromise where Angola would have a power sharing government, which would be overseen by UN peace keepers. In July 1994, three years after a military coup in Haiti, the Security Council ordered the UN military, to restore the democratically elected president back into power. One of its most successful operations came when North Korea passed its boarder into South Korea. North Korea almost took over the whole Korean Peninsula until the UN’s and the United States Military came to the help the democratic south. With the help of the UN’s they pushed North Korea all the way to the Chinese boarder but then retreated back the 38th parallel and bunkered it self to protect South Korea from future attacks.
Here are some positive remarks given by people who have worked with the UN or have encountered them within their country. “I am a former employee of the UN. I was a member of an international civil aviation organization technical assistance mission to the Saudi Arabian Presidency for Civil Aviation. ICAO is an agency of the UN development program. International flights too many parts of the world are possible, in my opinion, because of the UN” (David S. Penny USA). One man from East Timor by the name of Jon, Dili said “Countries like East Timor need assistance and the UN more than any other organization has the mandate, ability and experience to do this.” One person from Kosovo has positive options to the UN even though the UN was not very successful in the conflict in Kosovo. He says the “UN is doing a great Job in Kosovo. Kosovo people are grateful for that. UN need reforms, that’s for sure. Germany and Japan has to be a permanent member of UN Security Council as soon as it is possible – Peacekeeping missions have to be more efficient” (qtd. in UN Matter). Lastly a man in Angola states that “the UN is imperfect but like Winston Churchill’s democracy, all the alternatives are worse. But the UN as an organization does not deserve all the blame for the problems that be set it. The UN is a function of the international community; their failures are as much due to lack of political will on behalf the member states” (qtd. in UN Matter).
There are many other operations in the past and today that are relatively successful but the UN’s still has problems and should improve to become a stronger and more efficient peace organization. One of the biggest problems that many people see within the UN’s is within the Security Council. Firstly the Security Council is where all the major decisions are made on what actions the UN needs to take. But within this council not all the members are represented only eleven members are represented here. This is a problem because if there is a problem in your country and you are not one of the members you can not share your insight on the matter at hand. Instead another country makes the decision for you. Another problem to how the Security Council is structured is that there are five permanent members and six rotating members. This means these five permanent members have control of what goes on within the UN’s for ever. But to make the matter worse these five permanent members have the ability to veto each other, so for a proposal to pass all five nations plus two rotating members must agree on the proposal so that it can be taken into action. This obviously shows a major flaw in the system because each of the permanent members can veto each other as a political game, in a way it’s a battle field.
The big five can also stop the introduction of a decision by the general assembly if any of them disagree (The UN – HLS). This shows us that unlike the American system of government, the UN’s does not have a system of checks and balances. After all a decision made by the world should not be vetoed by five nations. Another problem with the system is that some of the permanent members are not strong nations as they were after World War 2. So in theory it is not fair they should be given that power anymore. There are other nations that give more money and support to the UN’s who are not permanent members because of the outcome of World War two. Two of these nations are Germany and Japan. One man from India stated that “the security council has turned out to be a ‘club’ for some nations and does not represent the larger interests of the global community…” (qtd. in UN Matter).
The UN’s has had problems in the past as well even though they had some success as I mentioned above. During the cold war period, the UN was completely useless because Russia and the United States were not going to compromise with one another and only wanted to follow their own foreign policy regardless of the UN’s wishes (UN and Problems). An example of the problems during the cold war can be seen during the occupation by soviet forces in Eastern Europe. This event made a mockery of the promise made at Yalta and other war meetings (UN and Problems). Two other good examples that prove that the Security Council is useless when it comes to international problems which one of the permanent members is a part of can be seen in the Vietnam War which the UN could not stop and the treatment of Hungary in 1956 (UN and Problems). “June 1991, civil war broke out in Yugoslavia. The security council established the UN protection force, though the efforts of the UNPROFOR were unable to prevent the continuing violence and frequent outburst of fighting” (UN and Problems).
Two of the most recent examples of UN failure are the prevention of the US – Iraq war and the tsunami disaster in Asia. “After the tsunami hit Asia it took the UN six weeks to send someone to investigate” (Overhaul) what was required for humanitarian aid, where as Australia and other nations sent supplies almost immediately. The event in Iraq, more then any other, shows us how the UN’s is nothing but a symbol of the past. Just before the war broke out the UN’s sent all its nuclear watch dogs to inspect Iraqi military bases. They came back with no evidence proving that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. But the United States one of the counties that gives the most UN budget and a permanent member ignored the UN’s wished and went to war. They too did not find any weapons of mass destruction. All they succeeded in doing was creating a civil war and initiating a shaky democratic government that is dependent on US military to keep order. This event shows us that the problem today is that the united states is able to flex its muscles and ride rough over decisions which it finds unpalatable (Overhaul). This can be seen in the Suez conflict in the Middle East. What is the world supposed to think of the UN’s after the super power does not even listen to it? The United states in theory only steam rolls its policies over other smaller nations with the UN’s and without it. As states by Randy, “with only one super power in charge, the world will suffer and it is up to the UN to balance that un-checked power” (Overhaul). Another problem that the UN is facing today is that more and more Asian and African nations gain their independence and join the UN creating power blocs within the general assembly (UN and Problems). Today it is possible to see these alliances, for example the Islamic conference which consists of forty one states, Latin American groups (thirty three states), Asian groups and African groups.
One problem that lies within the UN’s is with the member states. Sometimes the member states do not give sufficient funds to provide peace keeping operations which the Security Council has authorized (Masci).
The problem is not only due to the official’s in the Councils but with the people who are paid to work on the fields or offices. Most of the past UN employees or organizations who worked with the UN have given remarks that outline major problems within the employee’s. Fasulo the author of An Insider’s Guide to the UN, stated in her book, “The field coordination is appalling, and the agencies in the field have no real single head. They have a coordinator system that doesn’t work.” Sima visited in June a small Balkan country that has an extensive UN presence. She stated that when she passed an expensive hotel she noticed a large number of UN vehicles parked in front. So she decided to enter the hotel and check it out. When she entered the restaurant in the hotel she noticed a large number of UN officials eating in this expensive hotel. “It seems like the UN staff know, how to make most of it while on duty especially when someone else is paying” (qtd. in UN Matter). Another person by the name Marjorie, who worked for twenty years in the UN, said that she finally left the UN in disgust. The reason for this disgust was because of all the corruption and inefficiency. The last person by the name of Helen was a civilian peace keeper who worked with the UN. She said how she observed the UN failing to offer its staff long term contracts regardless of their good performance. She says that connections tend to matter more then professional skills in the field (qtd. in UN Matter).
The Last major problem today is with the UN budget. The main problem here is that many member countries do not pay their share of UN peace keeping funds which they agreed to pay on when joining the UN’s. From May 31st 2000, member nations owe the UN’s about $2.9 million dollars (Melvern). The only countries that seem to pay these funds are the ‘Big Five,’ and thus they do not wish to give up their power within the UN. Without their funds the UN would be bankrupt (UN and Problems). The Budget of the secretary General is one billion dollars a year where the total cost of peace keeping operations is about $3.6 billion dollars today (UN Necessary).Yet the UN employees are over paid and do not do anything worth that money. The money is waste instead of used for more humanitarian needs. An ex solders named David Taylor, of the UN, him self said that the UN is “staggeringly expensive and inefficient” and they only care about their high pay (qtd. in UN Matter). This is the view taken by many past UN workers.
The UN obviously needs to be reformed and there are a few ideas that some organizations have given to fix the above problems. Firstly if this organization was to be a truly democratic organization it should pass resolutions based on a majority vote and no single country should have more power then others. Secondly since it is a membership organization each member state should do what it agreed on doing, when it entered the organization (Fasulo). According to an organization by the name of “UN vision of Youth Initiative,” there are 9 propositions that should be taken to reform the UN’s. First, establish a panel which can research on how the Security Council can take more preemptive measures. Second, establishing a UN standing army from, contributions of five percent or more, from each member states military capacity. Third, defining the conditions at which humanitarian intervention is justified. Fourth, conduct a research into every UN member states GDP and from that amount .05 % would go towards the UN’s revenue. Fifth, “Extend the jurisdiction of the international criminal courts to all individual players who are knowingly involved in any programs that conflict with international treaties.” Sixth, change the number of votes given to each member state in the General assembly to a formula involving the population, plus the amount of contribution to UN causes. Seventh, create a “convention on minimum standard of education.” Eighth, establish a specific means by which representatives of civil society can contribute more effectively to the UN. Finally, establish an international committee which would collect data to analyze the long term future of mankind and who have the power to create international laws for our safety in the future (UN Vision of Youth).
Another reform that would make the UN stronger would be to eliminate the veto powers that the countries of US, Russia, France, UK and China have. It does make sense that five nations can decide the fate of the whole world with “utter disregard for the majority” (Overhaul). Plus considering that some of the five nations are not world powers as they were when they became permanent members right after WWII. These nations even contribute to the UN less then other nations. I believe that the India, Brazil, German and Japan should be permanent members instead of some of the nations. They should thus create eight permanent and renewable seats allocated on a regional basis, instead of four white nations ruling the UN. Thus if the Security Council had a couple of the strongest countries from each continent, it would be more effective.
Another Improvement that needs to be taken is a way of checks and balances as the United States has within their government. This way each council would have equal power and could question each other. Though within these checks and balances there should be a committee that would appoint and monitor the process of their employees making sure they where doing what they needed to be and if there is an excess of employees, some should be sent home. Though not only should they control the amount of employees, they should pay them less and not allow them to take advantage of the organizations huge amount of funding from international countries. Instead of the money wasted on employees that much needed money should be sent to the poor around the world. Besides since the UN today is low on money it should not allow its employees to go to expensive hotels and eat out on the expensive of tax payers. There for the Secretary General should not receive one billion dollars a year but should instead receive a quarter of that amount and if he needs more ask for voluntary funding (UN Necessary). “Though these proposed alterations may not answer all of the UN’s problems and inefficiencies but are realistically all that can be done for the time” (Overhaul). But the major problem we are faced with is that none of the major nations are willing on reform because that involves them of losing their power. There for a whole New organization created from scratch would be easier and more efficient in the long run.
The UN’s is an outdated organization trying to do good for the world, but unable to succeed due to the way the ‘Big Four’ wrote out the UN charter. It has a reluctance to make decisions and take risks. The UN’s needs an “overhaul,” but making the change to the UN’s is impossible and thus needs to be trashed and recreated following a more democratic form without a security council and without the veto power. Right now all the UN’s is doing is making the rich richer.