Since its establishment in 1945 as a symbol of the victory in the World War II by the allies, the United Nations has been of great expectations by many people and governments as an instrument being able to bring a lasting peace and security on the planet. The objective of maintaining a global peace has been entrenched in the Charter of the given international institution as one of its primary statutory goals. Since the time of its creation, the United Nations proved to have carried out a myriad of operations which were a subject of contrasting debates. By analyzing and discussing the appropriate findings, the present paper seeks to answer the most significant question: “Is the United Nations a force for world peace?”
United Nations Statutory Provisions Regarding Peace Maintenance
A consideration of the UN Charter provisions enables to craft a comprehensive legitimate picture of how this institution intends to sustain an international peace and security. Paragraph 1 of Article 1 of the UN Charter lays down that the organization shall have the powers to resort to “collective measures” to address any violations of peace and security and adjudicate a resolution of international conflicts and disputes pursuant to the rules and customs of international law (Charter of the United Nations).
The UN body which is directly responsible for maintaining a global peace and security is the Security Council. Under paragraph 1 of Article 23 of the Charter, the Security Council is composed of 15 member-states (Charter of the United Nations). 5 member-states out of 15 members are deemed to be “permanent”: the United States, China, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom (Danziger 296). Other 10 member-states are “non-permanent” and elected only for 2 years. Each member-state of the Security Council has 1 representative and 1 vote (Charter of the United Nations).
Chapter VII of the UN Charter is of primary significance in the field of sustaining a global peace and security. Articles 39 – 51 prescribe a certain enumeration of the United Nations powers regarding actual threats to a world peace:
1) firstly, the United Nations is entitled to decide if a peace infringement has taken place and whether it violates international law and agreements to consider further possible responses;
2) the organization has the powers to release various recommendations and require that appropriate “provisional measures” be followed by the parties to a conflict;
3) should recommendations and “provisional measures” have failed, the United Nations may utilize “air, sea, or land forces” to prevent any escalation.
Characteristically, the UN members are obliged to provide a military assistance and access to their facilities, as well as a land passage to the organization for the fulfillment of its statutory provisions. The UN peacekeeping implementation is realized through the assistance of the Military Staff Committee (Charter of the United Nations).
Apart from the Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly “serves as a forum for discussion of global issues” (Danziger 296) and thus can play an active role in assisting the Security Council with its important mission of maintaining a global peace, although it does not possess the power to bind UN members. Prior to 1990’s, United Nations’ peacekeeping operations have been dormant, however, after the end of the cold war 47 operations are reported to have been discharged so that 1988 was marked by the Nobel Peace Prize for the United Nations (Danziger 296).
Practical Implications of Peacekeeping Operations
A political analyst Max Boot once reflected on William Shawcross’ position illustrated in his book titled Deliver Us From Evil by stating that even Shawcross who was in good relationships with former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, could not hide that lots of the United Nations missions had failed. For instance, the commentator refers to peacekeeping missions in Rwanda and Bosnia where the United Nations had not succeeded in saving a few hundreds of thousands civilians. Moreover, the United Nations peacekeeping troops were taken hostages.
Another example of the failed peacekeeping diplomacy may be represented by Kofi Annan’s diplomatic negotiations with Saddam Hussein which had taken place in 1998: an agreement respecting “weapons inspections” was arrived at, but Hussein broke his promise. Boot contends that the United Nations’ problem is that its bodies and bureaucrats serve the world’s governments, but not the people ruled by those governments.
The world has become a more complicated picture. A few decades ago, the United Nations peacekeeping mission tasks seemed to be more clear: the UN forces used to enter the country upon a mutual consent of both conflicting parties and were expected to sustain a regime of cease-fire. Currently, the peacekeeping mission starts even without such consent owing to cultural and ethnic nature of recent conflicts (Osman Cavusoglu 4).
The reports and reviews on the UN peacekeeping missions and mandates have released an enumeration of challenges. In particular, the problems revealed are represented by the UN excessive bureaucracy, a lack of the sufficient understanding of the mandate, UN troops’ inability to defend themselves, a poor coordination of the units – all these flaws result in the absence of fear of the UN soldiers on the part of perpetrators (CRU Policy Brief 3; Boot).
Needless to say of the United Nations inability to settle a conflict occurred in the territory of the Eastern Ukraine: the Minsk Agreements 2015 requiring both parties to the conflict to withdraw weapons have been repeatedly infringed since the Minsk negotiations. Nonetheless, the United Nations has managed to adopt the Resolution 2202 (2015) in which the organization expressed its “grave concern” and claimed that the “package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements” be undertaken in full. The consequence of the Eastern Ukraine armed conflict is represented by approximately 6,000 people killed and about 2 million people internally displaced (United Nations. Meetings Coverage and Press Releases; United Nations Resolution 2202 (2015)).
Evidently, as it has been pointed out by James N. Danziger, the United Nations’ true accomplishment in the field of global peace maintenance is that it succeeded in improving the “international political climate” (296). The UN peacekeeping operations face grave stumbles and are fairly the subject of serious debates regarding their effectiveness. Is it a real force for world peace? The findings collected say “yes”, but only on paper – in the Charter and Resolutions.
Boot, Max. "Paving the Road to Hell: The Failure of U.N. Peacekeeping." 1 Mar. 2000. Web. 23 June 2015. <https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/review-essay/2000-03-01/paving-road-hell-failure-un-peacekeeping>.
Charter of the United Nations. Web. 23 June 2015. < http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/preamble.shtml>.
CRU Policy Brief. "The Tricky Business of Using Greater Force in UN Peace Operations." 1 Mar. 2015. Web. 23 June 2015. <http://www.clingendael.nl/sites/default/files/Policy brief UN operations and the use of force - March 2015.pdf>.
Danziger, James. Understanding the Political World. 11th ed. 2013. Print.
Osman Cavusoglu, Emel. "Challenges to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations In the Post-Cold War Era." Web. 23 June 2015. <http://sam.gov.tr/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/EmelOsmanCavusoglu.pdf>.
United Nations Resolution 2202 (2015). Web. 23 June 2015. < http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_res_2202.pdf>.
United Nations. Meetings Coverage and Press Releases. Web. 23 June 2015. < http://www.un.org/press/en/2015/sc11785.doc.htm>.