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United Nations Role, Flaws and Future

Posted by yourpakistan on November 5, 2012

PKKH Exclusive | By Sakina Kavi 

One of the most important requisites of the modern international system is having a unified governing force that would control the behavior of actors in system. Wars and anarchy are known as the inevitable facts of the international politics, because of this theory; it is considered important to maintain peace in the international system or else world wars are likely to be the binding truth of this planet. 

The first ever system governing the behavior of countries in international political system came with the formation of the League of Nations after the World War I. The organization came up with a simple aim; no wars should ever break out in the future. 

With this promise, the League of Nations aimed to maintain peace throughout the world. However, the promise was short-lived as the structure of this organization was itself destined to failure. USA, being one of the most powerful nations of the world, refused to join the organization and went on a policy of isolation from the rest of the world. Moreover, Germany was not invited to join the League, as it was seen as the culprit of the WWI and Russia was also not allowed to join, because of it being a communist state. As a result, the two most powerful nations left in the League were France and England, which had already exhausted their financial and military resources, being active actors for years in the First World War. 

As a result, the foundation of the League of Nations itself was destined to cripple. The first and the biggest blow came with the break-out of World War II. This was when the League of Nations was seen as a failed organization and was dissolved as a result. 

Now, keeping the flaws of the League of Nations in mind, another organization, The United Nations was formed. The United Nations came up with similar aims as the League of Nations, those being; facilitating cooperation in the international system in terms of human rights, trade and international security, additionally promoting peace between nations was seen as the utmost priority. 

The structure of the UN consisted of five permanent states, including USA, UK, France, China and Russia. These states were awarded with the magic wand of the veto-power, which deemed them the ability to turn the tables at any of the decisions made under consensus. Therefore, the equilibrium of the balance of power remained unstable, as the authority of making huge decisions remained with the western and the most powerful Asian states. None of the African nations was given the veto-power, nor did any of the Muslim states enjoy this instrument. As a result, the permanent states enjoyed a higher position, while the lesser powerful states remained helpless, as their issues were to be resolved by taking into the court of the UN, where the gavel remained in the hands of the permanent states. The veto power issue, exploited the smaller states, and deprived them of their most essential right in the modern world, the right of democracy. 

At the same time, the voting-rights in the decisions made by countries within the UN were distributed in terms of the contribution of each member state to the budget of UN. Smaller states, suffering from economic crisis within their states itself, obviously failed allocate a huge chunk of their revenue. While USA, till date, being the most powerful state, makes sure to get the last word in every decision taken by allocating 22% to the total budget, the highest paid by any country! 

Moreover, another important aspect that accounts to the failure of carrying out the said motives of the UN is the fact that UN does not give a chance to the oppressed to stand against their exploitation  The Iraq invasion was executed in the name of finding Weapons of Mass Destruction from the country, while the undisclosed main aim of the operation remained to make use of the oil reserves of the country. The invasion of Afghanistan, guised as the ‘War against Terror’ was nothing but a means of creating terror, and depriving Afghanis of their basic humanitarian right for survival, as the women are raped and children are abused everyday by the hands of the US soldiers. However, at the same time, countries like Israel are being provided with technical training and financial aids by the US government to maintain and enhance their resources of WMDs. 

Such discrimination between countries in the international system, and inability of the UN in taking any action against such instances, clearly states the situation of failure of the world organization. At the same time, also creating ripples in the state of harmony of the international system. 

As mentioned earlier, the UN was created after the WWII, in order to control the law and order of the international system, and to ensure that no World War III should take place ever. Although, the UN has been partially successful in the sense that that no World War has taken place since its formation, but it is nevertheless hard to deny that the international system has been in a perpetual state of anarchy and disharmony since then. The Iraq and Afghan wars are just the recent war hit areas, adding to the already lengthy list of war or conflict ridden areas, like our very own Kashmir issue that is till date unresolved. Moreover, The Chinese Civil War from 1945-1949, Vietnam War 1959-1975, Slovenian War in 1991, Yemeni Civil War in 1994 and the Croatian War of Independence 1991-1995, are just a few names added to the already increasing list of wars that the UN became a helpless witness of. Therefore, the UN clearly fails in living up to its promises of maintaining stability and being an organization responsible of taking honest and just decisions. 

It is easy to say that in the current state, where the balance of power remains uni-polar, it is undoubtedly hard to govern the whole system with justice, as one country comes up to be the inevitable ‘lord’ of the rest of the nations. In the current times, the US being the ultimate decision maker owing to its overwhelming prevalence in the UN and its strong military and economic institutions has left no opportunity in keeping the rest of the nations on their toes. 

Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the earlier bipolar system of the balance of power changed to become uni-polar, the mighty US government dominated most of the decisions taken in the international system. Now, none of the states can challenge the sovereignty of the United States, as it enjoys exploiting the rest of the nations of the world, and no UN or any other organization can hinder this. On the other hand, instead of resolving the issues between nations and using its power to save the oppressed, the UN has become a cheap instrument in the hands of the already prosperous nations who are again using it for their political hegemony and monetary gains. The UN is currently standing on superfluous grounds, and this artificial pretending of peace and democracy is only serving to bring humanity closer to severe conditions and an ever-furious world war III. 

Sakina Kavi is an aspiring journalist pursuing a degree in Mass Communication from the University of Karachi. Being a left-winger, Sakina believes in social equality and freedom of speech for all. Sakina tweets @sakinakavi 

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