UN Essay, Research Paper
During the First World War several world leaders such as President of the United States(U.S.) Woodrow Wilson and South African Prime Minster Jan Smuts, advocated the need for an international organization that preserved peace and settled disputes by arbitration. When peace negotiations began in October 1918,United States president Woodrow Wilson insisted that his Fourteen Points serve as a basis for the signing of the Armistice . The Armistice included the formation of the League of Nations (here after refereed to as the League). And as the years went by the League grew to be a formidable organization. It’s goals and objectives were precise, they were to attain and maintain world peace. By 1935 the League had declined severely. And In 1945 the League ended and the United Nations (referred to as the UN) took its place. There were a lot of similarities between the two organizations, however the differences were apparent as well. Scholars have tried to ascertain why the League failed to achieve its goals. What were declining factors? Moreover, is the UN a direct result of those factors with a few modifications to satisfy the demands of the world today. The object of this paper to analyze Whether the UN is a direct extension of the League and if so why or why not and under what circumstance?
By 1919 the idea of international co-operation was not new. There had been a few earlier attempts, for example:
The International Red Cross in Geneva 1964; International Telegraph Union in 1865; The International; Meteorological Organization in 1878 and the International Court, The Hague in 1899. However, these were all unsuccessful attempts. So, by April 1919 the constitution of the League was adopted in the Paris Peace Conference . The Aims of the organization were to a) to keep peace and b) to improve living conditions of men and women worldwide.
The League?s Council consisted of the great powers
(Britain, France, Italy and Japan) of 1920 who sat on the council permanently. There were three sanctions against a nation that the League took when any nation broke peace. The sanctions they took were i) Moral sanction which was a polite warning; ii) Economic sanction that was when the League stopped trading with the offender and iii); Military sanction As a last resort the League would impose its will by force. No sanction could be used if a nation used its veto. The idea was that collective action would produce collective security, and thereby peace. These sanctions mentioned were ineffective in cases such as Italy’s action in Ethiopia (1935), Japan’s attack on China (1937) and Russia invasion of Finland (1939). The League’s headquarters was located in Geneva and its first Secretary General was Sir Eric Drummond. As a result of the decision by the US Congress not to ratify the Versailles Treaty , the United States never joined the League of Nations. Others nations such as Brazil, Japan, Germany, The former Soviet Union and Italy joined the League but later left the organization . The League declined rapidly from the mid 1930s to about 1945. After the Second World War, the responsibilities of the League were handed over to the UN.
Despite the many difficulties encountered since the end of the Second World War, the League?s Council has played a significant role in the resolution of a number of international disputes. Between its establishment in 1920 and 1 January 1935, the League?s Council examined a total of 76 questions on a verity of subjects ranging from border disputes to the status of war refugees and from reparations payments to disarmament. Of these questions, over 50 were eventually settled to the satisfaction of all parties as the result of the League?s Council action. A summary of the League?s successes in handling international disputes is too long to list, but the most salient cases included
¨ A 1920 settlement between Sweden and Finland over the Aaland (?land) Islands,
¨ A complicated Treaty of Versailles-related border dispute between newly created Poland and Lithuania lasting from 1920-1923,
¨ The 1922 establishment of a joint administration between Germany and Poland over the status of the territory and peoples of the resource-rich region of Upper Silesia
¨ A 1930 plan assuring the rights of ethnic Hungarians in Romania,
¨ Resolutions of 1925 flare-ups on the Greco-Bulgarian and Greco-Turkish frontiers,
¨ A 1934 discussion of the dispute between China and Japan over Manchuria, (Manchukuo)
¨ Productive negotiations in two conflicts in South America, one between Colombia and Per? and the other between Bolivia and Paraguay .
Regardless of these achievements listed above a lot of states felt that the League was a complete and utter failure. They felt that the League failed to achieve its main goal and objective, which was to attain and maintain world peace. The conflict in the world after the Second World War immense, there was no world peace. The League did not attain peace nor did the League maintain peace. States felt that there were some inherent problems with the structure of the organization. Some states argued that considering the time in which the League was created, it was bound to fail. No organization could stand the rigorous demands of the world at that time. F.H Hinsley said “The collapse of the League was due to many factors, of which the early loss of the United States and the opposition of Germany and Russia, because of the conditions of the League’s origin and its close relationship to the peace treaties, were of great importance. Without these influences the League’s effort to solve basic problems might have been more successful. ” He felt that this argument that the League?s decline was a product of the global structure of the world at that time was a concept not based in reality. The world was in an economic and global chaos at the time, Germany was defiant against the League and its sanctions, United States wanted isolation from European affairs, and France wanted security from the possibility of a third German attack. Nevertheless, that was not the reason why the League failed. This explanation mentioned above would demand belief that in order for an organization to attain peace in the world, it required perfect tranquillity of the world. This Hinsley felt was improbable . World peace is not dictated by the actions of the world around us. If we want peace we must actively seek ways to resolve conflict. World War I should have shown the states that conflict would always be there in the world, it was how they resolved it that made any difference. Furthermore, augments that the League?s structural problems were the sole cause of its decline are not totally accurate.
That is true that the League had structural problems, yes if the League had more enforcement power it might have prevailed. Or if it had some way of ensuring that each member fulfill their end of the obligation to a collective security things might have been different. The structure of the League was formulated in a wrong manner. Even how it conducted its voting policies was flawed. The covenant stated that procedural decisions required only a simple majority, all substantive matters were decided by unanimous vote and all the permanent member had agree. So if Russia got into a conflict that it felt would hinder it’s own interest it could refuse to vote. Also, the way the world was at the time of construction, could the structure of any organization have handled that kind of pressure? That answer is most likely ?no?.
The last theory for the decline of the League is that it was misfortune. Had the League not had so many misfortunate incidents where it failed to preserve peace it could have succeeded. This argument is unsound. Misfortune is one thing, but “?if these particular obstacles to success had not existed, others would have taken their place. ” so the argument that misfortune over one thing or another as the reason why the League declined is inaccurate. The reason why the League declined so rapidly was because the organization?s concept at the time that League was created was less then favorable. After World War I states could not believe such global devastation could take place. States were determined to make sure that that kind of global mayhem never took place again. When states such as the US and Russia discovered means to keep their own state governments together they felt that could create a unified national government to do the same thing, a sort of government of governments. F.H Hinsley put it best, he said,” It is not always evident that where there is a will there is way. ” Moreover, that was how the some state felt. Most of them felt that if they just put their wills together they could come up with the perfect organization to attain and maintain peace in the world. This concept while well intended was not based on the reality of the world. Putting wills together to come up with the perfect government is not proof that that government will work. Another thing that these states failed to realize was the thought that some states might not want to participate in this government of governments. Thus, the organizational concept behind the League?s creations had good intention but the execution was poor. This kind of thought process by the states mentioned above is some of the reasons why the League came began to decline by 1935.
The League was still operational on paper until the actual date of the creation of the UN in 1945. President Franklin D. Roosevelt coined the name United Nations, in 1941 to describe the countries fighting against the Axis . The UN officially became operational on January 1st 1942, when 26 states joined in to swear a declaration to the United Nations, pledging themselves to continue their joint war for the pursuit of peace and not to try to peace separately. The need for an international organization to replace League was first stated officially on October 30th 1943, in the Moscow in a declaration issued by China, Great Britain, the United States, and the USSR. At the Dumbarton Oaks Conference of August and October of 1944, those four countries drafted specific proposals for a charter for the new organization, and at the Yalta Conference in 1945. Further agreement was reached that all the states that had ultimately adhered to the 1942 declaration and had declared war on Germany or Japan by March 1st 1945 were called to the founding conference held in San Francisco April 25th June and 26th 1945. Drafted at San Francisco, the UN charter was signed on June 26th 1945 and ratified by the required number of states on October 24th 1945. The General Assembly first met in London on January 10th 1946. Then at that time it was decided by the state involved to re-locate the UN headquarters to the United States in December of 1946. The original vision for the organization and cold war realities showed states that the UN had evolved naturally just as the first organization international organization did.
Originally the UN was composed largely mainly European countries, Commonwealth Countries, and Nations of the Americas. It was conceived as an organization of ?peace-loving? nations, who were combining to prevent future aggression and for other humanitarian purposes. In this Essence it was not unlike the League of Nations. Close cooperation among members was expected; the Security Council especially was expected to work in relative unanimity.
There are several instances of cooperation with the United States by other powers that allowed the UN to succeed in restoration or preservation peace.
These included a) the settlement (1946) of the complaint of Syria and Lebanon that France and Great Britain were illegally occupying their territory. b) The UN?s concern over the Arab-Israeli conflicts. The UN continues to strive for a just and lasting peace. c) The fighting over Kashmir between India and Pakistan. d) The withdrawal of the Dutch from Indonesia. e) The Turmoil over the former Yugoslavia troubles. I.e. Kosovo crises. f) The Occupation of Kuwait by Iraq. g) The Peace keeping process of Northern Ireland.
h) In 1993 In Afghanistan, the UN Special Mission worked to facilitate national reconciliation and reconstruction needed as a result of the country’s protracted civil war.
i) And the UN?s campaign against apartheid in South Africa
are just a few of its amazing achievements .
The lists of achievements by the UN are enormous that they can’t all be listed. Notwithstanding, that the UN but the UN has had its share of difficulties. For instance in reaction to the limitations that the cold war imposed on the UN Security Council, the United States, Britain, France, and other nations tried to develop the General Assembly beyond its original scope. In the assembly the United States and Great Britain had strong support from among the Commonwealth countries and Latin American countries and generally commanded a majority. Of more importance were procedures evolved in the Korean crisis in 1950. At that time the Soviet Union was boycotting the UN Security Council because of the UN?s refusal to admit the People’s Republic of China as a member. Since the USSR was not present to cast a veto, the Security Council was enabled to establish armed forces to repel the North Korean attack on South Korea. Thus, at a time when the young organization had begun to seem politically sterile, the veto paralyzed the council. Although the assembly has convened a few times under this situation, its authority to require action by members has remained vague, and it has never really developed workable enforcement machinery. Another problem encountered by was that, some states were not so open to UN intervention. Some states liked the intervention however; this was only where world opinion and great power responsiveness favored it. Example of this is in the struggle for independence in Morocco, Algeria, and elsewhere, the ruling colonial powers claimed these conflicts to be domestic. With their seats on the Security Council they were in a position to veto assembly resolutions, and with the official governments of rebellious territories under their control they were enabled to forestall UN intervention. That is the reason why there are several reforms going in the UN today. States are trying to get the UN to match its objectives with out intervention witch is Implausible.
Of course these are just a few tribulations that the UN is encountering. Over all the UN is an outstanding organization. The UN has become an achievement of these modern times. Example of the UN in its laurels is in late 1998, there were 16 operations deploying about 14,347 UN military and civilian police personnel. The number of personnel was down considerably from the peak of 80,000 reached in 1993. At that time, of 14 operations, 3 (in Cambodia, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia) accounted for some 63,000 uniformed personnel, or 80 per cent of the total. In contrast, the number of operations has remained relatively steady over a number of years, varying between 14 and 17 at any one time. These include several long running operations, such as those in Cyprus and in Jammu and Kashmir, whose presence is seen as essential despite the seemingly intractable nature of the conflicts. In 1998, new operations were established in the Central African Republic and in Sierra Leone. The number of countries volunteering uniformed personnel has also remained steady at about 75. In total, 118 countries have provided military and civilian police personnel to UN peacekeeping operations. UN peacekeepers increasingly support peace efforts and help alleviate suffering in civil wars and ethnic conflicts. UN peacekeepers increasingly cooperate with other partners, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations, in their efforts to rebuild war-torn societies. UN peacekeeping continues to play a crucial role in helping the international community resolve conflict. It remains the pre-eminent symbol of international cooperation and a catalyst for peaceful settlement of disputes today. Some say unlike its predecessor the League; the UN has made positive strides. There are obvious differences between the two. Yet, there are some similarities.
Some similarities between the two organizations is their goals and objectives:
1. They both want to maintain international peace and security, and to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to that peace. Also to suppress any acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace. Or to try and bring about by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and internal law, adjustment or settlement of international dispute situations which might lead to a breach of peace.
2. They both want to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
3. To achieve international cooperation in solving internal problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. And yet neither of them has really achieved these objectives.
4. Another similarity is its structure. This is not to say that the UN and the League have the same organizational structure, on the contrary, it is stating that UN has structural problems similar to that of the League. The League had problems adapting to the World around it the turmoil etc. An example is they had an organization that they thought would work if they had a Security Council that gave sanctions. However, what they failed to realize was that the sanctions were based on the thought that states would listen to the council. The UN has trouble adapting to the world around it too. It believes that it can take some of the powers away from the Sate sovereignty by using force and intervention. What it fails to realize just like the League did is that states are going to want their independence without the interference of any foreign involvement.