Strengths and Weaknesses of the United Nations

How to Make it a More Effective International Organization

Term Paper, 2010

11 Pages, Grade: 90


Strengths and Weaknesses of the United Nations:

And How to Make it a More Effective International Organization

In response to the issues that led to both World Wars, the UN was founded in 1945 by a charter signed by fifty-one countries around the globe so that bloody catastrophes like those between 1914 and 1945 would never happen in that scale again. World War I, between 1914 and 1918, was the result of secret treaties and alliances that eventually pulled all the nations involved down into violent conflict. Like a house of cards tipped by the slightest nudge, the shaky diplomatic climate of the multipolar world in the beginning of the twentieth century tumbled into modern warfare on a scale never before seen in any society. New vehicles, new weapons, and new devastation ruined the lands and the peoples of Europe, Africa, the Atlantic and the Pacific. In 1918, the dust and smoke of war settled as the Germans, Ottomans and Austro-Hungarians submitted to France, England and the United States. Woodrow Wilson, the professor president of the United States through the years of war and thereafter stepped into the forefront of the peace talks. Preaching to the nations of the conferences that their states had a moral obligation to the international community, he introduced the predecessor of the UN, the League of Nations. Worked out of the original concept of the League to Enforce Peace, under the Taft administration, the League of Nations was born

"In order to promote international cooperation and to secure international peace and security by the acceptance of obligations not to resort to war, by the prescription of open, just, and honorable relations between nations, by the firm establishment of the understandings of international law as the actual role of conduct among Governments, and by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another..."[1]

The Preamble of the Constitution of the League of Nations spelled out the function and purpose of the organization as it was instituted to protect the world and the international system from any future conflicts as destructive as the first World War. Cooperation between nation-states and mediation in conflict areas was the godsend of the League, as it became the first global body to establish an open platform for discussion within the international system. However, hope that the League of Nations would fix all the world's problems was smothered when "Germany emerged from World War I as a dissatisfied power" after the '20s and '30s.[2] After the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazi party, Germany seized the opportunity to push its armies through central Europe and begin another war in 1939. This became a global conflict that involved Italy, England, the Soviet Union, Japan and the United States. In the end, the Second World War resulted with the establishment of two great powers, the United States and the Soviet Union. These allies during World War II became bitter enemies after 1945 as ideological and political differences tore them apart. The now dissolved League of Nations was replaced when the United Nations Charter came into effect on October 24 in 1945.[3] Five permanent member states signed onto the Security Council: China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. Their collective influence empowered the organization and gave it the legitimacy that the League of Nations lacked. The UN flowered thereafter as it became a catalyst for change in response to humanitarian crises and the propensity of war. Social services developed around the world thanks to the organization, and conflict resolution became a key facet of the intergovernmental agency. The United Nations in its current state is subject to much scrutiny. Despite its strength in its work in protecting and serving the needs of humanity and functioning as mediatory power for international conflict resolution, the UN does falter as a "world government" as it heralds little hegemony and is ineffective at being a progressive power.

From its earliest conception, the United Nations was intended to serve the governments of the world as a platform for discussion. During the Cold War Era, of politics, as the world was divided East and West, Capitalist and Communist, U.S. and U.S.S.R., the UN had its first opportunities to establish its role as a mediator in the international system. Surprisingly, the first conflict the UN was involved in was not between the Soviet Union and the United States; rather, it concerned the establishment of an Israeli state on the Eastern Mediterranean coast. In 1948, the UN established thr United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) "to supervise the Armistice Agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbours."[4] Violence erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians and their Arab allies in response to the foundation of the sovereign State of Israel. The United Nations, through the UNTSO worked as the mediatory force to settle the conflict. The organization brought the heads of both groups to the table for conferences to discuss solutions, instead of using war to gain control of areas. The United Nation's work with Israel and the Arab States around the Mediterranean set the precedent for UN Peacekeeping work. Every decade into the present, the organization has used Peacekeeping forces to slow down aggression and begin peaceful negotiations between belligerent parties. As a result, the United Nations was quickly elevated into an organization with meat on its bones. It immediately gained more recognition and respect than its predecessor the League of Nations did. As the decades rolled on, the world still faced violent confrontations on nearly all its continents. The UN gained more respect and strength as their charter was being honored via the organization's work.


[1] Powell, Lyman. "CONSTITUTION OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS." In America and the League of Nations; Addresses in Europe, Woodrow Wilson. New York: General Books Llc, 2009. 199.

[2] Duignan, Peter . "Causes." In World War Two. Palo Alto, California: Stanford University, 1995. 1.

[3] United Nations. "Charter of the United Nations: Introductory Note ." Welcome to the United Nations: It's Your World. .

[4] United Nations. "UNTSO - United Nations Truce Supervision Organization ." United Nations Truce Supervision Organization. .

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Strengths and Weaknesses of the United Nations
How to Make it a More Effective International Organization
LMU Munich
Introduction to International Politics
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ISBN (Book)
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united, nations, un, united nations, international organizations, igo, intergovernmental, organizations, world, politics, sharma, analysis
Quote paper
Nikolas Eristavi (Author), 2010, Strengths and Weaknesses of the United Nations, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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