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Academic Paper, 2018
CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION OF UNITED NATIONS
BALANCE OF POWER THEORY
REALISM AND LIBERALISM
THE PRINCIPAL ORGANS OF THE UNITED NATIONS.
CHALLENGES OF UNITED NATIONS
PROBLEMS CONFRONTING THE UNITED NATIONS
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS
This paper x-rayed the origin of the United Nations. Also, of fundamental importance of this study is the administration of the organs of the United Nations and their roles and functions to the organisation and the international system in particular. This study also beamed its search light on some specialised agencies of the United Nations and looked at global events that informed and propel the formation and establishment of the United Nations. This paper adopted the secondary method of data collection and as well, adopted four theoretical frameworks for its analysis, such as: Elite theory, the principle of Balance of Power, Realism and Liberalism and structural functionalism. it was found that the UN six main organs carry out functions assigned to them by the charter establishing the body and they are tailored to stabilize and ensure peaceful relations among nations of the world, it was also found that the UN functions are hampered by issues of finance, member nations agitation for restructuring the world body and problem of enforcement. In conclusion, it was recommended that the UN do all within its power to listen and respond to agitation for restructuring of the world body if the agitation is coming from majority of its member. It should be responsive to the compelling and majority demand of its members. With this, the issue of insolvency will be mitigated as member will contribute more to success story and victories of the world body.
The growing need for nationalism, the competition for empires, military build ups and rival alliances created an explosive situation in Europe from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century. When then on June 28, 1914 a Serbian nationalist assassinated Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo, the stage was set for First World War, (David 1969). The war spread rapidly and new weapons helped to make it more deadly than previous conflicts combined. Both the allied and central powers suffered heavy casualties in terms of human and material resources. Both parties emerged from the war in 1918 with great hunger for peace. The attempt and effort to address the question of international peace in the world culminated in the birth of the League of Nations on January 10, 1920. It was an integral part of the Treaty of Versailles, which was an end product of peace settlement that followed the end of the First World War. Woodrow Wilson fourteen points, proposed an organisation that would settle disputes between nations, and guarantee their independence and security and so provision for it was built into the Versailles Treaty, (Leonard & Wood, 1985).
The idea was not new. The congress system which followed the Napoleonic Wars, had the same objective and it was for the same reason that ad-hoc conferences were called to consider disarmament at Hague in 1899 and 1907. However, the contention of William Rapprod that the league of Nations represented a major advancement and progress in institution building for the maintenance of international peace and security, is very true, William (1985).
The League of Nations was an association of states, which had pledged themselves, through signing the covenant not to go war before submitting their disputes with each other, or states who were not members of the league, to arbitration or enquiry, (Chris and John, 1973). The covenant was made up of the twenty-six articles establishing the machinery of the league.
By 1939, none of its diplomatic procedures of the league could save the world from the Second global war and as a result of this game rise to the emergence of the United Nations. United Nation emerged from years of intense debate tainted by the failure of the league of Nations during the interwar period, was founded on many of the conclusion reached at the 1944 Dumbarton Oaks conference in Washington D.C., which was attended by representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The name United Nations was coined by United States president Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was first used in the declaration by United Nations on 1st January, 1942, during the second world war, when representatives of twenty-six (26) nations pledged their governments to continue fighting together against the Axis powers - the nations that fought in the World War II.
Before the end of the Second World War, the devastation caused by it was widespread. Leaders of the great powers believed that world peace could only be guaranteed by a concert of the world powers through the establishment of an institution that would be given such responsibility. The idea of retaining the league of nations with drastic changes was not acceptable.
Thus, negotiations leading to the signing of the charter of the United Nations (UN) began from proposal agreed upon at discussion held at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington Dc , between the Soviet Union, United States of America and the United Kingdom from 21st August to September 28 and between the United State, United Kingdom and China from 29th September to 7th October, 1944, (Chris & John, 1973). These proposals were brought before the United Nations conference on International Organisation held at San Francisco from the 25th to 26th June 1945. The delegates of fifty countries signed the charter on 26th June 1945 after amendments have been made to the original proposals. The ratification of all the signatories was received by 31st December, 1945.
The United Nations is therefore an association of States which have pledged themselves, through the signing of the charter, to maintain International peace and security and cooperation in establishing political, economic and social conditions under which this task can be securely achieved. It is second of the Universalist International Organisation to be established after 1919 and dedicated to the peace and security in the world. The United Nations formally came into existence on 24th October 1945, with its Headquarters in New York City, U.S.A. Its membership is opened to all peace loving states whose admission is effected by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. The United Nations member states are the 193 sovereign states that are members of the United Nation and have equal representation in the United Nations General Assembly. ("What are member states?, United Nations", n.d.)
In political science and sociology, elite theory is a theory of the state which seeks to describe and explain the power relationships in contemporary society. The theory posits that a small minority, consisting of members of the economic elite and policy-planning networks, holds the most power and that this power is independent of a state's democratic elections process, (Bottomore, 1993). Through positions in corporations or on corporate boards, and influence over the policy-planning networks through financial support of foundations or positions with think tanks or policy-discussion groups, members of the "elite" are able to exert significant power over the policy decisions of corporations and governments. An example of this can be found in the issue of permanent seats for the big five with voting powers has led some observes to criticise the council as undemocratic. Democracy is actually a form of government organised in accordance with the principle of popular sovereignty, political equality, popular consultation and majority rule. A succinct consideration of democracy vis-à-vis the practice of veto will reveal that the Security Council does not approximate the principle of democracy especially in considering substantive matters.
Secondly, the principle of popular sovereignty which holds that decision-making power be vested in all the members of an organisation does not hold in the Security Council, since the Charter gives the permanent members special voting rights to defeat anonymous decisions of a great majority of the members of the Council. The sovereign equality is far from reality, hence the operations of the Council tends to suggest that only the permanent members are actually sovereign, since each of them could unilaterally frustrate the operation of the Council by casting a negative vote.
The balance of power theory in international relations suggests that national security is enhanced when military capability is distributed so that no one state is strong enough to dominate all others, Cobden (1975). If one state becomes much stronger than others, the theory predicts that it will take advantage of its strength and attack weaker neighbours, thereby providing an incentive for those threatened to unite in a defensive coalition. Some realists maintain that this would be more stable as aggression would appear unattractive and would be averted if there was equilibrium of power between the rival coalitions.
This theory justifies the objective and goals of United Nations Organisation in providing international peace among nations, that an injury to one is an injury to all. You will agree with this fact that, balance of power theory is very much present in United Nations Organisation operations in pursuit of peace and security, through the use of various sanctions, in order to command strict adherence in providing world peace and preventing Third World War, through her Security Council.
Realism and Liberalism are being used to explain the United Nations system by focusing on the UN and their interactions.
Realism emphasis the condition on politics imposed by human nature and the nonexistence of international government. Together they conceded international relations largely a realm of power and interest, (Omu & Otoide,, 2002). Liberalism came under the influence of various intellectuals minds and believe that state and non state actors are partners in the development process and as such should open up her economy to each other and that will create lasting peace in the world, Aneek( 2010). Thus realism is a power theory theory to achieve objectives, and Liberalism is balance power which appear to be more optimistic and cooperative of nation-states.
The realists emphasis on anarchy, it does not mean that they see the International system as falling into chaotic, but without a central government. The contrary, Liberals, point to balance of power of actors in international affairs, as a source of order in the international system. The realists view states as principal actors in the international system, that the UN is just a marginal actor that states can use to achieving its objectives through the ways they use the UN to legitimate their actions.
Structural functionalism Theory:
Structural functionalism Theory, or in many contexts simply functionalism, a broad perspective in sociology and anthropology which sets out to interpret society as a structure with interrelated parts. Functionalism addresses society as a whole in terms of the function of its constituent elements; namely norms, customs, traditions and institutions. A common analogy, popularized by Herbert Spencer, presents these parts of society as "organs" that work toward the proper functioning of the "body" as a whole. Urry, (2000). In the most basic terms, it simply emphasises "the effort to impute, as rigorously as possible, to each feature, custom, or practice, its effect on the functioning of a supposedly stable, cohesive system." Bourricaud, (1981) For Talcott Parsons, "functionalism" came to describe a particular stage in the methodological development of social science, rather than a specific school of thought. The functionalist approach was implicit in the thought of the original sociological positivist, Auguste Comte, who stressed the need for cohesion after the social malaise of the French Revolution. It was later presented in the work of Émile Durkheim, who developed a full theory of organic solidarity, again informed by positivism, or the quest for "social facts". Functionalism shares a history and theoretical affinity with the empirical method. Latter sociological functionalists such as Niklas Luhmann and Talcott Parsons, however, can be viewed as at least partially anti-positivist. Parsons, (1975) Whilst one may regard functionalism as a logical extension of the organic analogies for society presented by political philosophers such as Rousseau, sociology draws firmer attention to those institutions unique to industrialised capitalist society (or modernity). UN being a body with its organs to function in interdependence and inter-relatedness, the structures tend to perform functions of stabilsing the global for humanity.
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