Is the United Nations a Vehicle to Solely Promote the Interests of Powerful – Assignment Example

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The paper "Is the United Nations a Vehicle to Solely Promote the Interests of Powerful " is an outstanding example of an assignment on politics. This paper critically evaluates whether the United Nations, a post-Second World War institution, is used solely to satisfy the interests of the more powerful signatory states that wield veto powers. It contends that these powers arrogated unrestricted veto power to themselves and have resisted reforms to its exercise in the service of their individual or collective strategic interests. In doing so, the essay is organized in an introductory section, sections contextualizing the argument, and a conclusion restating the most important points. The United Nations (UN) and its principal bodies is an organization unlike any other and is a powerful non-state actor in global geopolitics, and humanitarian interventions. Founded in 1945 by fifty-one (51) countries that became signatories of the UN Charter, the UN was formed exclusively within the context of the Second World War. Indeed, the UN Charter expressly defined “enemy states” as specifically referring to Germany and Japan. Despite the latter two countries’ ascension to UN membership, this definition remains to stand, further illustrating the circumstances behind the UN’s formation seven decades ago. Of the several bodies that make up the United Nations, the UN Security Council (UNSC) is the most consequential. Other than the General Assembly, the UNSC’s role as a sponsor of major policy innovations and organizational agenda is unparalleled. However, despite existing from the very beginning, this principal organ still has only the five permanent (i.e. the P5), veto-wielding allocated in 1945. Hitherto, this composition has remained unchanged. The veto power was restricted to the Allies, victors of the Second World War. So clear can this line be drawn between veto powers and victory in the Second World War that regional countries such as Italy and South Korea see expanding permanent membership at the UNSC to countries that lost that war as a reward and not as Security Council reform. Despite being supremely consequential in global and regional politics, the static nature of this principal body has historically elicited legitimization concerns. While UNSC reform is an important theme animating competing initiatives to reform the United Nations, this is not the full extent of the motivations. Targets of reform, successful or otherwise, also extended to operational, supervisory, and managerial aspects of UN programs. These include the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Secretariat, and programs operationalizing peacebuilding, human rights, and developmental aid initiatives. Other areas of reform include personnel reform to search for, attract, retain, promote, and motivate high-quality staff while making them accountable and auditable. These reform issues have led to the creation of organizations such as the Human Rights Council. Despite several reform successes, the resilience of the UNSC’s composition despite a radically different global order vis-à-vis that in 1945 presents numerous legitimacy misgivings. Legitimization issues revolve around several themes. Firstly, the Security Council, as opposed to the usually declarative General Assembly, is unassailably prescriptive and may unilaterally extend the UN Charter without GA participation. This unilateral action, of which there are several, overlooks equal participation of signatory states and may not be in service of the common welfare or provide collective solutions. Ultimately, this legitimacy deficit robs opportunities for accountability and precipitate the loss of the foundational right to issue binding decisions. Several solutions have been proposed to resolve this legitimacy gap. Membership expansion and more specifically, UN Security Council member expansion, is the conventional approach to bringing the outdated structure of the UN to reflect the present state of geopolitics. Proposals for enlargement have been organized along with three (3) primary initiatives: Uniting for Consensus, Group of Four, and the African Union expansion initiatives. Ultimately, these competing and sometimes adversarial reform initiatives, building on a long and storied history of UN enlargement, are meant to eliminate the dissatisfaction of member states that are not beneficiaries of the privilege of the veto. There is an urgency to these reforms, especially at the UN Security Council. The path towards this reform is disputed primarily because the reforms are in conflict with strategic issues of the individual P5 countries and regional powers. This conflict emanates from the geopolitical origin of the present UN structure, imposed by a coalition of victorious countries intent on protecting their preferred terms of peace. This domination of the United Nations in general, and enshrined in the UN Charter itself, by powerful states has come at the expense of lesser powerful countries. Case in point, the deadlock and arguable indifference of the UNSC to the war and historic humanitarian situation in Syria, has led to tragic violence and human suffering that would have been otherwise intolerable and resolvable if there was expanded membership that relegated geopolitics. Indeed, countries at the receiving end of the UNSC’s resolutions are almost always excluded from the procedural flow that led to said decisions. As such, the veto-wielding P5 countries coerce un-represented and weaker signatories, undermining their sovereignty in favor of the former’s national interests. Where the UNSC is deadlocked, it is often unable to check the unilateral action of any of these powerful P5 states such as was the case when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. This unchecked exploitation solely promotes the interests of the powerful countries and catastrophically erodes the legitimacy and effectiveness of the United Nations. Combined, these are sure recipes for inequality, human rights violations, conflict, and humanitarian crises. On the other hand, where crises that can otherwise be resolved through collective solutions, P5 states elicit Security Council paralysis to serve their national interests. In addition, weaker and non-represented countries contribute significantly to the functioning of the United Nations. For instance, while veto powers were also a reward to Second World War victors, there was also an upfront reward to the P5 countries that would contribute military resources for a standing UN armed forces. Global superpowers never paid this quid pro quo premium and non-P5 countries have paid in blood and other resources without the attendant reward. The United Nations exists and operates to serve zero-sum geopolitical intrigue, with powerful states coercing and exploiting those that are not in alignment. This situation is untenable. Political realities dictate that voting privileges and membership be re-structured to avoid this form of exploitation lest signatory states become emboldened and seek alternatives elsewhere.



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