Peace Enforcement

Topics: United Nations, Peacekeeping, United Nations Security Council Pages: 6 (2256 words) Published: June 14, 2013
The United Nations was officially created when its charter was signed on June 26, 1945, by 51 countries, including the United States. The new international organization was the successor of the League of Nations, which had been formed by U.S. president Woodrow Wilson at the end of World War I in an attempt to prevent the kind of military aggression that might lead to future global conflicts. Unfortunately, the League had proved to be ineffective early on. Both Japan and Germany had withdrawn from the organization in the early 1930s and had later become the aggressors in World War II. Throughout 1943 and 1944, representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and China—allies during World War II—had met to discuss the formation of an international organization that would replace the League of Nations. At the end of the war, this organization—the United Nations—was formally established. The U.N. grew from 51 members in 1945 to 185 by its fiftieth anniversary in 1995. The U.N.’s charter set out four primary goals: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind . . . ; to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights . . . ; to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained; and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.” In order to promote these goals, the organizers established six different bodies. The Security Council, which consists of five permanent members (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China) and ten rotating member countries, was given primary responsibility for international peace and security. The General Assembly, to which all members belong, decides budgetary matters and votes on policy issues. The other bodies are the Secretariat, the Economic and Social Council, the Court of Justice, and the Trusteeship Council. The United Nations’ earliest priorities were nuclear arms control and disarmament, the protection of human rights, securing the independence of colonized countries, and the development of poorer countries. To control nuclear armaments, the U.N. promoted bans on nuclear testing, including undersea and space tests. It created the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1957 to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and in 1968 it drafted the Non- Proliferation Treaty to halt the spread of nuclear weapons to more countries. The creation of the 1946 Commission on Human Rights led to the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In order to improve agriculture, health care, communications, and economic development, a number of specialized agencies were formed, including the U.N. Development Programme and the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development. The U.N. often functions in cooperation with other international organizations, such as the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization. Though solving world health, population, development, and arms control problems is a large and vital part of the U.N. operation, many of the most cur- rent and strident debates have centered on peacekeeping, a term that appears nowhere in the U.N. charter but has always been the organization’s foremost priority. The term “peacekeeping” was first used to describe the activities of the first U.N. observer mission in 1948, in which U.N. personnel were sent to the Middle East to prevent hostilities between the newly created state of Israel and its Arab neighbors. The first lightly armed peacekeeping mission was conducted in 1956 along the Suez Canal to create a buffer between Israel and Egypt. This mission lasted eleven years and involved nearly six thousand soldiers. Thirteen peacekeeping missions took place during the first forty-five years of the U.N.’s existence, the most successful of which was the...
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