“The UN is now an outdated body.” Discuss.
The United Nations is a body that was set up at the end of WWII to maintain peace and security amongst states. The UN is the successor to what was the League of Nations. The League of Nations, set up after WWI by President Wilson, had a similar goal to that of the UN's. To maintain peace and security, and at the time, attempt to prevent another World War. This of course was not achieved.
In regards to the question stated, there are differing opinions as to whether the UN is now obsolete and unnecessary as a body. In this essay I will discuss both sides of the argument before concluding whether or not the UN is an outdated body.
First, I will discuss the views that the UN is now outdated and obsolete.
In suggesting the UN is outdated, much criticism has been focused on the make up of the Security Council. This is because the members of the Security Council are simply considered to be outdated. Many argue that the Security Council is outdated because it continues to reflect the great power politics of 1945, with the USA, Russia, China, the UK and France being permanent members with veto powers. Pressure to reform the Security Council has been significant, many strongly suggest that new permanent members should be included in the Security Council. Member states that are more reflective of today's great power politics, rather than states reflecting the Great Power Politics of 1945. Many suggest that new members should include either modern day economic powers and significant UN contributors such as Japan and Germany, or rising states that can represent a broader range of continents such as Brazil and South Africa. Many have suggested that specific UN bodies are outdated for this very reason, there is no representation of Africa or South America within the UN Security Council. This is somewhat absurd when you consider that Brazil has a larger economy than the UK, yet has no representation within the Security Council. With the upcoming World Cup and Olympics in South America, it is clear that South America has a prominent position in the world system. Therefore, many argue that the UN is outdated, because bodies are not truly representative of the current world order.
The UN has also been criticised because of its budgetary position. The UN's budgetary position has historically been based on the ability to pay, creating tensions within and between the Global North and the Global South. There is much resentment with the USA, the largest contributor to all of the UN's budgets. This resentment has grew due to the fact that the USA is faced with a General Assembly in which all states have equal voting rights. This budgetary imbalance has ultimately led to allegations that economically developed states are more favourably dealt with by the UN. Therefore some argue that the economics surround the UN are outdated. Surely it would be more acceptable if all member states contributed the same amount. At a time of economic difficulty in world affairs, member states who give more valuable capital are likely to demand more influence By ensuring that all member states commit at the same level, UN bodies would no longer be at risk of being dominated by states who give the most and demand the most as a result, at the expense of the other states.
A further criticism is that the UN largely operates as an intergovernmental body. Therefore as a body, the UN arguably has little power when it comes to enforcing its decisions and bring transgressors into line. It is clear that the UN was formed by Great Powers that did not want it to develop the kind of authority which might limit their freedom of manoeuvre in the future. It is still very clear that the UN is dominated by these Great Powers, or once Great Powers today. For example the UK and France would not support talks of reforming the members of the Security Council since it may compromise their own position. Therefore they act...
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