The United Nations is an international body formed to promote international relations and coexistence (Sewell, 2015). It was established in 1945 after the Second World War to prevent another such conflict (Sewell, 2015). When it was founded, it had five-member states; however, the number has increased to 193 states. The UN head offices are in Manhattan, New York City. The UN also has offices throughout the world, including the main offices in Vienna, Geneva, and Nairobi (Sewell, 2015). The organization gets funds through donations from member countries and other well-wishers. Its primary objectives are to advocate for peace in member countries. It also aims at promoting economic and social growth and security, creating a sustainable environment, promoting human rights, and providing humanitarian support during the time of famine (Sewell, 2015). Since 1945, there have been a lot of changes in the world as the United Nations tries to fulfill its objectives to make the world a better place. This paper will discuss some of the changes, both positive and negative, that have taken place in the world since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. The paper will further argue that the establishment of the UN has impacted positively international relations, peaceful coexistence, and healthy relations of the nations.
Peacekeeping and Security
Peacekeeping is one of the objectives of the UN. Through the Security Council, the UN sends mediators in warring countries where the forces stopped operating to impose the terms of peace negotiations and to prevent combatants from starting the war. Member states voluntarily provide donations and military forces to the UN (Sewell, 2015). The UN has been successful in negotiating the peaceful coexistence of nations. For instance, the UN has made a real difference in countries such as Burundi, Haiti, Sierra Leone, and Kosovo (United Nations, 2016). Despite contributing to peaceful resolutions in some countries, the UN also helped colonial countries to achieve independence. More than 80 countries have attained independence since the initiation of the UN in 1954. In 1960, General Assembly decreed the granting of freedom to the colonial countries. The UN work, in this case, included the formation of decolonization committees formed in 1962.
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Despite all the success of the UN, the organization has also been criticized for perceived failure. For instance, the organization was not able to restore peace in Rwanda, Somalia, and Yugoslavia (United Nations, 2016). The members hesitate to reinforce and impose Security Council solutions due to individual disagreements. The disparities among the Security Council members failed to Prevent Genocide in Bangladesh in 1971. The UN peacekeeping troops have also been blamed for rapes, sexual abuse, and soliciting prostitutes in Haiti, Sudan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and the Ivory Coast.
The UN also works as peacekeepers in encouraging disarmament. The armed community can threaten the peaceful existence of society. Thus, the UN helps security bodies to withdraw illegal weapons from conflicting communities. The laws that govern disarmament were included in the UN charter writing in 1945 (Boutellis & Williams, 2013). The disarmament mission was a visional way of preventing the use of human and economic recourses to make ammunitions (Boutellis & Williams, 2013). The UN has also worked on arms abolition treaties such as the Seabed Arms Control Treaty, the Outer Space Treaty, the Biological Weapon Conversion, and the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Economic Growth and Humanitarian Support
Since 1945, when the UN was established, the world has seen greater economic development and humanitarian aid (Roberts & Kingsbury, 2008). Apart from security, the UN has had a purpose of achieving international partnerships in solving global problems in cultural, economic, social, and humanitarian assistance (Roberts & Kingsbury, 2008). Several bodies have been formed to work toward these goals. In 2000, the United Nations agreed to achieve the eight Millennium development goals (Roberts & Kingsbury, 2008). Their objectives were: universal primary education for everyone, eradication of poverty, elimination of hunger, and women empowerment. The UN millennial goals also included reducing child mortality, reducing HIV/AIDS epidemic, and environmental sustainability (United Nations, 2009).
The UN has international programs such as the UN Development Program (UNDP). UNDP was started in 1945 to provide technical assistance grants (Roberts & Kingsbury, 2008). It is among the most popular bodies that deal with international development (Roberts & Kingsbury, 2008). The program provides significant assistance in conducting researches that the UN uses in ranking countries in terms of poverty, education, literacy, mortality rates, and other factors. The UN also works in partnership with other bodies such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The World Bank grants loans for economic development and the (IMF) encourages international economic co-operations and provides credits to the obliged countries in times of emergencies. The UN also works with the World Health Organization (WHO) (Boutellis & Williams, 2013). This partnership focuses on disease eradication and promoting quality health care throughout the globe. WHO is one of the largest UN bodies. In 1989, the agency reported that the elimination of smallpox had been completed. The WHO works actively in the eradication of polio, river blindness, and leprosy. The joint program on HIV/AIDS, which started in 1996, coordinates the response to the HIV pandemic (Boutellis & Williams, 2013).
Another successful mission of the UN is its work towards peaceful negotiations in areas that suffered from mass slaughter due to conflicts. Since the establishment of the United Nations, there have been several cases of mass slaughter or genocide (Roberts & Kingsbury, 2008). Mass slaughter is the mass destruction of the entire communities or races of indigenous peoples. Indigenous people are understood to be the ethnic minorities whose territories have been occupied by the colonial expansions. An example of such a case is Western Pakistan, where a military crackdown started on the Eastern wing of the nation to overpower Bengali calls for autonomy. The war resulted in the mass killings of approximately 3, 000, 000 innocent people. The war took place for nine months, with 200,000 to 400,000 cases of rape (Roberts & Kingsbury, 2008). These cases were associated with the UN soldiers that took part in the war, which resulted in a bad representation of the UN organization.
Another case of mass laughter where the UN helped to negotiate peace is the Rwanda mass killings. The war took place in 1994; it involved a conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsi. The Hutu, who formed the majority group, killed many people from the Tutsi community. During the approximate 100 days, an estimate of 500,000-100,000 Rwandans was killed, which constituted 70% of the Tutsi and 20% of Hutu Rwanda population (United Nations, 2010). The genocide was planned by the politicians who occupied the top positions in the national government of Rwanda. The military who participated in ending the war came from the Rwandan army, the national police, and the Hutu community. The genocides and the incidences of rape manifest the UN's failure to maintain and keep peace in the world as one of its primary and principal objectives.
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Since 1945, some countries have seen dictatorship regimes. In some instances, the leaders of the countries such as Iran, Iraq, and Somalia, believed that they are the only ones who can lead the country due to their political greed. For them to remain in power, they applied a dictatorial way of governance. Thus, the UN has not succeeded in creating democratic governments, as there have been many authoritarian leaders. An example of such a leader is Saddam Husain of Iraq (Williams & Boutellis, 2014). He was confident that he would always remain in power despite being grouped by the United States military (Sewell, 2015). Thus, he would get his place and power from the US military troops. Saddam Husain exercised his dictatorial leadership for more than 30 years, starting wars with the Western nations and reducing the economic growth of the oil-rich country. For many years, it seemed that he would control Iraq for long period. His authority was deemed successful, especially after he succeeded through destructive martial adventures against Iran and Kuwait. However, in 1991, an American-led coalition routed his military. The UN was not able to resolve the conflicts even as the American military moved into the Iraqi capital, in a war that has become a bitterly controversial, bloody invasion (Williams & Boutellis, 2014). Thus, the UN should force its effort in dealing with the dictatorship regimes in the world, so that the citizens of the affected nation can select the leaders of their choice.
Grueling Civil War
Even after the establishment of the United Nations, civil wars are still rampant in most parts of the world with Africa taking the lead, both on the African continent and the associated islands, including wars between civil wars, African nations, and conflicts involving non-African countries that took place in Africa (Williams & Boutellis, 2014). Africa's civil wars included the wars for independence, secessionist, colonial wars, separatist disputes, ethnic conflicts, and global clashes. Somalia is an example of a country that faced a civil war. The leading cause of the wars is the political conflict between the government in power and the opposition group (Al-Shabab) (United Nations, 2011). The United Nations security and peacekeeping personnel have been deployed in the country, but the war has not yet stopped. The work of the security personnel is to reduce and respond to the public harm caused by its operations against the extremist group Al-Shabab.
World food security is one of the UN Millennium goals as food security is still a crisis in most African nations (Sewell, 2015). Some African countries that still suffer due to famine include Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Somalia; famine worsens the problems of people in poverty and pool other in the cycle of poverty (Sewell, 2015). The main causes of widespread famine in these countries are climate change and civil wars in donor countries. The UN helps to save the victims by providing donations regarding money and kindness. However, the organization has not been able to eradicate these problems thoroughly, and that is identified as its failure as well.
It’s evident that since the establishment of the United Nations, there have been many changes in the world that have helped to improve the well-being of the communities. Peacekeeping and security have been upgraded, famine has been partly eradicated; there has been considerable development in economics and humanitarian assistance throughout the world, and more countries have attained independence. Apart from the success of the UN, there are some challenges that the organization has faced, such as the failure to prevent genocides, to secure food in famine-affected countries as well as to combat the civil wars. The UN should work tirelessly to fulfill its Millennium goals and peacekeeping missions.