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POLSCI 2I03 (101)
Andrew Lui (26)
Lecture 9

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McMaster University
Political Science
Andrew Lui

International Law: Brief History of the UN: Established to preserve peace after the Second World War Reflected lessons learned from League of Nations- was inherently European Constraints:  UN must balance demands of great power politics (i.e. Security Council veto) with universalism  Tension between needs and interests of people and states We still have war and we still have UN, many are frustrated by the fact that UN can‟t do more. Not just in terms of the makeup and how it functions but in the broader scheme of IR. Contained in the UN is the stress on great powers, you have the UN Security council, which includes the great „five‟ who were the winners of 2 World War and have the veto power. UN upholds the principles of universalisms. This emphasis on great powers and the balance of powers to keep world peace. Box 19.1 UN Charter: in the textbook Preamble: “we the peoples of the UN [are] determined….to reaffirm ….small” that is part of international law, how are states supposed to behave. But if you look at the contrast contained within the UN charter, compare the preamble with the Article. Article 2(7): “nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the UN to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.” All states are to uphold human rights but no state or the UN can interfere with the domestic matters of a country even if it goes against human rights. Chapter VII „Action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression” Article 42: the UNSC “may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security” “all necessary means” Many of the small crisis or humanitarian crisis often get left off the table, the original design of the UN was not to provide peace and security for all nations. But the architects was quiet explicit of what they saw as the function of UN was to prevent great power warfare, hence why you have something like veto power within the „great five‟ The UN and International Peace and Security: Cold War, decolonization discourage active UN involvement- wanted to be free from colonial powers and that meant to be involved in conflict Examples: many countries evoke the article saying we don‟t want your interference, and they have the right to do so even if there is a human rights crisis in their country. However it can be overridden in certain situations. Korea 1950-53- Korean war, this is significant because it was largely American troops which went in to South Korea to stop the invasion by North Korea done by the Soviet Union; so it was a proxy war. The UN authorized the entering of the troops, and they were able to do so because Soviet Union was not present at the table that day. Soviet Union was protesting the fact that China‟s seat was held by Taiwan (Republic of China) not the main land of China. Taiwan was an American ally. Troops were sent by the UN security council in order mitigate and reduce the power effect. They were not sent to save the people, but to try to save a world war 3. Egypt 1956: the Suez Crisis- growing confidence in nationalism amongst many countries in the 3 world. The Egyptian leader wanted to nationalize the Suez Canal which was controlled by Britain and France and was backed by the Soviet Union. Once he did that, Britain and France sent their troops to get back the canal. Egypt to show its power brought in the Soviet Union. They threatened Britain and France, that if they didn‟t take their troops back the Soviet Union will fire nuclear bombs in Paris and London. US were nervous due to NATO, which said an attack on any NATO member was an attack on all. The notion was to take over the UN. The US was nervous because it would have to abide by NATO and launch attacks. Canada under Lester B. Pearson said Canada will go in blue helmets, stay between the two troops. And govern the Suez crisis as an international peacemaker between the two parties. We didn‟t go in to protect the Egyptian people, we went in there like the UN wanted to mitigate great power warfare, to prevent WW3. The number of state
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