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Lecture

UN lecture notes


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL208Y1
Professor
John Haines

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LECTURE February 1st
THE UN
THE UN
Picture of international system today very different- after 65 year, many more members
International organizations--some are state run, some are NGOS
Category one (state org): regional--african union, league of arab states, EU
Some are issue specific: postal union, IAEA--atomic energy-centre of nuke prolif regime
Specific corporation problems orgs:
May represent group of a small group of nations
Among non gov org-some have gained a very special space: red cross, amnesty international--
working very close with UN
Plethora of inter. Orgs and non-gov orgs
Most import. is the UN
HISTORY OF THE UN SYSTEM:
World leaders started to think about architecture of peace and security well before 1945
Word united nation coined 1942
Roosevelt clear idea about what do do after war
Wanted to learn lessons of the failure of the League of nations--failure to prevent ww2
Reason league failed-questions of membership-US, germ, japan outside membership
Agenda problem-disarmament and the objective of punishing countries who were threatening
world peace
Capabilities to promote peace
Collective security -collective must be able to act, punish, go to war
Agenda of disarmament made it difficult to fight
Uniminity was a condition of league-everything could be blocked by just one state
For roosevelt architecture of the peace must involve the big powers with special status and
responsibilities
4 powers to police world: china, russia, UK, US
^ survives, P5
P5 have veto that no other countries have--special prerogative, special responsibilities
Soviet Union was unhappy that france or UK should get equal status-tried but failed to get
more than one vote-wanted to include ukraine and belarus
France was a member b/c churchill at the time wanted a european continental power to balance
soviet union--mostly because of churchill france got this
1945 west--51 members
Today 192
Every member signed un charter
4 main objectives of UN org.
1, maintain inter peace and securty
2. Friendly relation among nations
3. Cooperate international problem, promote human rights
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4. Centre for harmonization of the actions of nations
More pragmatic approach than league of nations
Clear willingness to learn from failure of LEAGUE
Make system more powerful
How does security council actually work
15 members, 5 perm = 10 elected every 3 years
Resolutions are binding, compulsory, but that doesn’t mean they are respected, have been
ignored
But UN sec. Council can impose sanctions when resolutions not respected
Ie: case of iran today-sanctions b/c iran not respecting enrichment program reg.
Same applied in s. Africa -apartheid regime--sanctions against
To have a resolution you need a majority of votes PLUS the p5 agreeing to it
Each p5 has a veto and thats why the UN sec. Council very inefficient during cold war
For any matter linked to inter. Security- either moscow or washington would pull its veto
Article 42 of un charter--aggression of country against other--first there must be an agreement
about aggression--sec. Council must define the aggression--moscow/washinton refused to do
so
Washington acting in guatemala-refuse to admit its an act of aggression -use veto
Moscow intervened in poland, hungary--never reached stage where it talks about what is going
on
You need to QUALIFY the event as aggression and it never reaches stage of consensus
only in places where the two superpowers of the time have nothing to defend
Congo-1960s--2 big powers not interesting-so UN could play a role
Korea 1951-the UN was able to act-special case-moscow had boycotted the UN security
council- missed opportunity to put its veto
Question of veto is important- in practice today the core of a diplomat job at the UN is to avoid
a veto--everything is done to avoid that outcome
A veto is essentially a way of saying issue at state is not negotiable--end of a discussion
Pwr of veto-results in everything is done at UN level to bring a consensus NOT a coalition
Takes a lot of diplomacy to achieve sanctions against iran
Clearly the veto today still problem-many argue relic of 1945 and should be changed
The actual composition of security council an issue too
P5 reflects victors of 1945-very narrow club
Becomes an oddity to see the UK and France with very small populations-have 2 permanent
seats at Un security council, whereas India or Brazil or indonesia or Japan with huge
populations are NOT permanent members of UN security council
Problem of representation
The WEST is deciding for the rest phenomenon
Questions of composition
Question of legitimacy
The diplomats at UN level are aware of legitimacy problems--tried to correct both question/
problems, but each attempt failed
Problem is how to enlarge the p5 circle without creating more dissatisfaction than current
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