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The United Nations in Historical Perspective.docx

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Department
Political Sc
Course
POLI 216
Professor
All Professors
Semester
Fall

Description
TheUnitedNationsinHistoricalPerspectiveTheLeagueofNationshaditsoriginsinUSPresidentWoodrowWilsonspeaceproposalsduringthesavagefightingoftheFirstWorldWarawarthatresultedinthedeathsof17millionpersonsandwouldcollapsetheGermanAustroHungarianRussianandOttomanEmpiresandcriticallyweakentheBritishandtheFrencheconomiesThiswasawarthatbenefitednomajorEuropeanpowerandwouldalmostcertainlynothavehappenedhadtheoutcomebeenknownWilsonssolutiontotheproblemofwarwastoproposetheFourteenPointsTheseaimedatcreatinganinstitutionbasedonasetofprincipalsofinternationaljusticethatwouldpromoteglobaldemocracyandpeaceTherewasanearlierattempttofashionaninternationalarrangementtoavoidwarFollowingthedefeatoftheFrenchmilitaryleaderNapoleonBonapartein1815theleadingpowersofEuropeestablishedtheConcertofEuropeTheNapoleonicWarskilledover5millionpeopledevastatedmuchofEuropeandunleashedrevolutionaryrepublicanforcesthatwoulddisruptEuropeformostofthenineteenthcenturyItwaswidelybelievedthattherevolutionaryoverthrowofestablishedmonarchieswouldleadtosocialchaosthatinevitablybroughttopowermilitarydespotssuchasNapoleonwhowouldthenbeginwarsofconquestThepowersofEuropeparticularlytheBritishPrussiansAustriansandRussiansaswellastheFrenchagreedtocooperatejointlyinthesuppressionofrevolutionarymovementsForexamplealargeRussianarmyhelpedtheAustrianssuppressadomesticuprisingCooperationcontinuedfrom1815to1823andthenpersistedinprincipaluntilthemidnineteenthcenturyandmayhavebeenoneofthefactorsthatkeptthepeaceuntiltheeveoftheFirstWorldWarTheessentialdifferencebetweentheConcertofEuropeandtheLeagueofNationswasthattheLeagueestablishedapermanentinstitutiontohelpenforceitssetofguidingprincipalsTheLeagueofNationswasultimatelytofailbecauseitsscopedidnotextendsufficientlyintotheeconomicrealmThustheLeagueofNationsdidlittletoalleviatetheGreatDepressionofthe1930swhichbroughttopowertheauthoritarianandfascistgovernmentsacrossEuropethatsetthestagefortheSecondWorldWarSixtymillionpersonsincluding28millionSovietcitizensdiedduringthiswarInthiscontexttheUnitedNationswasestablishedwithgoalsverysimilartothoseoftheLeagueofNationsandeventheConcertofEuropeHoweveritwasembeddedwithinasetofinternationaleconomicarrangementsincludingBrettonWoodsandtheresultingWorldBankandInternationalMonetaryFundGiventheroleoftheGreatDepressionincreatingthefascistmovementsparticularattentionwasgiventoeconomicinstitutionsinfashioningthepostSecondWorldWarorderTheUnitedNationswasthereforemeanttofacilitatethesametypeofsecuritynegotiationsasthatdonebytheLeagueofNationsbutitwasmeantalsotocomplementtheWorldBankandIMFsroleofassistingworldeconomicdevelopmentandsustainingtradeWhenconsideringthegeneralperformanceoftheLeagueofNationsandtheUnitedNationsonemustmeasuretheirsuccessesandfailuresfirstincomparisontoanenvironmentwithoutanyinstitutionalizedcollectiveforumfornegotiationsandsecondagainsttherealmoflikelyalternativeinstitutionsWithregardtothefirstquestionofcomparingtheUnitedNationstoanenvironmentwithoutinternationalinstitutionsthedefaultavenuefornegotiationscanoccurthroughtheembassiesandHighCommissionsofstatesThisishowdiplomaticrelationswereconductedforcenturiesinsomeregionsoftheworldThesearenecessarilybilateralstatetostatewithalltheconcomitantlimitationsTheyrequirestaffstosuccessfulmanageallofarangeoftechnicaleconomicandsecurityissuesMultilateralnegotiationsaretimeconsumingWithregardtothesecondquestionofcomparingtheperformanceoftheUnitedNationstoalternativeinstitutionalarrangementsheretheUnitedNationsshowssomeofitsweaknessesTherearethreemainalternativestotheUnitedNationsthatalsoprovideamultilateralforumfornegotiationsFirstthereareregionalorganizationsofwhichthemostinstitutionallydevelopedistheEuropeanUnionaswellforexampletheAfricanUnionorASEANtheAssociationofSoutheastAsianNationstosuggestthreeCommonculturepreexistingeconomicinterdependenceandgeographicproximityundoubtedlymakeregionalorganizationsinmanywaysmoreefficientatproducingagreementsparticularlywithregardtotradeRegionalorganizationsfacelessofacollectiveactionproblemThatistosayitismucheasiertocoordinatetheinterestsandfindcommongroundbetweenasmallernumberofstatesthanalargernumberofstatesAsthenumberofstatesincreasethecombinationsofpossiblerelationsbetweenstatesincreasesexponentiallyForexamplewhereasfourstateshavesixpossiblebilateralrelationsbetweenthemeightstatesdoublethenumberofstateshavetwentyeightpossiblerelationsForindividualstatesitbecomesveryexpensiveintermsoftimeandefforttotrackwhatalltheinterestsareofallofthestatesThisiscalledthecalculationproblemAswellinanagreementbetweenalargenumberofstatesitismucheasierforasinglestatetocheatonanagreementandescapepunishmentbytheotherstatesThisisbecausetheotherstateswillbelessinclinedtopaythehighcostofpunishingthestateagainstthelowcostofthedamagethecheatingstateinflictsontheagreementInasmallergrouphoweverthecollectivecostofacheatingstateisfeltmoreeasilyandsothereisagreaterincentiveforindividualstatestopunishthecheaterInotherwordsthesmallerthegrouptheeasieritistocalculateandpunishcheatersandthereforeregionalorganizationscanintheorycreatemoreelaborateanddurableagreementsthanglobalorganizationsliketheUnitedNationsAsecondalternativetotheUnitedNationsparticularlyinthesecurityareaistheregionalallianceNowintheoryalliancesareunliketheUnitedNationsbecausetheyemergetocounterbalancesharedthreatsInthecaseofNATOtheNorthAtlanticTreatyOrganizationitemergedandgraduallyaddedmemberstodeteranattackbytheSovietUnionduringtheColdWarIntheoryalliancesendwhenthethreattheyopposedisappearsHoweverdespitetheendoftheColdWarNATOpersistsIthasalsoestablishedareputationasaninstitutionwithgreatercapacitythantheUnitedNationsatdeployingeffectivemilitaryforceItcertainlysupplantedtheUnitedNationstostopthefightingintheBalkansinthe1990sandiscurrentlytheleadorganizationinAfghanistanAthirdalternativetotheUnitedNationsareepistemiccommunitiesThesearegroupsoftechnicallyspecializedexpertswhooperatethroughinformalandformalinternationalnetworksandproposeandorganizeinterstateagreementsItiswidelybelievedthatitwasanepistemiccommunitydrawnfromthearmscontrolcommunitythatencouragedtherapprochementbetweentheSovietUnionandtheWestandthatultimatelyledtotheendoftheColdWarEpistemiccommunitieshavealsoreceivedconsiderableattentionintheirinfluenceontheprohibitionoflandmineshealthhumanrightsandenvironmentalissuesAidedbythecommunicationsrevolutionandeconomicglobalizationepistemiccommunitiesandotherinformalgrassrootsnetworkspresentachallengetotheUnitedNationsbutarejustaslikelytoworkthroughtheUnitedNationstoachievetheirpolicygoalsTheUnitedNationsthereforedoesnotoperateinavacuumThequestionthenbecomesoneofeffectivenessandcomplementarityandwehavetoconsidercounterfactualsthatisthelikelyinternationaloutcomesintheabsenceoftheUnitedNationsThisthenraisesanotherimportantquestionaboutthepurposeoftheUnitedNationsIstheUnitedNationsaninstitutiondesignedtofacilitatenegotiationsbetweenstatesorisitultimatelyapreliminaryarchitectureforaformofglobalorganizationthatwillsupersedestatesIneffectthepreliminarydesignofaworldgovernmentThosewhorejectthegoalofworldgovernmentatleastbytheUnitedNationstendtoarguethattheresolutionsandotheroutputsoftheUnitedNationsaresimplythereflectionofthecombinationoftheinterestsofthememberstatesThisendogenousconceptionoftheUnitedNationsimpliesitcanneverrisebeyondthepurposeofthemostpowerfulstatesintheglobalsystemandisinfactdependentonthemforitsexistenceSomebelievethatiftheUnitedStatesweretogointodeclinetheUnitedNationswoulddeclinewithitandwouldeventuallybesupersededbyanewinternationaldiplomaticarrangementbythesubsequentglobalpowerThosewhoseetheUnitedNationsasthedraftforaworldgovernmenttendtoemphasizeitsexogenousaspectsthatistosaythattheUnitedNationsismorethansimplythesumofitsmemberstatesTheybelievethatthespecializeddiplomaticcapacityofitssecretariathasorwilleventuallygivetheUnitedNationssufficientindependentinfluencetochallengesomeofthememberstatesIneffecttheUnitedNationsshouldbejudgedtowhatextentithasachievedtheindependentpowernecessarytoimplementtheprincipalsofitscharterUNInstitutionalStructureTheUnitedNationspossessessixprincipalorganstheGeneralAssemblytheSecurityCounciltheEconomicandSocialCounciltheTrusteeshipCounciltheSecretariatandtheInternationalCourtofJusticeAswellthereareeighteenmorespecializedinstitutionsthataretechnicallysubordinatetotheUnitedNationsGeneralAssemblyTheGeneralAssemblyisaonestateonevotelegislatureinwhichdecisionsaredeterminedbymajorityvotingonresolutionsArticle18oftheUnitedNationsCharteroutlinesthatdecisionsofanimportantnaturearetobepassedbyatwothirdsmajorityImportantquestionsincludethoseinvolvinginternationalsecurityandpeaceelectionstotheUnitedNationscouncilsadmissionorexpulsionofmemberstatestrusteeshipbudgetaryissuesaswellasanyquestiondeemedimportantbytheGeneralAssemblyIssuesofconcernmayberaisedfordebateintheGeneralAssemblythroughaSpecialSessionthatisrequestedbyaUnitedNationsmemberthroughtheSecurityCouncilortheGeneralAssemblyIssuesofpressingconcernsuchasahumanitarianormilitarycrisismayberaisedthroughEmergencySpecialSessionswhichcanbeconvenedwithintwentyfourhoursInpracticehowevermostissuesaredecidedpriortovotingbyconsensusandoftenwithoutavoteTheGeneralAssemblyisalsoresponsibleforpassingadministrativeregulationswhichhavetheforceoflawwithintheUnitedNationsinstitutionAroutinetaskoftheGeneralAssemblyistovotetheoneyeartermsfortheGeneralAssemblyPresidentandtheseventeenVicePresidentsOftenresolutionsbytheAssemblyarepassedtoreiterateCharterprincipalsoftheUnitedNationsTheguidingprincipalofUNresolutionsisthatwhiletheymaynotinfactbebindingastheUnitedNationsisoftenunableorunwillingtoenforcearesolutiontheycontributetoanincreasingbodyofcustomaryinternationallawTheGeneralAssemblymayalsoenactlawsthroughthepassingofmultilateraltreatiessuchastheLawoftheSeaTreatyUNCLOSIIandtheGenocideConventionAlthoughsecurityisprimarilytheresponsibilityoftheSecurityCouncilinpracticeduringtheColdWarwhenSuperpowervetoesdeadlockedtheSecurityCounciltheGeneralAssemblyassumedmuchoftheburdenforsecurityissuesTheseincludedthecreationofapeacekeepingforcefortheMiddleEastin1956TheGeneralAssemblyalsoadmitsnewmembersfollowingarecommendationwhichmustcomefromtheSecurityCouncilTheSecurityCouncilistheUnitedNationsorganprimarilyoccupiedwithmaintaininginternationalpeaceForexamplepeacekeepingmissionsgenerallyfallundertheauthorityoftheSecurityCouncilwhichfoundsandcancelsthemdependingonagreetoneedThefivepermanentmembersoftheUnitedNationsSecurityCouncilconsistofthefiveprincipalvictorsoftheSecondWorldWartheUnitedStatestheUnitedKingdomthenNationalistandnowCommunistChinaFranceandRussiaformerlythecorerepublicoftheSovietUnionTheSecurityCouncilhasfifteenmembersincludingthefivepermanentmembersthoughtherehasbeenpoliticalmaneuveringthusfarunsuccessfultoincludeJapanGermanyIndiaNigeriaandBrazilaspermanentmembersThenonpermanentmembersareelectedannuallybytheGeneralAssemblyingroupsoffivestatesfortwoyeartermsNoelectedmemberstatemayserveconsecutivetermsThisisanimprovementintermsoflegitimacyovertheLeagueofNationspracticebecauseitkeepsmediumpowerstatesfromexcludingsmallpowersfromelectionThe1963AmendmentchangedthethresholdformajorityrulefromseventonineoutoffifteenvotescastTheSecurityCouncilstwoprincipaltasksarethepeacefulsettlementofdisputesoutlinedinChapterVIandtomanagethreatsthroughtheoperationsoftheorganizationoutlinedinChapterVIIAlthoughtheSecurityCouncilhasapreferencefortheresolutionofdisputespeacefully
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