Sample Essay On Positives And Negatives Of The United Nations
The United Nations was founded in the year 1945 after the second world war with the aim of maintaining international peace and security. It is an intergovernmental organization and has the membership of almost all countries of the world. Through its organs mainly the Economic and social council, the security council and the general assembly the United nations takes care of peacekeeping and humanitarian projects. Although the United Nations is one of the International Organizations with a vast membership and many positive aspects and reach it does have its negative aspects too with critics calling it ineffective in its goals or calling for a reduced presence of the UN or a change in the way it operates.
Article 2(4) of the UN charter forbids member states from using force against each other with the exception of self defense. However states look out for their own and peace is not in their interest at all times. Even though the UN forbids it, it does not really have any legal powers to stop a country from going to war or punish it.The United Nations was built out of the ruins of the League of Nations to prevent another great war happening. Although it has been indirectly successful in preventing another world war, the UN has failed from small wars from breaking out. The US war against terror on Afghanistan and Iraq, the russian invasion in Georgia and Ukraine are some instances where the UN has been quite ineffective in preventing war. However the UN has made its presence known in peacekeeping and relief works. UN peacekeeping mission has found some level of success in war torn regions and their humanitarian relief programs have been of tremendous help to refugees and other war victims.
The Security Council, an organ of the United Nations through article 24 in chapter V is entitled with the responsibility to prevent and respond to war. it also requires the member countries make available their armed forces to the UNSC for peacekeeping and other missions. The security council has five permanent members which have veto powers which is a positive aspect of the UN. The veto powers mean that no one country can make a unilateral decision when it comes to waging war with the support of the UN; the others countries can veto its decision. There have been many instances where China and the USSR have vetoed the US decision to go into war with the blessing of the UN. The presence of permanent membership also means that these countries are quite powerful when it comes to decision making with the exclusion of other UN members. The presence of permanent and non-permanent members creates a sense of inequality among the member countries and this has been a source of contention between the developed, nuclear enabled countries and other developing countries. Although it cannot prevent war, it still plays a role in preventive diplomacy and a small role in managing the conflict. Post violence reconstruction is also another positive aspect of the Security Council.
Although the General Assembly and the General Secretary of the UN can authorize the use of force against a country when there is a failure of the Security Council to prevent war, it seldom happens and when it does is not very effective. Peacekeeping function although a laudable work of the UN is also sometimes hindered by the fact that any peacekeeping mission needs the consent of the parties involved and this cannot always be got in times of war and afterwards. The UN can also order a temporary cease-fire when the casualty becomes too high. The UN mandated cease-fires have saved innumerable lives during many wars. The UN was started with a noble mission to maintain peace and security but it has not been completely possible due to constraints like funding, the membership of powerful states that can influence decision making. The neutrality of the UN has come into question numerous times. The Suez crisis and the UN role in it is an example of how the UN failed to play a neutral role. The UN looks powerful on paper but in reality it does not have actual powers to stop a war or punish the aggressors. The many positives of the UN are thus shadowed by the weak structure and implementation powers. Hence the UN many a times comes across as a ceremonial organization than an intergovernmental organization that can do any good.
2. World Food Program’s efforts in the Syrian refugee crisis
The World Food Program after a brief stop in services resumed its work in Syria and resumed food assistance to around 1.7 million refugees. The funding for its food assistance program comes from national governments, the private sector as well as members from the general public. Apart from regions of Syria, the refugees are also registered in countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey and together the WFP feeds around 2.5 million refugees. The goal is to feed the Syrian refugees regardless of where they are located.
A realist and Marxist analysis of the WFP in Syria would be highly skeptical of the activities and the aid program. The realists maintain that no country would come forward with aid for truly humanitarian and altruistic purposes and there would definitely be a hidden agenda. Marxists could accuse this food assistance program as a capitalist ploy to usher in capitalism or democracy while the realists would look for the real intentions behind the donors decision to fund the WFP. The marxists also believe that International organizations are a product of the hegemony and that they are related to economic and military dominance. National interests cloaked in the guise of humanitarian aid would not be far stretched in a marxist and a realist analysis of the situation. Intervention of International organizations according to the marxists also happen when there is an economic agenda at hand and that sovereignty and nonintervention policies mean that these states can decide when, where and which state needs aid or funding. The International organization in this instance WFP becomes a tool. Feminist theorists contend that the International organizations are patriarchal and have more or less the same attitudes about international Organizations as that of the marxists.
However a feminist theory or an analysis would look at the Syrian refugee crisis from a gender perspective and this could be quite helpful for the many women refugees. Since a large number of the refugees are women, many of whom are either pregnant or new mothers a feminist approach to the entire crisis and program would ensure that the women get adequate support from the program. The needs of women are different from men and the needs of pregnant women and new mothers are completely different and this has to be taken into consideration during any food assistance program. A feminist critical approach to this would be tremendously helpful in ensuring that the goal of WFP in feeding everyone regardless of their location or gender comes to fruition.
A constructivist approach to the WFP would not be completely useless as although it would fail in giving any policy suggestions, it would be instrumental in analyzing the factors behind the working of the WFP. The institutional values, group identities and social interaction within the WFP would be dealt in detail in a constructivist approach and would explain the working of the Organization better. A liberal theory would take a favorable approach to the WFP and its food assistance programs as it believes that International Organizations can increase and bring about cooperation among the different countries. A liberal approach would take an idealistic, utilitarian and rationalistic approach towards the food assistance program and would be encouraging of it as it believes that states are rational actors in the international political arena and that there would be no hierarchy.
3. The Iran Nuclear Agreement
The Nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers that came into effect last year brought out some key points of agreements between iran and other countries. According to the agreement Iran promised to cut down on its uranium enrichment facilities and more importantly cut down its decision to send Uranium abroad. It also promised to abide by the rules of the IAEA and the NPT. As a result of Iran agreeing to cut down on its Uranium enrichment and nuclear projects, the world powers decided to take back certain nuclear related sanctions on Iran, Increase aid and also Oil income to the country. A marxist view of the Iranian nuclear agreement would explain how a powerful hegemon or a group of powerful countries were successful in using international organizations to subdue a weaker nation into curbing their nuclear ambitions. Although Iran’s interpretation of the NPT has the support of a lot of developing countries the rule of the powerful holds sway. A marxist analysis of the agreement also brings out the hypocrisy of the nuclear powers. While Russia, France and the US compete with each other to sell nuclear products and technology to countries like India, they refuse to do so and cite NPT and IAEA regulations when it comes to Iran. This then is an instance of hypocrisy and the powerful having their way over the weak.
The feminists view the Iranian nuclear capability as an attack against the alpha male, i.e the nuclear power already firmly entrenched in the world. Understandably an attack against the alpha male could not be taken lightly and the world powers have ganged up against iran in order to curb its nuclear ambitions. Liberalists on the other hand would claim that the NPT and IAEA are good as they enable transfer of nuclear technology in the right manner and ensure that nuclear technology is not misused in any way. Liberalists maintain that countries like Ukraine and South Africa gave up their nuclear ambitions to maintain a good standing in the world community but since Iran does it for personal reasons, it does not have the usual incentive to follow and thus presents a challenge. Liberalists maintain that the benefits of towing the path of the successful countries far outweigh the problems faced when going against them and that countries for this reason alone would shy away from nuclear testing or technology. The realists see the larger role played by the US in the nuclear agreement with Iran. Curbing Iran’s nuclear technology or capability by the US does not have altruistic purposes such as worry about nuclear proliferation but rather the need to be the dominant power in the middle eastern region. Iran has also pointed out the discrepancies in the NPT which do not favor the emerging nuclear powers, which is supported by other growing powers.
The realist approach would contend that this agreement is nothing more than a power play by the dominant players in the nuclear game. Instead of an outright war, the US is also using low cost ways to make Iran stay away from its nuclear programs, i.e through the IAEA and the NPT. A realistic theory would also maintain that there is minilateralism at work here as there are a small number of countries that are being used here to force a country to change its nuclear programs. In a realist world, each country would look to preserve its sovereignty and become more powerful. This agreement then comes close to violating the sovereignty of Iran by other countries and can lead to a situation of war. The constructivist approach would maintain that the nuclear capability of Iran is not actually a threat to the US or other countries as there are other nations which carry out the same nuclear processes. It is just a way of looking at it the way they want to. The restrictions according to constructivists only constraints the activities of a state and its acceptable behavior.
4. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Amnesty International
The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Amnesty international are both non-governmental humanitarian organizations founded in Switzerland and london respectively. While the ICRC has as it basis the four Geneva conventions that protect and aid the victims of Armed conflict, the Amnesty International has as its founding values the human rights enshrined in the UN Human Rights Commission and other human rights instruments. The reach of Amnesty is broader as it does not solely cater to victims of war but looks at human rights violations everywhere and comes to the aid of any person whose human rights have been violated.
The ICRC deals with civilians and other people who have been caught up in a war they are not part of and also deals with political detainees and prisoners of war trying to help them get justice or do the best they can to make their lives better. Amnesty International however has a wider focus. Not only does it help the people affected by war, it also helps those whose rights have been taken away from them. It helps people facing death penalty, helps bring justice to people who face torture and cruel treatment and also helps refugees, both internal and external who have been displaced by war and other natural phenomenon. Both are non-governmental organizations and even though they rely on funding they are not controlled by the government of any one country and are fairly independent to conduct their missions in any war ravaged country or in any country where there have been human rights violations. The international Red Cross focuses its activities mainly on the war zone carrying out activities like visiting prisoners in camps, helping victims of war-both military and civilian, carrying messages between victim families and establish hospitals in the war zones to treat collateral damage. The Amnesty international on the other hand does not establish hospitals or clinics in the war zone or any other zone, rather it acts as a place where people whose rights have been violated could go to. The Amnesty international fights on their behalf. Examples of this are their crusade against the death penalty, gender violences against women, defending the rights of poor people and call for human rights for everyone.
Both the Organizations are service oriented but in completely different ways. While the ICRC goes and sets up missions and hospitals to help treat the wound (physical and psychological), the Amnesty international is more activist in nature. It takes up group or individual causes and fights for justice. Since these are respected non governmental Organizations, there is a certain level of acceptance to these organizations in almost every country. They are also Organizations that have not been accused of being partisan or being influenced by any specific country or funder. The ICRC writes reports that are submitted to the countries and which are never published owing to confidentiality. It also at times acts as a mediator and maintains dialogues between both the warring parties. The Amnesty International on the other hand investigates war crimes or human rights violations around the world and published report on every country. Amnesty International is stronger as it is a mass membership Organization. The ICRC still remains a swiss organization.
Both these Organizations are humanitarian and non governmental. While the ICRC provided medical care and treatment to war victims, the Amnesty international is more about statistics and finding out the amount of injustice meted out. Both in the end help people who have been affected by war and other reasons. Compared to the ICRC, the Amnesty International has a wider scope of actions as it deals not only with war victims or civilians affected by war but also refugees and other general public whose rights have been infringed upon.
5. Globalization and Global trade-pros and cons
Globalization is the phenomenon whereby the world shrinks metaphorically due to an increase in trade among countries and a freer transportation of goods and services than before. Increase in communication and advances in technology have also fuelled the Globalization process. The Globalization process is not new and has been around for centuries when nation states first started exchanging goods among themselves. Global trade and Globalization have gone through many stages beginning with mutual trade between nation states, trade during the colonial era where it was pitted strongly in favor of the colonial powers, the recession era and the modern times which has been characterized by trade agreements, barriers, sanctions and international organizations that try to regulate markets.
Globalization although much decried has many positives. The increased nature of trade and opening up of markets has meant that goods normally not available in a region is not readily available. It has also increased the employment opportunities in many countries by opening up new market places. Globalization has also resulted in cultural diffusion and a freer attitude among people in many countries. There have also been the creation of industrialized economies in previously agricultural societies through which certain poor countries have fast become promising developing nations. But Globalization also has many damaging aspects to it.
The nature of global trade has become such that there is a great inequality between the core and the peripheral countries. Although the concept of core and periphery was more prevalent during the 1930’s and 50’s some remnants still remain as there are a lot of countries that still act as supplier of raw materials. These countries own the resources but lack the technology that could convert these resources and help keep the money within their countries. With technology in the hands of the richer countries, the profit out of extracting resources are mainly taken away by the multinationals from rich countries and do not reach the local populace. This leads to an income inequality not only between the countries but also between the people inside the countries. Extractive industries do not employ many people and are successful in destroying the livelihoods of many others.
The WTO, the World Bank and the International Monetary fund are some international organizations which have facilitated the phenomenal growth of Global trade and Globalization. These Organizations lend money to governments on the promise that they would open up their markets. Neoliberal globalization thus resulted in many countries opening up their markets when they were least ready for it. As a result their domestic industries were crippled and they were forced to import more than what they exported leading to imbalance in trade, trade deficits and huge external debts. Globalization has also lead to the mushrooming of multinational corporations whose net worth and annual turnovers are much more than that of a small country. These MNC’s have become so powerful that they are in a position to dictate terms to both the World Bank and the countries. Globalization has also resulted in economies being overly dependant on the other. The South East Asian financial crisis which reverberated throughout the world, the Mexican peso crisis and the US housing bubble crisis which sent the global trade towards recession are all examples of how global trade is intertwined.
Globalization and an increased global trade has only increased the consumption rate of people and the already thin resources of the planet. Any more increase would only spell doom to the environment as well as to the people living on the fringes. Increased consumption of resources would also be detrimental to the human population. Genetically modified foods are another concern that could seriously affect the population if not taken seriously. Thus Globalization and increased global trade does not bode well for the future of the human population.
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