Introduction to International Relations.
Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the current structure of the United.
Nations. How would you reform it for the better?.
The United Nations came into being in 1949, following on the heels of one of the most defining periods of the twentieth century - World War Two. The purpose of the UN was, and still is, clearly defined. That is to provide a structure for dispute settlement amongst states, to promote and recognise equality, sovereignty and independence, and also to develop the Less Developed Countries (LDC's). At the outset, 54 states were members; this has since spread out to a membership of 200 countries; making the UN a truly international organisation.
All organisations must have some kind of intrinsic structure or order. The body that is the UN is made up of three principal constituents. The Secretariat is the administrative branch of the organisation - the bureaucratic arm. A General Assembly also exists consisting of each and every member state. Thus is, literally, a large forum where views and opinions are exchanged. One can draw parallels between this and the various parliamentary houses of domestic level politics in a country like the United Kingdom. It overlooks the Secretariat, approves of the budget, and also runs autonomous agencies such as the World Health Organisation. Finally, their exists a Security Council; this consists of arguably the 5 most powerful nations of 1949 on a permanent basis, complemented by an additional ten members operating on a rolling basis of terms lasting two years each. This arm, as Goldstein says, "has responsibility for international peace and security". It therefore can - and does - order sanctions, call for ceasefires and authorise military action. It is at this stage appropriate for me to mention that, in debates over any reformations that the UN should or should not undergo, it is the Security Council more often than not that is the main focus of conversation.