The United Nations (UN) is an international organization that was established on October 24, 1945 following World War II (1939-1945), and after its predecessor The League of Nations (LN). The League of Nations was a result of the First World War, and was the first international organization whose principal mission was world peace. The League of Nations failed to reach its goals of preventing wars through collective security and disarmament, and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration, which prompted the creation of the UN.
The intent of the UN is to promote dialogue amongst countries in efforts of stopping and preventing wars. Additionally, the United Nations aim is world peace through the facilitation of cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, and human rights (www. newworldencyclopedia. org, 2012). In 1939 the term “United Nations” was coined by Franklin D. Roosevelt as a way to describe allied countries. It was not until three years later on 1 January 1942 when 26 governments signed the Atlantic Charter, which was a pledge to continue the war effort.
The UN conference was held April 25, 1945 in San Francisco which was attended by 50 participating governments and a number of non-governmental organizations involved in the creation of the United Nations Charter. Fifty-one nations and the Security Council participated in the first UN General Assembly in January 1946 at the Methodist Central Hall Westminster located in London. The Security Council was the decision making body within the UN with the ability to enforce decisions (www. ewworldencyclopedia. org, 2012). Compiled of five permanent members (P5) with veto power: United States, Russia, The United Kingdom, France, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The United Nations charter details the guidelines that every country’s participating government must abide by (www. wisegeek. com, 2012). From 1946 to 1952 the United Nations was based in Lake Success, New York at the Sperry Gyroscope Corporation headquarters; after 1952 the UN headquarters relocated to Manhattan.
The United Nations main goal is world peace; however, the international organization also campaigns for political and economic issues. They help fight against drug trafficking and terrorist attacks (www. wisegeeek. com, 2012). There have been campaigns to assist refugees and to provide vital food production and humanitarian aid to third world countries. The war against AIDS and world-wide disarmament are two of the top priorities for the UN and its security council. When the United Nations was founded there were 51 nations lead by the allied powers after World War II.
As of today, there are 192 participating nations that still use the same structure of the original 51 nations. The UN has six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. The 192 UN nations participate in recurring meetings where they discuss the world’s most urgent problems at the time. Each nation gets one vote on the issue at hand. There are also debates amongst nations surrounding security problems throughout the world. There are six main divisions within the United Nations: 1.
The General Assembly- The main deliberative assembly 2. The Security Council- Makes resolution decisions for peace and security 3. The Economic and Social Council- Assist with promotion of international economic and social cooperation and development 4. The Trustee Council- Currently inactive 5. The Secretariat- Provides studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN 6. The International Court of Justice- The primary judicial entity From the beginning, there has been controversy and criticism surrounded the United Nations.
Within the United States, anti UN groups such as the John Birch Society orchestrated movement such as, “get US out of the UN”. The campaign started in 1965, which claimed that the United Nation’s sole purpose of existence was to establish “One World Government”. The UN is not a law making entity, and is not a governing power; however, the UN Security Council provides guides in order to prevent conflict amongst nations. The United States has been the world dominator when it comes to military, economic, social, and political power.
So much so, the UN headquarters is located in the US, New York City. This has caused conflict between the United States and other member states within the UN. Conflict arose between the United States and other member states over the 2002 and 2003 Iraq war. George W. Bush asserted that the President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, did not fulfill the treaty agreement he entered into at the end of the Gulf War (1991), which was to rid Iraq of all weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). The United States and “Coalition of the willing” proceeded with military force against Iraq in March 203.
The “Coalition of the willing” consisted of the U. S. along with fifty countries such as: the United Kingdom, Australia, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Poland. Other countries like France, Russia and Germany opposed of the decision to use force to further resolution. There have been attempts by the U. S. Congress to reform the UN effectiveness and efficiency. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Senate Majority Leader, George J Mitchell formed “The Task Group” in January of 2005.
The Task Force spearheaded the “American Interest and UN Reform: Report of the Task Force on the United Nations”, with numerous recommendations on how to improve the UN. The United States House of Representatives passed a bill 17 July 2005 threatening to slash funds to the UN in half by 2008 if it does not meet certain criteria. In 2011 the United States contributed 22% of the UN’s total budget; ranking number one amogsnt the top 15 contributors to the UN in 2011.
As of 1 January 2011, the top providers of asessed financial contributions to the United Nations peacekeeping operations were: the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, China, Canada, Spain and the Republic of Korea (www. UN. org, 2011). A RAND Corp studied revealed that the UN successfully accomplishes two out of three peacekeeping efforts, and compared to the UN nation-building effort to the United States and found that seven out of ten UN cases are peace as compared with four out of eight US cases at peace (www.
RAND. com, 2008). Studies have showed that the United Nations are aggressively eradicating affecting issues with influences of member states; number one contributor being the United States. The UN is not a government, so it is not funded as such. The United Nations is funded through voluntary contributions from member states. One of the functions of the General Assembly is to approve the yearly budget, and determine the assessment for each member state.
A member state’s gross national income (GNI) is the determining factor in how much a country has to contribute to the budget, with adjustments for external debt and low per capita income (www. UN. org, 2006). Other prominent United Nations agencies include the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, the World Food Program (WFP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), International Atomic Energy Agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Through these other agencies the United Nations is able to perform humanitarian work. The UN provides vaccinations to third world countries through the WHO organization, avoidance of famine and malnutrition through the WFP organization, and provides protection to the vulnerable and displaced people with the help of the UNHCR. The United Nations is the world’s truly global organization.
Providing a forum and platform for issues that go out of the boundary scope of nations, the UN purpose is to provide global assistance that cannot be resolved by any one country acting alone. In the six and a half decades since its creation the UN primary focus is world peace, promoting economic and social progress in addition to adapting to the changing world around us. Adopting issues surrounded AIDS, climate change, and international terrorism.