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To what extent can the UN shape order and ensure justice (prevent war and conflict) in world politics? Discuss

Effectiveness and the strengths of the UN

Limitations and challenges of the UN- Your analysis of the limitations of the UN can briefly point out to some conclusion about the future of the UN.

Effects/impacts of the Veto power on war and conflict- does it cause any limitations on the UN peacekeeping efforts?

Failures of the United Nations in the past such as the 1971 Bangladesh Genocide and Sri Lanka Civil war

Degree of impact of the UN on world order and justice

Positive side of things, can you imagine a world without the UN?

Synthesise your arguments and provide analysis- greater depth in the analysis and research required.

Effectiveness and Strengths of the UN

The United Nations was established with a purpose of uniting nations and ensuring that harmony prevails among them. As envisaged in its Charter, it was started to save the next generations from the menace of war following the lessons that came as a result of the Second World War. The war did not only shape the mission of the organization, but it also helped in guiding its work to help it meet the evolving challenges of the modern world. Now, the question is; to what extent can the UN shape order and ensure justice (prevent war and conflict) in world politics? This essay explains the degree of impact of the UN to the world by discussing its strengths, limitations, effects and failures.  

Usually, an international organization is perceived to be the auditorium where only the state actors can perform aside from providing rational and sincerity to the body. However, the UN is characterized as an international body that impacts more people and states than regional organizations. It largely reflects the conscience of the people having the states as the representatives and not to compete with the common individuals. As a result of this, it became an article of faith, as well as, a vital standard of foreign policies of most of the countries in the world.

Second, the UN brings states together particularly to encourage and attain peace, development and respect for the rights of the people. Since its inception in 1945, the UN was meant to face the most important challenges that result from the internal system (Villani, 2015). It was designed to have a structure that functions to curb the adverse effects of globalization like the spread of multinational dangers and to provide peace and security to the nations. In order for them to reach their goal, the body got provided with an exclusive entity that would have held the special power to handle the concerns. Its step to endorse peace and security was of help to the international community as it assisted them in solving the most horrible disaster of the past century and to prevent the dreads of a different war in the world.

Third, most states are sensitive to the opinion of the United Nations concerning their actions. This implies that the attention of the UN can actually end up to a positive outcome. This is clear during the 1960s and 1970s when the Security Council managed to preclude the growth of the conflict of the US-USSR. In the same years, there was a significant enlargement of the UN membership, where the new born states that resulted from the decolonization process surrender to their requests for acceptance to join the international security system. It showed that they shared with the main objective of the United Nations of keeping peace and security despite the fact that they might have differed in their interests and objectives in terms of their social policies. Of course, this was an indispensible situation for the new born states, since they would have had the chance to focus on the interior practices of building the state and the nation because of international stability.

Limitations and Challenges of the UN

In essence, the UN did not only come up as an effective universal International Organization but also developed a medium to talk about some relevant problems like economic and monetary stability, equitable and sustainable development, among others. It was meant to “deliver to the people of the world a successful outcome” (Thakur, Ramesh and Weiss 2009, p.29). It was designed to meet this objective, which has also been proven to be crucial to intricate a mutual action to face global problems.

In spite of the UN being outstanding in its commitment to handle the international concern, its system lately shows some relevant limitations and challenges, which inhibit its capability to develop enough and become the synonym of the government of the world. Firstly, the UN reflects the realities of politics as it was during the Second World War in 1945 (Bose, 2017). Basically, the traits of the world scenario after the Second World War included the dominance of the power system in the world by the traditional ones like France, Britain and new monoliths like the former Soviet Union and the United States; having the Asia and Africa’s vast territories remaining colonies; totally destructing the political and economic systems of power in Japan and Germany; among other characteristics.

Secondly, the UN’s new contemporary global challenges are endangering its effectiveness and solidity (Karns 2017, p.337). As an example, this is demonstrated in the spread of security threats like the illicit arms trade and the transnational terrorism. These criteria have emphasized limits of the action of the Security Council particularly the security system of the United Nations body to guarantee peace and international stability. In case threat arises from the non-state actors that do not represent any political entity or are not connected to any particular territory, it becomes difficult for the organization to demonstrate a proper plan that can prevent them (Villani, 2015). Most observers indicate that the security system of the UN has a main deficiency since it lacks an international army. The initiators had initially intended to reinforce a fighting structure that is directly controlled by the Security Council so that it successfully implements the common engagements of the military to reinstate peace. Nonetheless, the project was not successful because the Member states were reluctant in creating a common army. In this case, the UN military structure required an important financial commitment of the Member States, as well as, an outstanding destructive capacity unlike the national armies.

Thirdly, the UN lacks accountability and democratic mechanisms affecting its structure. The Security Council is composed in such a way that it still reflects the distribution of power of the post Second World War. This is so because it has five permanent members, the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China and France, having more supremacies and rights like veto power than the non-permanent members. On this note, it is clear that the structure of the Security Council is obsolete being that the distribution of power has greatly changed over the last decades and the tenets of parity among the sovereign states have spread internationally.

Effects and Impacts of the Veto Power on War and Conflict

Lastly, the UN system lacks a tool to authorize the rulings of the International Court of Justice. During the creation of this court, the states came to a consensus that they would accept the jurisdiction of the Court so that it can have the opportunity to rule its arguments. This came as a result of the two circumstances. (1) There was no government all over the world that would force states to adhere to and respect the verdicts of the ICJ. (2) Countries disallowed their efforts to limit their sovereignty due to the jealous of their powers and independence. As a corollary, there was no provided device to guarantee the decision of the Court was respected. Besides, until today, its judgments still rely on the will of the Member States.

As a consequence of these deficiencies of the UN, the international community calls for a structural and considerable transformation of the body. Since it was founded, it is evident that the organization has undergone many considerable transformations (Majekodunmi 2017, p.352). Nonetheless, it is still important that some relevant progress must be accomplished for it to expand its competence and grant the value of its actions alongside the universal challenges, international threat and present-day security concerns (Karns 2017, p.333).

The veto has always emerged in the work of the United Nations Security Council. The hidden vetoes have had a negative influence on the Security Council’s work (Okhovat 2011, p.19). An example of this abuse is the Washington’s endless danger of vetoes on the engagements of the Security Council that worsens the international crises. The US, however, stops any substantive threats even if the Arab group has had meetings regarding the issue. However, the threat has become threatened by the employment of the veto on the resolutions that are judged as either unconstructive or unfair by Washington.

The veto power also helps the permanent members to control their agendas from taking up particular concerns. The Council does not talk about the crises that members consider to be within their exclusive range of interest. Even before when the vetoes were employed much frequently, the hidden ones still kept key issues like the Cold War conflicts and the colonial wars off the agenda (Nahory, 2004). In addition to that, the veto power also has a blocking action. The hidden veto weakens most resolutions by putting aside the language that most members do not approve. In January 2004, France came up with a draft resolution to protect the children in armed conflict.

Generally, veto power has had terrible effects and thus limits the UN body in its peacekeeping efforts. It is because of it that the Security Council failed to act in 1994 over the Rwandan genocide. Aside from that, it made Washington and Paris to block the action of the organization and weaken the definition of the crisis in the international law. Basically, veto hinders the organization from achieving its objective to attack the “conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism including prolonged unresolved conflicts, dehumanization of victims of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, lack of the rule of law and violations of human rights, ethnic, national and religious discrimination, political exclusion, socioeconomic marginalization and lack of good governance ” (Thakur, Ramesh and Weiss 2009, p.26).Thus, abolishing the veto power can help resolve the issues arising from the hidden veto (Okhovat 2011, p.25).

Failures of the United Nations in the past such as the 1971 Bangladesh Genocide and Sri Lanka Civil War

After the formation of the United Nations, the UN has worked hard to maintain the international security and peace as well as trying to develop friendly nations amongst nations. The UN has also succeeded in in ending different conflicts and wars. Notwithstanding their success, it has also faced various disastrous failures that have negatives affected various nations. Some of these failures include Nuclear Proliferation, Civil War in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh Genocide, Veto Power, Srebrenica Massacre, and Darfur among others.

When the UN was created, the U.S. it was only the U.S. that was allowed to own and test nuclear weapons. However, in 1970, various nations signed non-proliferation treaty. In spite of this treaty, many nations continue to develop these weapons, and the stockpiles of nuclear remains high in countries such as Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan. This disappointment of the non-proliferation treaty explains the ineptitude of the United Nations (Listverse, 2013). Additionally, the UN failure is also evident in the bloody civil war in Sri Lanka that lasted over twenty years. The last month to end of the War in 2009, fighting forced numerous people to flee, and over fifty thousand civilians got trapped. The UN Human Rights were rights got urged by the independent experts to investigate the claims, but the United Nations failed to make any effort to arbitrate on behalf of the citizens. More than 6,500 citizens got killed from January to April of 2009 (Listverse, 2013).

Moreover, the United Nations has also been accused of failing to stop children sexual abuse by not able to talk publicly about the peacekeepers conducts. This was reported in Kosovo, Cambodia, Bosnia, Mozambique, and Haiti in1990s. The UN refused to condemn the peacemakers because they were afraid that public shaming would have discouraged countries from joining peacekeeping forces. Other than that, the UN also was accused of failing due to presence of Veto of Power. The security council of the United Nations comprised of five permanent nations. Even though the United Nations Security Council consist of fifteen nations’ members, no Council resolution can be adopted if a single nation from the five permanent members vetoes a vote. It is evident in 2012 when Russia and China vetoed the revocation of Chapter VII sanctions from the United Nations Charter to arbitrate and stop genocide in Syria (Listverse, 2013).. Thousands of lives have been killed, with numerous civilians displaced.

Furthermore, the Srebrenica Massacre was attributed to the United Nations failure. In this massacre, the Serbian forces overpowered the few United Nation peacekeepers who were protecting the targeted Bosniaks who felt that the UN peacekeepers provided a safe-zone for them. It happen after the UN disarmed the military unit that were in the safe zone. Despite the presence of the UN peacekeeping, the Serbian military got into the camp, raped and killed civilian without any resistance (Listverse, 2013). In Darfur, numerous civilians lost their lives due to late intervention and minimal number of the UN peacekeepers. The Sudan government hired the Janjaweed after they were defeated by the various militia groups. This group killed civilians, which prompted the condemnation Kofi Annan who was by then the UN Secretary General. When the UN got in Sudan, they also urged the African Union to intervene, which did not resolve anything.

Positive Side of Things: Can You Imagine a World Without the UN?

On the other hand, the UN failure was also connected to the Bangladesh genocide in 1971. They failed to help the civilians when Pakistan military launched a crackdown to suppress Bengali, which was calling self-determination. During the independence war, the Pakistani forces and the other associate militias such as Razakars and Al Bards killed 3,000,000 people and raped over 200,000 Bengali women. The UN security forces failed to avert the killings and numerous rape cases by the UN security forces being deployed at a later stage of the War.

The United Nations effects on the world order and justice is in a greater level. However, the issue of equal opportunities has further complicated the efforts to conclude whether ground has been gained or lost in the realm of social justice. The United Nations main purpose under the Charter is to uphold worldwide peace and security (Thakur & Weiss, 2009, p. 23). The UNs have developed various policies within it for the purposes of trying to combat and eliminate terrorism. The common policies have allowed this to happen without any problem.

The international terrorism threat has also been addressed globally inside the framework of particular United Nations resolutions and measures. The 13th United Nations convention against terrorism made it a crime for any nation to possess radioactive or any device that can cause death, substantial destruction to property or serious injury. These security solutions together with the International Convention for Suppression of Terrorists Financing have denied the terrorists the monetary means for their evil activities (Thakur & Weiss, 2009, p. 23). On the other hand, the freezing of their assets, stopping them from crossing borders, and refuting them the weapons has led to the reduction of the deadly attacks. Even though the thirteen treaties concerning terrorism have failed to address terrorist acts in totality, they do establish a substantial body of guidelines to which nations can seek.

By stressing and centering its action on the idea that equality is an opportunity on the broader context of economic justice, the UN is probably satisfying the universal human need and ambition. The new doctrine arrangement on the UN with regard to development and social justice, the non-State and non-public actors in the evolution of the social and economic societies of the world have the recognition. The United Nations has positively impacted the civil society organization in the operational and normative work by allowing them to participate in social development (, 2015). Furthermore, the UN has tried to reduce the difference capacity between the wealthy and the deprived countries, but according to Desmond Tutu, that difference carries “adaptation apartheid”. On the other hand, the UN has also used the elementary policy outline for making verdicts on the correct global mitigation. In entirety, ‘‘choices about the scale and timing of GHG mitigation involve balancing the economic costs of more rapid emission reductions now against the corresponding medium-term and long-term climate risks of delay’’(Thakur & Weiss, 2009, p. 29). Other than that, the support of the UN to globe is vital through financial contributions, standard settings, tax credit and market creation.

Synthesise Your Arguments and Provide Analysis - Greater Depth in the Analysis and Research Required

The United Nations goals have across the world has been to eradicate poverty, senseless violence, disease, racial disparity, and inequality among others. Many countries have benefited from the intervention of the United Nations in many crisis situations. Therefore, without the UN no action would be in place on the environment change, for example, in the global agreements on human rights or the Paris climate accords. Many countries never had a methodology for the public to involve the organization, but the UN made that possible into the charter (Matz and Hansen, 2016). The Civil society in various countries, the religious organizations, and the secular organizations has engaged in the work of the United Nations making sure things happen the right way.

The importance of the Unites Nations is high that it is unbelievable even to think of the world without it. Therefore, there is a need to not forget the problems that various nations could face if there is no international body that can act as a mediator to solve issues that violates human rights and the environment wellbeing. The extreme poverty that numerous nations have been facing could just get worst. The United Nations have been fighting disparity and unfairness, and to resolve climate change. These are very vital global goals and the international changing aims that requires corporation amongst the governments, and international organizations and leaders (Johnson and Rickard 2017, p. 879). Without the United Nations acting as a middle ground, none of these could be achieved.

Although the UN is being blamed for not failing to prevent or solved various issues that have led to genocide, however, if the United Nations could not have been there, uncountable lives could have been lost in War tone nations. The involvement of the United Nations peace keepers in various nations reduced the number of human right violations such as sexual abuses, killings, and displacement. Moreover, the UN has been providing refuge to various displaced civilians that have fled their countries due to the fight between the rebels’ militia and the government (Johnson and Rickard 2017, p. 880). Several refugee camps have been put up in various nations by the UN where they provide food and other amenities to displaced persons. Therefore, who could have provided such refuge to the innocent civilians if the UN was not in existence? Moreover, it is known that when there is a pandemics break out, the international communities have been coming together to eradicate the disease by providing the necessary financial and organizational support. The absence of such supports may lead to high fatality in the developing nations in case there are any pandemics.  


To conclude with, it is right to say that the United Nations has done its best in trying to protect human rights and wellbeing of the environment. It has also been effective in numerous circumstances. However, it has also been faced by various challenges and in some cases failed to perform their intended goal of protecting human rights violations. Some of the challenges affecting the UN operations have also been seen coming from the veto power. On the other hand, it is also evident that the UN failures have resulted to the numerous genocides in different nations. Moreover, the United Nations has greater impacts on world order and justice depending on the global mitigations. Lastly, it can be said the positive things that the UN has done outweighs its failures and therefore, the world without is a mess.


Bose, T. (2017). SM: United Nations: Political Strengths and Weaknesses. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Sep. 2017].

Johnson, T. and Rickard, V. (2017). United Nations, Uniting Nations: International Support Cues and American Attitudes on Environmental Sustainability*. Social Science Quarterly, 98(3), pp.876-893.

Karns, MP. (2017). 'A Pivotal Moment in Global Governance? Looking Back to Look Forward', Global Governance, 23, 3, pp. 329-347.

Listverse. (2013). Top 10 Failures of the United Nations - Listverse. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Aug. 2017].

Majekodunmi, B. (2017). 'Prevention Crisis: The Need for New Consensus at the United Nations', Global Governance, 23, 3, pp. 349-361.

Matz, L., Hansen, N., Matz, L., Matz, L. and Matz, L. (2016). Milwaukee leaders imagine a world without the United Nations | The Milwaukee Independent. [online] The Milwaukee Independent. Available at: [Accessed 10 Sep. 2017].

Nahory, C. (2004). The Hidden Veto. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Sep. 2017].

Okhovat, S. (2011). ‘The United Nations Security Council: Its Veto Power and its Reform’,  Major Issues and Theology Foundation Limited, pp.6-56. Available at:

Thakur, Ramesh and Thomas G. Weiss, (2009). “United Nation?s „Policy?: An Argument with Three Illustrations”, International Studies Perspectives, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 18-35. (2015). 70 Ways the UN Makes A Difference | United Nations Seventieth Anniversary. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Sep. 2017].

Villani, C. (2015). The United Nations: Strengths and weaknesses – International Association for Political Science Students. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Sep. 2017].

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