Friday, August 30, 2019
The Un and Peacekeeping
CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSION INTRODUCTION Since its inception in 1945, the United Nations has been involved in peacekeeping operations and conflict resolutions in the international system. According to Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations, the UN is expected Ã¢â¬Å"to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by lawful means, and in conformity with the principle of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace. The United Nations has been charged with vast responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security. Two organs were created for this purpose: the Security Council (which consists of fifteen members, five permanent members with veto power and ten non permanent members) and the General Assembly (which consist of representatives from all member states). This essay seeks to examine and analyze the role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security using the Korean War as a case study. THE UN AND PEACEKEEPING Peacekeeping is defined by the United Nations as Ã¢â¬Å"a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict, create the conditions for lasting peace. The Security Council of United Nations has been given the responsibility to take collective action to maintain international peace and security. The Ã¢â¬Å"Uniting for PeaceÃ¢â¬ resolution adopted by the General Assembly in 1954 imposes the responsibility of maintenance of international peace and security on the General Assembly under certain conditions. The United Nations, after the approval by the Security Council sends peacekeepers to regions where armed conflict has recently ceased or paused to enforce the terms of peace agreements and to discourage combatants from resuming hostilities. Since the United Nations does not maintain its own military, peacekeeping forces are voluntarily provided by member states of the United Nations. The founders of the United Nations envisaged that the organization would help to prevent conflicts between states and in the process, prevent outbreak of another major war in the future. The United Nations would have been able to achieve this successfully if not for the outbreak of the Cold War. The outbreak of the Cold War made it extremely difficult for the United Nations to successfully resolve issues and conflicts because of the division of the world into hostile camps. The United States and Western Europe on one side and the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and part of Asia on the other side. This caused a stalemate in decision making in the Security Council as both powers (United States and Soviet Union) used their veto power to check each other. The United Nations found it extremely difficult to come to a resolution on issues where both super powers had national interests. In such case as the Korean War where after the Soviet Union used her veto power to reject resolutions and left the Security Council completely paralyzed, the General Assembly through the Ã¢â¬Å"Uniting for PeaceÃ¢â¬ resolution assumed the responsibility of making decisions. In spite of the various obstacles the United Nations faced during the Cold War era in conflict resolution, it was however to an extent successful in maintaining international peace and security and most importantly, the outbreak of another World War. THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE KOREAN WARThe Korean War from 1950 to 1953 was the most severe test the United Nations had to face since its inception in 1945. As part of the Cold War scenario, the Korean War was a complicated issue with which the United Nations had to successfully deal with or lose credibility just five years after it had come into being. The Korean experience tested the United Nations ability and credibility in maintaining international peace and security. In some ways the Korean episode could be regarded as the United Nations finest hour. Here for the first and only time in its history, the Security Council called on its members to go to the defense of a state under armed attack1. It also marked the first attempt by an international organization to check an act of aggression, and it stands as the only occasion on which enforcement action had been taken against aggressor states or other authorities2. Here in consequences the forces of a number of countries fought under the United Nations flag to defend the principle that aggression should not be allowed to succeed3. But the concept of collective security was not upheld as only a quarter of the membership of he United Nations sent military assistance to South Korea and the sixteen states which did so were all Western countries. This was an example of alliance strategy than of enforcement action by an international organization; of collective defence rather than collective security. The fact that a great majority of the United Nation membership though pro- western were u nwilling to send significant armed support to the country whose existence was threatened showed that the action would scarcely be said whole heartedly to fulfill the ideals enshrined in the Charter of the UN4. The dominance exercised by the United States over the entire operation in the Korean crisis deprived it of the name of the genuine collective security. This was demonstrated in the early stages by the fact that most of the Security Council initiatives and resolutions were really in origin United States proposals. At the onset of North Korea attack on South Korea, the United States was the first state to send assistance both financially and militarily to South Korea even before the United Nations had taken a decision on the matter. The military operation was headed by a United States commander and decision that were taken originated directly from the White House and not from the UN secretariat. This defeated the purpose of collective security by placing the responsibility of a peacekeeping mission in the hands of a super power. This contrasted radically with the subsequent practice of the UN in organizing peace-keeping forces from 1956 onward. In these cases the super power were normally excluded from participation altogether. And no single power or even a group of powers was able to dominate policy in the way the United States was allowed to do in Korea5. This gave a clear indication that the UN was dominated by the United States. Nearly 90% of all army personnel, 93% of all air power and 80% of all naval power for the Korean War had come from the United States. The Chinese got involved in the war (this escalated and prolonged the war) on the basis that they viewed the whole operation not as an United Nations peacekeeping mission but an effort by the United States to gain control of Asia using the United Nation as a cover to invade both Koreas and China. The decision of the United Nations Forces to cross the 38th parallel also originated from the United States. The United States brought the proposal for the United Nations forces to cross the 38th parallel and enter North Korea before the General Assembly even though most of the participating states were against it. Even though there were other states that participated in the peace keeping operations, their opinion were barely considered by the United States. Major of the decision making processes was held in Washington rather than New York. While the success of the United Nations in repelling aggression in Korea had been in large part due to the contribution of the United States, the dominant role of the United States weakened the collective character of the operation6. Throughout the whole episode, the United Nations failed to institute or even attempt to institute any effective negotiations among the parties concerned as in the case of South Korea and North Korea and also the United States and the Soviet Union after the division of Korea. The United Nations also failed before 1950 to bring the two parties (North and South Korea) into discussion to as to bring about a resolution or involve the use of a mediator or good office to help along with negotiations; instead the United Nations held on to its demands for all Korean Ã¢â¬â election under the UN auspices. The Korean experience has shown that the Charter provision and machinery for which the Charter provides can be adapted and utilized under certain conditions to defeat aggression and to discourage aggression in advance7. Since the decline of the Cold War, the UN however, has been more effective and efficient in maintaining international peace and security. The Korean experienced questioned the UN as a useful and promising means of dealing with threats to and breaches of the peace by collective measures and its limitations. The Ã¢â¬Å"Uniting for PeaceÃ¢â¬ resolution which was passed by the General Assembly during the Korean War created a whole new dynamic. The veto power of the permanent members of the Security Council sometimes cripples the Council as it make decision making harder and slower in cases where the super powers have different contrasting interest as could be seen in the Korea conflict where the Soviet Union used her veto power to cripple the resolution passed by the other members of the council. The Ã¢â¬Å"Uniting for PeaceÃ¢â¬ resolution gave the General Assembly the power and responsibility to make decisions under such circumstances where the Security Council is crippled and in capable of making decisions concerning the security matters. The Korean experience served as an important lesson for the UN in its pursuit of international peace and security. It has also shown that the purpose of collective security is to restore international peace and security and not do justice, particularly if the doing of justice, which often is highly controversial and in practice requires some accommodation of conflicting interests involves a serious risk of extending the war. Furthermore there is the additional danger where one member has disproportionate share in the direction of the operation that the member will seek to use the operation for implementation of its own national policies, policies which may not be in harmony with the interests and policies of other members of the United Nations. The United Nations could justifiably hold that it had fought a successful war to defend a nation under attack what it could not claim, after eight years of discussion, was that it had brought any nearer a resolution of the Korean problem. CONCLUSION The Korean War served as an important lesson to UN. In spite of the various obstacles it has faced the United Nations had been able to improve and make amendment. Since the decline of the Cold War which was a major factor in the outcome of the Korean War has also strengthened the United Nations in the area of conflict resolution and peace keeping operation. ENDNOTES 1. Evan Luard, A History of the United Nations Volume 1: The Years of Western Domination 1945-1955 (Macmillan 1982), p. 71-272. 2. D. W. Bowett, United Nations Forces. A Legal Study of United Nations Practice (London, Sterens and Sons, 1984), p. 30 3. Evan Luard, A History of the United Nations Volume 1: The Years of Western Domination 1945-1955 (Macmillan 1982), p. 272. 4. Ibid, p. 272-273. 5. Ibid, p. 273. 6. Leland M. Goodrich, Ã¢â¬Å"The United Nations and the Korean War: A Case StudyÃ¢â¬ , Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science, Vol. 25. No. 2. United Nations: Success or Failure p. 103. 7. Ibid, p. 102.