The United Nations Security Council is the largest body in the world that is mandated with the task of maintaining peace and security among its member states. It is also considered to be one of the most powerful arms of the UN whose mandate is to carry out debates geared towards enforcing world peace. The UN has been successful on several occasions in maintaining world order through its intervention in conflicts. However, some of the changes in the objectives of the council have led to the implementation of decisions that have not been positive and this has affected its methods of maintaining world order. This paper, therefore, addresses the occasions when the UN Security Council has been successful in maintaining peace and security in the world, as well as the occasions when it has failed to do so.
The success of the United Nations Security Council
The UN through the five great powers (that is, China, USA, France, and the Soviet Union) has created an effective security council to help in the maintenance of world peace. This has been made possible through its implementation of decisions for peacekeeping missions that help to improve security levels in the world (United Nations, 2008). The United Nation’s Security Council is structured in such a manner that it is supposed to respond to international conflicts through its voting system of debate. When all the member states of the council agree to maintain peace, such decisions are implemented very fast. Any breach of international peace or threat to peace within the United States is also addressed effectively. As a result, the UN Security Council can maintain peace and security in the world.
Civil War in Yugoslavia
The civil war in Yugoslavia was one of the conflicts when the UN Security Council was able to effectively resolve the conflict successfully. The foreign affairs minister in Yugoslavia went to request for the resolution of the conflict at the Security Council in 1991. Consequently, a decision was made to end the conflict and it was very successful. The UN Security Council came up with efficient strategies for dealing with the ethnic-led conflict in the country (Bourantonis, 2007). Some of the decisions for solving the conflict that was imposed included trade sanctions into the fighting areas to help weaken the locals. The only shipments that were to be allowed into the country were those consisting of medicinal products and food.
Some of the factors that led to the resolution of the Yugoslavian war include the use of military force from member states to maintain peace. The participation of the military helped the United Nations Security Council to maintain peace through disarmament processes and also through the creation of buffer zones where the people could not continue with the fight (Hillare, 2005). Due to the agenda for peace by the United Nations Security Council, most of the troops sent to the region had a common mandate of reinforcing peace and security. In addition, observer missions which consisted of standby officials from the Security Council were also sent to help reinforce security in the country. The success of the UN in maintaining peace was applauded by many political leaders across Europe.
Taliban Regime in Afghanistan
The Taliban regime was one of the terrorist groups that controlled most of the regions in Afghanistan by the end of the 20th Century. Many countries such as the United States have intervened and come up with resolutions to bring an end to the regime but they have failed. For instance, the US through its powerful military has sent its troops to the region but failed miserably due to increased casualties of the soldiers leading to the withdrawal of its troops in the region (Hillare, 2005). Most of the Taliban leaders in the regime have been the masterminds of terrorist attacks in many countries all over the world. Although many countries intervened to end the Taliban regime, they failed because the group is powerful, and has a sound economic base. However, a decision by the UN Security Council helped to resolve and end the regime.
Some of the resolutions were imposed by the UN Security Council to help end the Taliban rule in Afghanistan included imposing trade sanctions and restrictions on businesses affiliated with the Taliban. In addition, the UN Security Council also froze the financial assets of the group. These sanctions were largely implemented by all the neighboring countries where the Taliban was believed to possess assets (Bourantonis, 2007). At the same time, the UN also sent military troops to Afghanistan to help in the peacekeeping mission through disarmament and capturing of military leaders of the group. This was a successful move because it brought to an end the rule of the Taliban. In addition, it also crippled its leaders financially. Today, the defeat of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan remains one of the historical successes of the UN Security Council.
Failure of United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is recognized as the largest international arm of the UN with the mandate to debate on issues affecting the new world order. On several occasions, the council has been successful in its effort to maintain peace and security in the world. However, there are times when its attempts to resolve conflicts have failed dismally. This is because the world is experiencing a lot of changes with new forms of conflicts brought about by the challenges of the 20th century. For instance, the development of technology and the widening gap between the developed and developing nations has also led to international conflicts (Yehuda, 1992).
Other factors that have contributed to the rising of conflicts include disease and poverty. Instead of preventing these conflicts, the UN policies have also failed to address issues affecting world order. This has led to the assertion that the UN Security Council be changed because it has led to world disorder.
The Israeli- Palestinian Conflict
To begin with, the Israeli- Palestinian conflict has undergone different phases since it started. Although many international bodies have engaged themselves in the conflict, it is one of the most symbolic conflicts that show how attempts by the United Nations Security Council to bring world order have not been successful. As a result of the council’s failure to resolve the conflict, it developed into a crisis despite interventions from most of the powerful international bodies (Yehuda, 1992). The United Nations has politicized the conflict by coming up with unnecessary debates on the issue. This has eventually resulted in wastage of the council’s resources and this could be attributed to intervention strategies that have failed to resolve the conflict effectively.
One of the reasons why the UN Security Council has failed to come up with solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian crisis is the fact that the council has been raising one-sided resolutions that favor the Israelis over the conflict. This has led to the Palestinian leaders thinking that the United Nations has sidelined them in their right to self-defense. As a result, the Palestinians are still involved in fighting, even after the intervention into the crisis by the UN (Chester & Pamela, 2007). Some of the peacekeeping missions which have been authorized by the UN Security Council have failed because they do not address the current issues which led to the growth of the conflict. In addition, both sides have also failed to agree with the UN intervention because of the discriminative nature of its policies.
Iraq- Iran Crisis
Since 1996, the United Nations Security Council has been in disagreement over the Iraq- Iran crisis. This is because the council did not come up with current solutions to address the fundamental issues affecting the people of Iran and Iraq. Many analysts argue that the council provided solutions that only addressed the internal issues in the two nations (Yehuda, 1992). Nevertheless, the council did not have effective models which could address issues affecting the international stage. This led to the Iran- Iran conflict that eventually spilled over to the neighboring countries. This also affected world order because the issues leading to the conflict could be managed by the UN Security Council. Arguably, if the council does not provide solutions to maintain world order it should be disbanded or changed to increase its efficiency.
The Iran-Iraqi conflict developed into a crisis and later into a civil war due to inefficiencies in Kuwait. The war attracted world attention to a point where failure to intervene would have disrupted the world order. In addition, western powers have felt the need to get involved in the crisis because the UN Security Council has not been effective (Chester & Pamela, 2007). The United States sends its troupes to the two nations to solve the conflict but to no avail, notwithstanding the interventions by NATO. Finally, Kuwait’s intervention in the conflict helped to provide solutions where the UN Security Council had failed. This made the world leaders come up with controversies regarding the ineffectiveness of the UN Security Council. Many of them proposed changing the whole security system in the United Nations body to enhance the implementation of world order
The Cold War
The UN Security Council also failed to provide resolutions for the cold war. The council failed to come up with solutions to the problems which were affecting people at the time. For instance, the council did not address the issues of the humanitarian crisis. The UN Security Council considered the issues of humanitarian problems as the mandate of the Red Cross which is dependent on the United Nations (Bourantonis, 2007).
Additionally, the humanitarian issues at the time were so gross that they could not be addressed by the Red Cross alone. On the contrary, the UN was only reactive on the ground providing military power but failing to answer humanitarian issues which are basic in the world.
Many studies argue that the UN Security Council failed to address the human rights issues on the course of the cold war due to its lack of sovereignty. However, the entire system has been overhauled, thereby giving it additional powers to tackle conflicts (Chester & Pamela, 2007). This has led to the creation of tribunals which have helped to solve issues relating to the violation of international laws on human rights. In addition, the end of the cold war also led to the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to solve the injustices of the civilians. To increase the maintenance of the world order, the council has also created hybrid courts which maintain issues relating to human rights and also help in monitoring human rights across the world
In summation, the impact of the United Nations Security Council in maintaining world order cannot be taken for granted. Through its debates, the council has helped to improve peace and security by coming up with policies that address issues leading to such conflicts. However, there are cases when the council has also failed in its attempts to maintain world order. This has been a result of the implementation of policies that do not address the issues caused by the changing world.
To reinforce the council’s effectiveness, the whole security system should be reformed. The council should be changed to enable its adaptation and response to the changing geopolitical systems of the world. All the limiting factors which cause the ineffectiveness of the council should also be addressed to help answer the core issues affecting the council. Finally, this will help to improve the legitimacy of the council and also help increase its standards in maintaining world order.
Bourantonis, D 2007, The History and Politics of UN Security Council Reform, Oxford University Press, Washington.
Chester, A & Pamela, R. A 2007, Leashing the dogs of war: conflict management in a divided world, United States Institute of Peace Press, Washington.
Hillare, M 2005, United Nations law and the Security Council, Ashgate, Aldershot.
United Nations 2008, The United Nations Security Council and war: the evolution of thought and practice since 1945, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Yehuda, L 1992, The Israeli-Palestinian conflict: a documentary record, Cambridge University Press, London.