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Relevance of U.N. in a Unipolar World


To analyze the role and performance of the UN in the past and its relevance in the present day unipolar world.


The UN has completed fifty seven years and apparently seems to be more assertive, confident and visible, both in its approach and actions. The recent manifestations of this confidence have been its interventions in Kuwait, Somalia, Angola, Rwanda, Zaire and Afghanistan. Yet, with the end of the cold war and the emergence of a unipolar world, the UN is under increasing pulls and pressures to play to a single tune.

After  the failure  of  the League of Nations, the  necessity of an international  organization  of  wider  character was felt.  This  need  was fulfilled  with  the creation of the  UN  in  1945.

Since its foundation, the UN has passed through three distinct stages and is now in the fourth stage. These stages are marked by the changing voting pattern in the General Assembly and leadership in the UN.  The under mentioned three stages will be discussed in detail:

  • The  period  up to mid  1960ís  saw the  pre eminence  of  the US in the  UN.
  • The  period  between the  mid 1960ís to end  of  1980ís  witnessed the  USSR  exploiting  the  North South  divide  and US bashing  in the  General Assembly.
  • The  period  between late 1980ís till break  up  of  the USSR brought  the UN back to a  position  of  strength  as  a world  body.

The disintegration of USSR also ended the Cold War and a unipolar world took the place of the bipolar world. The US emerged as the sole super power bringing in a different world order.  The replacement of the bipolar world by unipolarism has made the US dominate the world as it is the only super power left on the scene. This is a far more important development for the normal conduct of international relations and for the organization.

Besides  the US,  Japan,  the European  Union,  China,  Russia  and India  are emerging as center of powers.  Thus, the  nature  of  this  evolution is such that the  world order  can be described  as  polycentric.

In the  changed environment  the UN faces  the following  challenges which will be analyzed in detail:

  • Nuclear weapons.
  • Islamic fundamentalism.
  • North - South divide.
  • Science and technology.
  • Population explosion.
  • Finances.

The UN is doing a yeomanís service to the world through its various organizations that work to maintain peace and good health, and eradicate hunger, disease and misery all around the world. The world now more than ever needs a strong international organization.  We need a UN which genuinely expresses the collective will, upholds common standards, and is willing and able to take concerted and consistent action wherever there is default in its resolutions and international law.

Three main tasks - viz to provide a system for maintaining international peace and security; to device means of managing essential global problems, that is to say basic problems which no one government can manage on its own; and to develop a world society based on international law - are necessaryto make the UN stronger.

Towards this end, the following recommendations are made:

  • Restructuring and strengthening of the UN by giving equal representation to all the regions.
  • Make Security Council accountable to the General Assembly.
  • Place the UN on a sound financial footing.
  • Restructure peace keeping operations by adopting pro active approach using preventive diplomacy and peacemaking/peace building.
  • Reform World Bank and the IMF
  • Revitalize all other international organizations.

The UN has to feel the realities of the New World Order, as the distant future is concerned; it appears as though the World Order would be based on the co-existence of the sovereign-state system and international organizations.  Neither can exist without the other.  The two are complementary and supplementary, with the former being, of course, absolutely indispensable.

The UN has to be a universal international organization with due importance given to the Third World in decision making.  The mantle of world leadership though seems to have fallen on US under present circumstances, but with the end of Cold War the only organization which probably can bring peace and security to the future world and human race is the UN.

Number of Words: 9,000
Number of Pages: approx. 40
Price: $ 100

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