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The United Nations: Paper Tiger? Essay

A paper tiger?
The United Nations (U.N.) represents almost every nation in the world, with close to 200 member nations. Formed by world leaders a few months after the end of World War II, in 1945, the United Nations set world peace as its primary objective. While international tensions continued to run high throughout the Cold War, the U.N. helped world leaders negotiate differences and avoid another war on the scale of World War II. Over time, the U.N. has evolved – – today, it initiates and sponsors many peace-keeping operations around the world and functions as an international watchdog, regarding things such as the production of nuclear materials. The U.N.’s International Court of Justice, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, World Health Organization and environmental protocols have united the nations of the world on issues of vital importance.

The meaning of the U.N. being a ‘paper tiger’ basically states that even though it can seemingly be dangerous and powerful, it is in fact timid and weak. This has been bought to the table on many occasions as the U.N. has had great advantages to prove that they can be useful by fixing worldwide problems and trying to bring peace to our so called ‘cold world’, but have failed to put pen to paper, or should I say, paper to the real world. By passing resolutions, it does say that the representatives of each country want to change what is happening in society but the problem with the U.N. is that they never seem to take action in actually fixing the problem. By saying this, it isn’t as easy as it would most probably look and it would definitely cost a lot more for the U.N. to put their resolutions to action. Although this has been said, some nonviolent resolutions have been put to test and have been quite effective, such as sending food, clothing and water to those third world countries in need.

The U.N. has six official “organs” listed in its Charter: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice and the Trusteeship Council. The General Assembly is what most people think of when they hear about the U.N. – the place where representatives from all member countries come together to vote on resolutions. The main objective of the U.N. is to find happiness, harmony and world peace in our society. In 2001 4.2 million tones of food was sent to 82 countries by the U.N., providing food, and pretty much life, to those in need, which is a huge achievement and sums up what the United Nations is there for. While the general assembly attempts to get multiple nations to agree to resolutions, the Security Council is the only body that can issue resolutions that are legally blinding to the member states. The committee is made up of 15 countries, 5 of which hold permanent seats, and the other 10 being elected by the general assembly every 2 years. The 5 veto power countries (that hold permanent seats), are held by Russia, USA, UK, France and China. These countries all hold the power to strike down any resolution that they disagree with. Although it may seem in balance to have the 5 major countries hold most of the power, it can also cause a huge amount of problems, especially when it is those 5 countries who disagree with one another.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, adopted on November 10, 1975 by a vote of 72 to 35 (with 32 nonparticipations), determined that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination; resolution 3379 was revoked in 1991 by U.N. General Assembly Resolution 4686. The resolution stated that “any doctrine of racial differentiation or superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous”. With Australia, United States, United Kingdom and France all voting ‘no’, the resolution still passed with lots of the smaller countries bringing it to victory. This shows that even though powerful countries play a dominate role in the U.N., it doesn’t always go their way, and with other countries having a voice, we are becoming a more equal society.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 is a United Nations Security
Council resolution adopted unanimously by the United Nations Security Council on 8 November 2002, offering Iraq “a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations” that had been set out in several previous resolutions. It stated that “false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations.” To date the contents have still not been made public for independent analysis. When the UK government was asked to state where in the Iraqi government’s declaration there were false or inaccurate statements, the reply was that it was a confidential matter and that “huge quantities of documents remain to be translated” and this is why it failed.

In conclusion to this essay, you could probably say that I have mixed opinions toward the U.N. being a paper tiger. I have stated an important fact which issues that it gives smaller minority countries a voice in the wider population but in saying this some resolutions take lots of time to process when in the long run it fails and the U.N. end up wasting their time. I do believe that having a U.N, is better for the society of the 21st century, they just need to focus on what is important and getting the job done. So the U.N. may be a paper tiger, but the power of its roar is enough to keep a more civilized community.

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