“More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, is why we have the United Nations.” (Annan: 2001)
It is widely believed that international organizations should be responsible for the maintenance of international peace and stability, be this economic, social or political, and that they should act in the interest of the international community.
However if you look at them they are mostly out of date, with no real secure funding other than begging and most have been corrupted by lobbing. ( See previous postings)
These institutions, should have greater transparency, regulation and control within these organizations so that they reflect more than just the interest of the powerful States.
It appears that the behaviour of institutions can no longer be objectively analysed by quantifiable forces, as social interaction on the Web and Smart Phones gives different meanings to ideas, actors and objects.
If today we find ourselves in a self-help world, this is due to process, not structure.
As nations we don’t want to transmit the notion of a global governance to the world community.
The the neo-liberal institutionalist approach is misleading as it accounts for some of the weaknesses of institutions, but does not include enough critical analysis of its premises and actions, or lack thereof. Thereby, the role of institutions becomes a more ideological and normative one, where they infuse Member States’ policies with their liberal values and principles.
So let’s start with The United Nations.
It is important to determine what constitutes success and failure as we can approach the United Nations system in different ways, either as an international forum or as a ‘global policing force’ and regardless of what approach one may take, they both have their virtues and drawbacks.
The United Nations.
The creation of an international forum for multi-lateral negotiations came about with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in 1889, which is still active today and has membership of 157 national parliaments. The IPU was the predecessor to the League of Nations, created in 1919 after the end of the First World War; this later became the United Nations after the failure of the League to prevent international conflicts.
The legacy of the IPU, the League of Nations, and other early international alliances was not the institutions’ effectiveness as an actor, but rather as a forum, for nations to voice their opinions and promote dialogue. This was the primary objective of the institution in 1945, which is why forcing it to develop into an impartial effective governing force seems quite naïve and unrealistic.
This was arguably their greatest achievement.
After the failure of the League, nation States still felt the need for an institution that would allow them to share their ideas and provide an opportunity to settle disputes peacefully. Thus, emerged the United Nations, which to this day remains the only institution with universal membership. It is the largest of all international organisations.
The neo-realist approach argues that international institutions are and always will be fundamentally ineffective, as they cannot prevent States from being self-interested and engaging in power politics.
Neo-realists assert the irrelevance of international institutions, as they believe it does not alter the self-interested anarchic system of States. Classical and neo-realists claim the international system is an anarchic, self-interested, power struggle between States, which is why there is a vast amount of distrust in global institutions such as the UN.
The idea that institutions play a non-role in international relations is a reductionist one as the argument that States will not respond to constraints and opportunities given by these institutions is greatly flawed.
This can be exemplified by the UN’s regulation on the use of military force.
One of the so-called failures of the UN is its inability to prevent conflicts, but in reality the majority of these conflicts arise as a result of deep-rooted ethnic, political, and ideological tensions which cannot even be resolved through bilateral diplomatic efforts, as exemplified in the Arab-Israeli conflict the Syrian Civil War, Ukrainian Conflict, the aftermath of 9/11.
So the primary purpose of the UN is not to intervene in internal affairs but rather to promote discussions and give States the tools to resolve disputes themselves.
An example of this is the Earth Summit, where members discussed actions to be taken regarding environmental sustainability and climate change and then world leaders would reconvene in ten-year follow-up meeting to monitor each other’s progress.
This is fine.
However,“in a world of multiple issues imperfectly linked, in which coalitions are formed trans-nationally and trans govern-mentally, the potential role of international institutions is greatly increased.”
It can be argued while the UN attempts to coordinate the actions of States and harmonize the world community, it becomes increasingly geared towards an ‘utopian’ model, even though it faces numerous challenges when rallying Member States to follow its general principles and vision.
It also can be argued that the United Nations has been vital in furthering decolonization, human rights, environmental protection and international law.
These and many others reflects unrealistic expectations of the UN as an actor.
Neo-liberal institutionalism stresses the importance of the UN’s work with regional organizations, as they become indispensable in the international diplomatic process predicting, “the international community will increasingly direct itself towards combined action of the universal Organization with regional bodies.” (Cassese: 2005: 338)
This can be observed in the recent links between the UN and regional organizations such as the Organisation of American States (OAS), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), the Arab League, and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
It take for granted the idea that economic and military power is the primary source of influence in world politics when in fact Climate Change with the rise in sea levels and the lack of fresh water will be the driving forces in the near future.
The Secretary General is the world’s prime example of responsibility without power, which is not always understood. The fact that he has no sovereign rights, duties or resources could signify that he becomes a reflection of the organization itself.
An example of this was in the Secretary-General’s Millennium Report where he ensured States that the Secretariat was fully accountable to them and the founding principles of the United Nations as “an Organization dedicated to the interests of its Member States and of their peoples” would be preserved. (Annan: 2000: 73)
For neo-realists, international institutions are and will always be ineffective, as they cannot alter the anarchic structure of the international system, neo-liberal institutionalists argue the opposite as they believe institutions greatly influence State conduct by both creating strong incentives for cooperation whilst at the same time implementing disincentives, as observed in the case of nuclear proliferation;
Constructivists take a very different approach by questioning the core assumptions of the other theories and drawing attention to the relationship between the structure and the agency, as well as the construction of state and institutional interests.
As an actor, there is so little we can do, and often the people accusing us are the same ones who prevent us from being able to act.” (Weiss: 2008: 8)
As the proportion of democratic states grows, the norms and rules that characterize relations between democracies are likely to alter the norms and rules in international relations.
For this reason, perhaps instead of focusing on the failures and reform within the UN, we should concentrate on the attributes and virtues that it has as an effective center for harmonizing discussions and developing common goals for States.
Rather than reducing the solution to problems of structural reform and widening participation efforts, we could look at promoting the UN as the prime setting for diplomacy and negotiation, as this has undeniably been its role since the beginning.
“We are facing the first breakthroughs in a process called ‘globalisation”
Social Media is demanding more and more from our leaders.
The end to Inequality, by dismantling of Greed within our Capitalist consumption Societies is high on the list.
It should be promoting the remote possibility of Russia and the USA tackling the Syria? ISIS situation together, which could lead to an Israelite/ Palestinian solution’s with the backing of Iran.
To be effective and relevant in this troubled world it needs to get rid of the Veto.
Pass a people’s resolution to place a World Aid commission of 0.05% on all High Frequency Trading, on all Sovereign Wealth Funds Acquisitions, and on all Foreign Exchange transaction over $20,000. ( See previous Posts)