There is a notable date gone almost unnoticed internationally – 95 years ago (January 10, 1920) – the League of Nations formally came into being when the Covenant of the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations, took effect. It was the first international organization whose principal missions were to maintain world peace and develop international cooperation. The «Covenant-Preamble» of the proposed constitution reads as follows: «In order to promote international co-operation and to secure international peace and security by the acceptance of obligations not to resort to war, by the prescription of open, just, and honorable relations between nations, by the firm establishment of the undertakings of international law as the actual rule of conduct among governments, and by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another, the powers signatory to this covenant adopt this constitution of the league of nations».
According to Article 10 «The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League. In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled». This provision was fiercely opposed by the United States which did not ratify the Versailles Treaty and join the League of Nations. As a result of self-interested positions of Western powers the League of Nations failed to prevent another world war conflagration. The final League of Nations meeting took place on April 8, 1946 in Geneva. The decision was taken to replace it with the United Nations. The Palace of Peace and the League’s archives were given to the UN, reserve funds were returned to the nations that had supplied them, and the debts of the League were settled. On April 18, it voted to be disbanded.
For many years after WWII the United Nations played a leading role in maintaining global peace and managing regional conflicts. According to the Rand Corporation study published in 2005, two-thirds of UN nation-building missions examined were successful. 7 out of 8 nation-building operations were a success in comparison with the US record of scoring 4 successes out of 8. Recently the United Nations has been going through a peace keeping crisis which has become even more evident than the failure of the League of Nations in the 1930s. There are a number of factors that impede the UN ability to respond and secure peace and security. One of the key reasons is the growing split between the leading powers – UN member-states.
The recent example is the contradictory UN Security Council vote by the end of 2014 on an independent Palestinian state. France supported the idea and voted for the document which envisioned the return of Israel to the 1967 borders. Great Britain abstained. The UK position is aligned with Washington which has been extremely inconsistent on the issue. For instance in 2010 President Obama urged that a Palestinian state be based on the 1967 borders with insignificant alterations. In December 2014 the United States vetoed the resolution calling for the same thing. With such flip-flop politics should anyone be surprised that the United Nations and the European Union have failed to come up with a fair judgment on the situation in Ukraine?
Actually the United Nations shies away from tackling crucially important regional problems ceding ground to NATO, the European Union and other organizations. The United States and West European states have programs of reshaping vast areas of post-Soviet space, the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East to meet the West’s interests. By and large, the UN role boils down to general debates and joint declarations.
The New York Times is right when it writes that «China and Russia are also increasingly allied in shutting down what they see as Western efforts to use sanctions and other economic measures to put the United Nations seal of approval on Western-friendly regime change».
In recent years the UN failure has been exacerbated. The organization has frequently served as a cover for multiple non-government organizations operating in hot spots areas to serve the interests of US and West European structures. The most well-known among them are the George Soros Fund, the International Crisis Group, the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism, Dyncorp and others. The United Nations refers cases to these organizations and calls on its members to offer them all the assistance required. As a result, the role of various non-government organizations keeps on growing at the expense of the UN authority.
Many a time incompetent from legal point of view and politically motivated provocative speculations are offered to push for the international organization’s «reform» instead of nitty-gritty insight into the real reasons behind the ongoing crisis. Ukraine is leading the race. The objective of its attacks is the permanent Security Council’s members’ right of veto. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko calls on the UN to deprive Russia of its permanent seat in the Security Council. The Ukraine’s UN ambassador makes appeals for consolidation and joining efforts aimed at «immediate reform» of the United Nations Security Council. The establishment of the United Nations Organization with its present structure and principles is a major result of WWII. Is the UN in for the same fate as the League of Nations? Will the world community let it happen?