It focusing on the death tolls of

It was
quite brave of Joshua Goldstein to argue United Nations role in the decrease of
violence over the past two centuries, as peacekeeping missions have very mixed
records. Starting with a synopsis of our history, dating back to the beginning
of time, he attempted to prove his point of humanity’s propensity for violence.

Although I do believe he went into a little bit more detail than he needed to –
it really solidified his positions as to why we need organizations such as the
United Nation to improve the likelihood of post-civil peace, monitoring
ceasefire and conflict recidivism. By touching on our history, the past major
societies (Aztecs, Mongols, Nazis etc.) and the vast amount of cultures that
were once/still present, it gave us a more comprehensive understanding of what
it was like to live back then, rather than just focusing on the death tolls of
each war.

with the birth of the United Nations in 1945, he argues “successful”
interventions like Namibia, Cambodia, East Timor etc. have been overshadowed by
the many failures in Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda. Although I feel slightly
impartial about this, the United Nations in and of itself has been manipulated
for imperialist interests. It was meant to enable the global influence of the
United States after WWII. Goldstein’s optimism of the UN, was not made to
acknowledge this critical aspect. Many UN interventions in the post-Cold war
times were approved as long as they didn’t counter the national interests of
the members of the Security Council. This is essential and should have been
considered in understanding the workings of the United Nations and why they
made and continue to make the decisions that they do.

Security Council has been used by the US to preserve their interests as the
ruling elite. UN is used as a tool to control former colonies of the developing
world. Their formation was dominated by the Western blocs using their affluence
and development – that they’ve gained from colonization and victories of past
wars. One could argue that although UN has brought some kind of order to
certain countries through their peacekeeping missions, the UN could be an instrument
for the Security Council to utilize their influence and maintain their hegemony
in the world. The Security Council holds all the power, especially veto-power
in resolutions and decides whether or not actions need to take place. If they
decide not to take action the issue dies, and likewise, if members veto a
resolution, that resolutions dies. This concept is shown when the US vetoed
almost 40 resolutions of Israeli crimes against Palestine. And also, when the
US, UK and France vetoed crucial resolutions in condemning the apartheid in
South Africa for years. Really the only time the Security Council took direct
action, as mentioned in the book, is when US troops led UN forces into the
Korean war (US interests in mind). If one were to re-structure the UN in a way
that’s favorable to oppressed nations it could lead to the demise of the nation.

Moreover, the
other main body of the UN, the Great Assembly, can issue recommendations but it
he has no power to force countries to act. Although it’s great that it is one
of the only bodies that includes representatives from all member countries –
it’s powerless in implementing the ideas brought up in the forums. The Great
Assembly could be expressed as the token body, that portrays the deceiving idea
that the UN is accounting for the interest of all members, for the good of the
world – when it’s not. No other UN body could implement any decisions without a
Security council mandate, thus there’s a reason why those members are permanent
to begin with. Peacekeeping missions have worked, because the members involved
interests were on the line. One cannot discuss the UN without discussing the
national interests of these permanent members and how this plays out in the
decision making of interventions and peacekeeping mission. 


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