"Membership of the United Nations is open to all peace loving states..."

So begins article 4 of the idealistic UN charter. The number of member states has grown from 51 (in 1945) to 189 more than half a century later.

The United Nations is made up of a General Assembly and a Security Council (among a lot of other standing committees and organizations --bookw56). The former includes a representative from every member state who put forward and debate various resolutions (the most famous being the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). The latter, more powerful body arbitrates disputes, authorises the imposition of economic sanctions or even recommends the intervention of UN peacekeeping troops in world flash points.

Current members of the Security Council with the date at which their membership expires (permanent members in bold)

Current UN peacekeeping missions are being conducted in 15 locations around the world. Each mission is given a name, usually UNxxx. The pertinant nations and mission names are-

The member nations of the United Nations are listed here.

3

One World Assembled for Peace


(1945 - Present)

Recipient 2001 Nobel Peace Prize

The man with his lion under the shed of wars
sheds his belief as if he shed tears.
The sound of words waits --
a barbarian host at the borderline of sense.

--Dreams, a certain guard said,
were never design{e}d so
to re-arrange an empire.

Along about six o'clock I take out my guitar
and sing to a lion
who sleeps like a line of poetry
in the shed of wars.
I sang the song that he wanted to hear,
I, the Prize-Winner, the Poet Acclaim{e}d.

I sang: believe, believe, believe.
I, the Prize-Winner, the Poet on Guard.

(excerpted from Robert Duncan-- The Song of the Borderguard)

Introduction

Hope, of all ills that men endure
The only cheap and universal cure.
--Abraham Cowley

The Norwegian Nobel Committee split the Year 2001's Nobel Peace Prize equally with the United Nations, and its Secretary-General, Kofi Annan for its travail in gathering the Nations for peace. This committee had been working for a century in this great cause; and it was fitting that the award was given to the UN for the first time on its centenary anniversary. And was also being optimistic that it was making the strong statement that the United Nations is the only practical way to achieving a Pacifist Gaia. Although it seems a most ironic thing that the award is named in honor of the inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel, he did believe this explosive would stop the barbaric fighting. His motives proved to be sincere as upon his death in 1895 the inheritance endowment was dedicated to peace. It was complete with a so named Prize that would go to those that likewise proved they would be fostering: "fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".

They admit it has not been a perfect vehicle, but who else are we to turn to when a 'sit-down' is necessary for all the globe's countries? Is nuclear fission and the Mutually Assured Destruction policy a parallel creation, or is using that word an oxymoronic thing to do while generations of human beings dread the day of total annihilation. Looking in our 'rear-view mirror' at the 20th century, while unstoppably moving through the 21st, should make us all remember George Santayana's warning, also paraphrased by John F. Kennedy:

Those who fail to learn from the lessons of history
are doomed to repeat it.

Background in Blood

War's a game which were their subjects wise
Kings would not play at.
--William Cowper

Around the end of the 19th century, nations had grown increasingly militaristic while at the same time they continued to develop their own nationalistic identities. Of course, some smaller entities were continually being swallowed up by larger ones, while ensuing insurrections caused more conflict. The technology of death-wielding engineering skills unfortunately outpaced the diplomatic arts that should have been used to counter the jingoistic, jealous, greedy; and offensive and, or, defensive international alliances. The alliances of Germany (Central Powers) after the turn of the century eventually conflicted with the Allied European countries, and the consequential 'living up to their side of the bargain,' led to as Mr. --"make the world safe for democracy-- "Wilson called it the "War to End all Wars" --the First World War.1

Wilson's Fourteen Points of Light

The light that shines the farthest shines brightest at home. --Bruce E. Baxter

League of Nations

It was that same U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, honored by the Norwegian Chairman Gunnar Berge in this Award address, who idealistically brought his famous Fourteen Points and his support for a League of nations to the peace conference table in Versailles on January 18, 1919. How pathetically ironic that these seventy delegates for 27 countries adopted this plan, but was rejected by Wilson's America! These members were supposed to give each other military mutual support, but a humbled, impoverished Germany (not even given a chance to join the League), revived its pride and military just a decade later.

Hold Up on those Plowshares

Than the blurred and faded flags I am walking with in the grave yard.
Across the road in the strawberry field two children are stealing


from Edward Dorn --The Air of June Sings

Brown Shirts, Black Shirts, and Egg in Your Face

By 1933, Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist party's continued popularity and power was awarded by his 'all or nothing' full powered Chancellorship over Germany. Their Aryan dream became the rest of the globe's nightmare with assertive hostilities commencing on Poland in 1939. The League of Nations was impotent not only with the worldwide global financial depression, but also it had not much bark, and definitely no teeth for stopping aggression. Neville Chamberlain's "Peace in our time" rang as hollow as the hearts of Neo-Teutonic Knights. Neutrality was not a safe-haven (unless you were holding all the gold in a safe place). With Nazi German "Axis" partner Japan's Pearl Harbor conflagration pulling the U.S. into the fray in 19412, the planet had a conflict that involved by its end the ability to blow itself into cosmic dust.

Chartered Voyage: the United Nations gets its Name

Round the cape of a sudden came the sea,
And the sun looked over the mountain's rim:
And straight was a path of gold for him,
And the need of a world of men for me.


Robert Browning --Parting at Morning

As early as June of 1941 there was an "Inter-Allied Declaration" promoting "free peoples" "to work together..., both in war and in peace." That year meetings with FDR and Churchill reiterated the need for international peace cooperation, and by the next year FDR coined the term, "United Nations" at a secret spot on the ocean. This "Atlantic Charter" called for the 26 Allies to pledge mutual help in a "Declaration by United Nations."

Enemies of my Enemies are my Friends --Traditional Arab saying

In 1943 communist Soviet Russia, as well as China (albeit wracked with some internal turmoil) met with the U.S and England at Conferences, the first at Moscow, where they formed the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in early November; and at Tehran they agreed on furthering this global structure for maintaining stability while setting up the European Advisory Commission.

In spring of 1944 the meetings in London created the United Nations Organization for Educational and Cultural Reconstruction.

Money, Money, Money

The say the best things in life are free,
but what I need don't come from the birds and bees...

By summer at Bretton Woods Conferences worked out some important economic institutions during their United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference. They created the essential International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. They tapped experts from 44 countries to help with this dispersal of around Tens of Trillions of dollars. At Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC in the fall they provided the debut of the official written layout for a permanent organization known as The United Nations or as the most well-known initials in the world, the UN. (In the not so real world it's E2, naturellement.)

Are We There Yet?

And all men kill the thing they love,
    By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
    Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
    The brave man with a sword!


from Oscar Wilde (last stanza) The Ballad of Reading Gaol

The Yalta Conference in February of 1945 had the 'Big Three' reiterate their commitment for founding this international entity, and in two months fifty countries' representatives met at the San Francisco Conference at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the hundred and eleven articled Charter and was adopted on June 25th of 1945 at the Opera House. On the 26th, again without dissent, they signed it, fittingly, at the Veterans War Memorial. In August the 'Three' met at the Postsdam Conference where they admonished Germany "be compelled to compensate to the greatest possible extent for the loss and suffering that she caused the United Nations." (The bill: 5 billion USD.) The United States senate voted for their country's involvement with the UN on December 4, 1945. Of course, the five permanent Security Council members, (UK, US, USSR, France, China) had to ratify it, and that was accomplished in October, and the majority of the rest of the nations made it real in London on January 10, 1946 when 51 nations met in the first General Assembly. A week later the Security Council met for the first time, setting parliamentary rules, and another seven days the world had the General Assembly's first resolution: Appeal for the use of Atomic Weapons only for peace, riddance to all Weapons of Mass Destruction, or as we know so well now, (WMD).

Isn't it Good, Norwegian Wood

The first Secretary-General was Trygve Lie of Norway on February 1, 1946 voted for in significantly optimistically named Lake Success, New York. That year the League of Nations met for the sole purpose of disbanding, and handing over its property to the UN. And in 1947 the UN declared that October 24 would be United Nations Day.

Peace in the Middle East

Who Ya Gonna Call?


I wonder, what instruments are playing
And whose eyes are straying over the mountain
Over the desert
And are they dancing: or gazing at the earth.


from Edward Dorn --Are They Dancing

Not too long after this historic forum was underway, the United Nations was needed in the Holy Lands where conflict erupted between Jewish and Arab factions. On April 2, 1947, after both sides failed to agree to suggestions made at a London Conference (Arabs wanted their own Palestinian state) the Brits turned it over to the United Nations. The General Assembly, in turn, voted for partition, with Jerusalem under UN trusteeship, but this was rejected by the Arabs. The Arab League Council began raids on settlements in December of that year determined to halt the slicing up of this area. Now, the British troops could not stop the Zionist terrorism, and eventually on May 14, 1948 they succeeded in declaring themselves the State of Israel. The United States and the Soviet Union recognized them just 48 hours later, and they were admitted to the United Nations on May 11, the following year. In December of 1948 the first UN observer mission, under the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) was established in Palestine. Ralph Bunche as UN official stopped the hostilities between Israel and her neighbors on October 24, 1949.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

This momentous document was adopted in 1948 by the General Assembly and only a heartless soul would fail to be moved by the declaration in Article One:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and human rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Is it no wonder that 13 of the Nobel Peace Prize winners have had ties with the UN since its inception?

The cornerstone was sealed the day before 1949's Christmas for the landmark building in New York City.

Fear Factor

There can be no greater service to mankind, and no nobler mission, than devotion to world peace. --Harry S. Truman

Though the UN has done so much to try to promote peace and prosperity, globally, certain perceptions developed that prevented its getting this coveted award until 2001. The bureaucratic machinery built in by the Big Five, with their veto power, (a U.S. proposal that the Soviets finally heartily thumbs-upped) a kind of mutual agreed-upon leeriness) showed its problematic side when the Cold War came over the world like an Ice Age. It became the East versus West, Capitalist versus Communist, and Free versus Enslaved. After the Russian troops 'liberated' what would later become the Warsaw Pact nations, the United Nations became a tragic stage for the Soviet Union and her allies to block friends of the United States, Great Britain, France and Nationalist China and especially those in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The test of wills made itself manifest in 1948 with the Soviets isolating East Berlin for almost a year, causing the famous airlift. It turned out that convicted (1949) Soviet spy Alger Hiss was involved with transporting the first official documents to the White House while one of Truman's advisers. Then in 1949 the USSR had the A-bomb. For the next 50 years the UN worked assiduously to fulfill its mission while politics almost completely tied the hands of healing and of feeding. Just about everyone is aware of UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO and the International Postal Union, and other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO): so they have not been sitting on their hands by the East River. Lecturer Hans Morgenthau makes the case that the two 'Superpowers' are newcomers to the game of diplomacy, and this art has furthermore degraded in modern times because of speedy communication, interestingly, the parliamentary proceedings of an organization like the UN, and the stubborn zealousness of the polarized nations 'cause.' He also explains the dynamics of balance of power:

Before the balance of power could impose its restraints upon the power aspirations of nations through the mechanical interplay of opposing forces, the competing nations had first to restrain themselves by accepting the system of the balance of power as the common framework of their endeavors. However much they desired to alter the distribution of the weights in the two scales, they had to agree in a silent compact, as it were, that, whatever the outcome of the contest, the two scales would still be there at the end.3

It was only because the Soviet Union did not show up for the Security Council on June 27, 1950 that they could vote to ask other nations to come against the communist North Korean invasion of their southern democratic twin. The UN not only was in the conflict, which also brought the 'Red' Chinese into the fray, but in the peace that was signed in 1953.

Another pair of experts in world politics, Professors Russett and Starr sum it up in a more contemporary manner:

In bargaining to resolve conflicts, the least coercive forms of influence are often the most useful, at least initially. Promises of rewards, persuasion, reliance on the legitimacy of claims, and opponent's awareness that you understand their position seem to be better methods of influence than are threats of force. Appealing to values held by the opponent through legitimacy is especially helpful. ...

A way to do this is to use international law and international organizations. On the whole, no organization was very successful in managing conflicts between members of different cold war blocs. The United Nations was always reasonably effective in non-cold war disputes, however, doing best in the area of resource conflicts. Regional organizations do well in managing conflicts not involving force, whereas the United Nations has done well with high-intensity conflicts. When the cold war wound down at the end of the 1980's the UN was able to do things that previously would have been impossible. With the United States and the Soviet Union cooperating, the Security Council and the secretary general helped to end a number of civil and international wars, including ones in Nambia, the former Spanish Sahara, and Cambodia. The United Nations also played a key role in bringing the international community together against Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait. But, not all have been happy with results of actions in Rwanda, Somalia, and Bosnia.
4

We Could be Heroes

The Devil's in the phone-booth dialing 911 --Walt Mills

Though sympathy was shown in the United Nations after the U.S.'s domestic horror of September 11, 2001, George W. Bush, president of the United States found only an infinitesimal coalition, (England, Poland and a few others) with France, Russia, and China adamant against his desired (and eventual) incursion into Saddam's Iraq to find the weapons of mass destruction, and end the crushing grip of the dictator. By November of that fulcrum fatal year, the UN had the U.S. 63 percent public's approval. Most polls make liars of some critics' claims that this International institution is not liked. Though the U.S. paid for 25 percent of the UN's budget some years back, there is pressure pro and con regarding paying late dues. One common query concerns a possible top-heaviness not cost efficient in the long run. The aspect of the United Nations' not having a standing army is like the two sides of a coin, it cannot enforce anything with its 'Blue Helmets' unless first the Security Council creates a force. Then that will be manned by willing nation participants, and therefore, conversely, one should not fear some madman taking over the world through the UN. But, the 3 billion dollars spent in 1995 for operating the UN peacekeeping ops was only a tiny bit over one percent of the U.S. military spending, and that's less than three-tenths of global comparable budgets.

A Puff Piece, or a Poof Piece?

Nearly all viewpoints have opposing sides, and the UN --like a dupe with a "kick me" sign on his back --attracts criticism from all corners. One can discover that naysayers of the UN are not all just different fringes of the "Vast Right-Wing" bunch. Let us examine some of Jerry Fletcher's Conspiracy Theory like-minded brothers.

I

Old School Leftist

Historian Howard Zinn, in joining the signing of the famous letter against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, was not having some kind of mid-life crisis, in his 1973 book, Postwar America: 1945-1971 he gives his analysis of the founding of the UN, and the U.S. relations with it. It is a "no holds barred" intellectual beating. He pointed out that the Bretton meeting which hammered out finances was American favoring; and the U.S. actually wanted to demand less payback from the vanquished --to make them more dependent. As a matter of fact, in 1944 ambassador to Russia Averell Harriman is on record as calling that kind of use of moolah as a weapon. We learn more of what a wicked web we wove:

Similar concern with power lay behind the founding of the United Nations--in spite of the sentimental hopes of those who believed, as its charter declared, that it might save the world "from the scourge of war." At the Tehran Conference in 1943, Roosevelt had proposed a postwar organization at the top of which would be the "Four Policemen" --England, the United States, the Soviet Union, and China. The policemen were to enforce law and order in the world, by

Of course, to Zinn, anything that smacks of capitalism is bad, so his history is slanted 'à gauche.' (You think I am making that up? Try this quote:

The advent of capitalism--which like nationalism, accompanied the birth of liberalism, and paid for the delivery--only added the fierce libido of profit seeking to other factors and thereby increased the probability of war. This is not to absolve non-capitalistic countries of aggressive nationalism, but to point to the special impetus of business profit. And if liberalism is accompanied by the machine age, should it not be expected that wars would be more destructive than ever before through man's sheer technical competence for mass murder?5
Sure, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin saw themselves continuing cooperating in the future security of the world as the armed gendarmerie so to speak, thus no surprise at their pushing for a 'Security Council' that would finally include the two other major combatants, France and China. They were able to cooperate fighting a war against, what was to all of them a worse enemy. Once it was perceived that the U.S. was 'lording over' it all, the 'honeymoon' became more like "The Honeymooners." Still a fomentous occasion today.

II

The cynical semi-anarchical view

Just see what happens when the World Trade Organization (WTO) meets in some city near you. Their cyberspace light-speed organizers can amass crippling crowds to show their displeasure at the U.S. and others' global business plans. If you like tear gas, attend.

III

The ADL ADD

On their website you can read the many complaints of what the UN did that the ADL perceived as anti-Semitic, mostly concerning Palestine and Israel.

Such an effort was clearly evident at the U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, last summer, where important issues of racism and prejudice were ignored in favor of highly politicized and inflammatory anti-Israel and anti-Jewish resolutions.

Mr. Annan should be spending his time and using his public comments to demand of the Palestinians that they finally do something about terrorism and the incitement that produces it, which steps offer the only real hope to end the violence and reopen chances for peace.

Absent these constructive steps, it would be far better if the Secretary General remain silent and the U.N. stay out of the affairs of the region. 6

There are as many on another side that would cite some kind of World Zionist Conspiracy, as well. The fact that a lasting truce in that region shows that neither side has had its way unilaterally.
But the Bush administration did not defy the United Nations and much of the world to conquer Iraq because it was threatened by Saddam or because it could no longer stomach (after 20 years) the barbaric cruelty of his regime. It did so to establish itself militarily in the most strategic location available to reshape the region, with the support of some of the most undemocratic regimes in the Third World, in its own interests. In doing so, it followed the former colonial powers of Britain and France, who after World War I dismantled the Ottoman Empire and fashioned a new order in the Middle East to serve their imperial interests and ideologies. 7

IV

Big Brother and the Holding Company, Beauty and The Beast, and The New World Order

Pat Robertson entitled his book The New World Order. He points out the famous words spoken by George Bush, Sr. He felt the urge to encourage the world and the U.S.-led coalition, that we are seeing a "New World Order." The only difference with some on this end of the spectrum and the secular (and New Age) eco mobs is the clothing, and the books they are carrying (maybe titled: Gaia--the Goddess, or Where to Hide for the Tribulation). See either Al Gore's latest book or Christian Eschatology to get an overview of how the UN, the EU, Babylon and the Antichrist all play into the fear of this statement. Gary Kah's book, The New World Religion paints a frightening (to those against ecumenicism) picture where associates of the UN embrace an antagonistic view to conservative Christians' agenda. Along with that Egyptian Eyeball, Ain't it also on the U.S. dollar bill!?

V

Regular Good Ole Boy's View of the Big Good Ole Boy's International Club

They see the UN as nothing but a bunch of rich guys and 'rag-heads' with their private agenda, fooling everybody into thinking they're for them. They know black helicopters will land and want to come in and declare their swampland in their backyard a UN protected zone, or something. Remember Y2K? Thank the Good Lord above, that nothing tragic happened -- not from some 'Millennium Bug,' but nothing came from the crazies' overreactions.



Conclusions

The UN deserves its prize, and only short of the Second Coming, we have no better source for "This Island Earth"'s prosperity and posterity.

Lewis Mumford, respected Arts and Sciences writer gives some sagacity to our condition:

The stoppages and breakdowns that have occurred have a certain potential educational value, for they disclose the susceptibility of the whole system to human intervention, if only of a negative kind. Disobedience is the infant's first step toward autonomy, and even infantile destruction may temporarily awaken confidence in the individual's capacity to change his environment. but the well publicized devastation of a world war or the threat of greater nuclear catastrophes still did not shock mankind into taking sufficient steps for its own self-protection: witness the present pitiful substitute for a responsible world organization, the United Nations--purposely crippled in advance by the 'Great Powers.'

The realization that the entire system is now breaking down might have come about more swiftly if the professional bodies that should have been monitoring our technology--the engineers, the biologists, the physicians-- had not so completely identified themselves with the power system's objectives. So until lately they have been criminally negligent in anticipation of nuclear fallout and nuclear wastes that have often deliberately, in conformity to the 'national policy,' minimized their dangers. 8


Footnotes

1 Between 1914 and 1918 there were 55 declarations of war by one state on another. Out of 30 million casualties a third were fatal. The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of World History, ed. Wm. Langer; Mifflin (1975) pp. 749, 911
2 William Manchester, The Glory and the Dream (1974) p. 5
The United States stayed neutral as long as they could -- a continuation of a strong isolationist attitude further heightened by the crippling depression; and in 1932 the U.S. had as William Manchester succinctly relates:
...the sixteenth largest army in the world, putting it behind among others, Czechoslovakia, Turkey, Spain, Romania, and Poland. When every $17.85-a-month private had suited up, there were 132,069 Americans in uniform. On paper they could have put up a stiff fight against Yugoslavia (138,934), but in reality they would have been torn to pieces, because most of {Douglas} MacArthur's men were committed to desk work, patrolling the Mexican borders, and protecting U.S. possessions overseas. The chief of staff was left with 30,000 troops -- fewer than the force King George sent to tame his rebellious American colonies in 1776.
.
3 H. J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations (1973) pp. 525-531.
4 B. Russett, H. Starr, World Politics; W.H. Freeman (1992) pp. 159-160.
5 Howard Zinn Postwar America: 1945-1971, Bobs Merril (1973) p. 40.
6 http://www.adl.org/presrele/unitednations_94/cd_94.asp
7http://www.arabiestrends.com/Special%20Report%200403.htm.
8 Lewis Mumford, The Pentagon of Power. Harcourt (1970), p. 409.

Bibliography:

http://www.nobel.se/peace/laureates/2001

http://www.un.org/aboutun/history.htm

http://www.lovearth.net/criticismoftheunitednations.htm

http://www.oneworld.org/ips2/sept98/17_14_094.html

http://www.americans-world.org/digest/global_issues/un/un6.cfm

http://odin.dep.no/odin/engelsk/norway/foreign/032005-990417/index-dok000-b-n-a.html

http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/UN/freitas2.html

http://www.arabiestrends.com/Special%20Report%200403.htm

http://www.adl.org/presrele/unitednations_94/cd_94.asp

http://www.inequality.org/finneganfr.html

Kah, Gary H., The New World Religion: The Spiritual Roots of Global Government

Manchester, William, The Glory and the Dream. Boston: Little and Brown, 1974.

Mumford, Lewis, The Pentagon of Power: The Myth of the Machine. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970.

The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of World History. ed. William Langer; New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1975.

Robertson, Pat, The New World Order: It Will Change the Way You Live. Dallas: Word, 1991.

Russett, Bruce, and Harvey Starr, World Politics: Then Menu for Choice. New York: W.H. Freeman, 1992.

Zinn, Howard, Postwar America: 1945-1971. New York: Bobs Merril, 1973.

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