The UN international security mandate: a critical analysis of the post Cold war period
Kibicho, Francis M
MetadataShow full item record
The mandate of the United Nations (UN) in the maintenance of peace and security has been under scrutiny due to the changing world order. The UN as it is was formed after the world war and its main mission was to outlaw war as a means of international relations. However, immediately it was formed a new type of war set in, the 'Cold War' that was characterized by super power rivalry between the two main protagonists; the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) commonly referred to as the Soviet Union. The rivalry divided the world into two blocks the West led by the US and the East by USSR. The two superpowers espoused different political ideologies and were in competition to win as many allies as possible in order to maintain supremacy over the other. This resulted in an unprecedented arms race as each tried to balance power, this saw the manufacturing of nuclear weapons by both sides that led to the phenomenon of Mutually Assured Destruction. This meant that a nuclear attack by any of them would result to total destruction of both of them and probably the entire world. The rivalry further saw indirect armed confrontations in their satellite states; 'proxy wars', more se in third world countries who rose against colonial powers to demand for independence. The difference in ideology was inevitably carried into the UN, making the status of the 'world policemen' by the two superpowers unattainable. The 'veto' powers bestowed to the members of the Security Council paralysed its operations and subsequently jeopardized the spirit of 'collective security'. However, the objective of preventing a major world war remained the desire for the United Nations and therefore various ways to circumvent this handicap were instituted to mitigate threats to international peace and security; the 'united for peace' in the North-South Korea conflict was one of the first acid test of the application of the peace and security mandate of the United Nations. The United Nations during the Cold War era met challenges in the maintenance of peace and security within the Security Council paralysis environment and this saw the introduction of 'peacekeeping' as a method of carrying out its security mandate. In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union crumbled paving way to the birth of new states and further expansion of the UN membership. The ideological divide also crumbled and the 'Cold War between the East and the West came to an end depicting a remarkable change in the world order. The world became a unipolar system with the United States as the only superpower. The 'proxy wars' between the super powers in third world states were abandoned abruptly and the capacity of most of these states to continue waging wars against IV neighbouring states dwindled. The prevalence and nature of conflict changed from interstate to intrastate, the state became an internally contested entity by communities within it. The inability of the states to maintain internal security proliferated more often spilling over boundaries and encompassing sub-regions hence internationalization of domestic conflicts. This resulted into regional initiatives, in some cases singular actions of the only world hegemony, the United States. The question here is whether this still falls within the security mandate of the United Nations in the maintenance of peace and security. If these actions are not within the security mandate, has the United Nations ceded its powers to other actors and therefore irrelevant in the maintenance of peace and security in the international system? Notwithstanding, these changes in the post Cold War era the United Nations has shown more presence in the international system in the realm of peace and security. There has been renewed cooperation between the United States and Russia in the Security Council that has seen no 'vetoes' in the resolutions geared towards maintaining peace and security in the international system. These changes in the world order and the behaviour of the permanent members of the Security Council in the implementation of the Security Council mandate requires review. This study looks at the development of the' implementation of peace and security mandate with an emphasis on the post Cold War era; amid continued call for the change of the membership of the Security Council the organ responsible for the maintenance of peace and security in the international system. The study was conducted by obtaining secondary data on the activities of the UN after the Cold War through library research. A preview on the development of the UN gives an insight of the League of Nations and its transformation to the current international organisation. The study found clear evidence that the UN has exploited its security mandate under the charter to its best of ability in the given circumstances and has so far managed to avert any world war. It is therefore conclusive to say that despite the challenges the UN has been able to implement its mandate in the maintenance of peace and security in the International System.