It has occurred to many that the United Nations (UN) has failed to maintain international peace in the past 70 years, albeit its minor successes that did not contribute to friendly relations; on the contrary, the UN has proven to be no more than an organisation made up of representatives who cannot make up their minds. However, is the UN unconsciously creating paths towards a third World War? Is it creating a path to eternal peace or a road to the political apocalypse?

The structure of the U.N. is simple. It consists of the General Assembly (GA), the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Security Council (UNSC), the Secretariat, and the Specialised Agencies (i.e. World Health Organisation). To some, this strikes as a good deal, given that it allows all member states to be represented in some form and to voice out their national opinion. However, let’s zoom into the UNSC. It is made up of only 15 nations: 5 permanent members, and 10 non-permanent members. The permanent members are given the right to veto any resolution or judgement made in the committee, and this is probably one of the main causes for the lack of friendly relations. In a simple Model United Nations conference, the use of veto powers often led to mutinies and sometimes fist-fights. Imagine if it was in a real United Nations conference where that one veto could affect the lives of billions. Additionally, the non-permanent members are elected every 2 years at random, which means that there is the possibility of countries debating an issue that doesn’t concern themselves and that the country of question would have no say in what they think. Pretty fair, right?

What people have forgotten is the history of the UN, and why it was formed. The UN’s could be traced to the early 1920s during the formation of the League of Nations. Their aim was to spread global peace but we all know how successful that was – World War 2 broke out less than 20 years later! That isn’t to say that the UN is just as unsuccessful, but with the amount of bickering that goes on in the UN itself, it would just be easier for North Korea to continue fighting with South Korea, or for Syria to start a war with America, with China’s support. Of course, the respective nations wouldn’t dare put themselves at risk; Germany took that risk in 1939 and lost every ounce of pride they had built up by 1945 to the Allies and USSR. With the advancement of nuclear technology in our day and age, it is clear to everyone in the world that if a Third World War broke out, it would pretty much lead to the destruction of life as we know it, and there would be little to no room for recovery.

Enough about the problems that could lead to the nuclear damnation of humanity – let’s look at the more economic and social issues the world has been facing for what seems like many millennia…oh wait, it has been many millennia. The medical problems leading up to the mid-1900s were predominantly the influenza and smallpox, but recently, diseases have developed, and grown immune to medicines. Leukaemia (cancer of the bone marrow), for example, has no chance of being defeated completely. As long as the heart pumps blood, the cancer cells will continue to spread all over the body until the person succumbs to death; chemotherapy and radiation can only do so much. Cancer has been a cause for concern for several decades, and the UN has failed to provide enough funds for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to carry out more research. According to The Guardian and the WHO, the cancer rate is expected to increase by 70% over the next 20 years; one would think that evolution would have combatted this by now. The UN seems to have ignored the possibility that someone in Africa suffering from malnutrition and lack of education may just be the beholder of the solution. The same goes for HIV, another disease where it cannot be cured. Unfortunately, this disease is also a moral problem: people forget to take the necessary steps to prevent the cursed contagion from spreading. Nevertheless, the UN has been known to put security-related issues above health and education. One wouldn’t be surprised if the next generation of delegates focused more on the excitement caused by the idea of warfare just because they played too many games as children. If the UN is going to put emphasis on any form of politics, at least educate the people living in war- or poverty-stricken countries so they can speak for themselves rather than have people who were born and raised in a developed country represent them  – they know what they’re talking about.

Look at the world. We’re slowly crumbling to the wrath of Mother Nature, which we thought we could defy, and create the world the way we want to, and now Nature is taking her revenge. Every time we think we’re getting closer to understanding the reason for our existence or the way life should be, we are pushed 3 steps back. The UN is a victim of this. The League of Nations failed; the UN has a chance of failing too. They may be trying to help the world, but theoretically, there will come a time when they cannot do anything and the world will rise against them. Until then, the UN still has a chance to improve their organisation to better the world. The future of mankind depends on the decisions of the United Nations.

Jesselyn Lee



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