International Governance: The United Nations

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It is often argued that the single consistent, unifying factor of governance throughout the history of mankind has been war. In our contemporary society and nearly every civilization that has preceded it, warfare has pertained to governance as governance has pertained to warfare—whether as a diplomatic last resort, or as a means for implementing imperial, territorial expansion. Yet, when applied on the international level, the question arises: by what authority is the right to govern granted? If war is a means to this authority, is it through the blind, tumultuous, violent struggle for power, or is it grounded in a universal moral absolute? Put another way, do we assert that governance is determined by arbitrary might or by absolute right?

In fact, it is precisely this problem that various world powers and political theorists have sought to address, specifically in the fields of international relations and just war theory—namely, whether or not a nation is ever morally justified in declaring war. If so, we must determine what the rules and requirements are for engaging in war, how a country is to conduct itself during war, and, most of all, how to maintain peace before and after war. Over time, various treaties, charters, and organizations have been established in an attempt to address these issues. One of the more prominent of these is the United Nations, an organization aimed largely at maintaining peace throughout the world through the enactment of a formal charter. In this essay, I will briefly examine the effectiveness of this organization and its charter in regard to maintaining international peace.

Although the United Nations has a variety of functions, its most general defining characteristic is one of maintaining glo...

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...ber of the peace seems today unrealizable to the point of absurdity” (Hanhimaki 71). Unfortunately, in light of the aforementioned information, it is very difficult to disagree.

Works Cited

Hanhimaki, Jussi M. The United Nations: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.

Lango, John W. “Preventive Wars, Just War Principles, and the United Nations.” The Journal of Ethics 9.1 (2005): 247-268. JSTOR. Web. 15 Jun. 2011.

United Nations. “Charter of the United Nations.” United United Nations, 24 Oct. 1945. Web. 16 Jun. 2011.

---. “History of the United Nations.” United United Nations, 2005. Web. 16 Jun. 2011.

---. “The UN in Brief.” United United Nations, 2009. Web. 16 Jun. 2011.

---. “UN Security Council: Membership in 2011.” United United Nations, 2011. Web. 16 Jun. 2011.
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