The Significance Of The United Nations Essay

The Significance Of The United Nations Essay

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In 2015, President Barack Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly and talked about the significance the United Nations has had since its creation in 1945, claiming: “This institution [U.N.] was founded because men and women who came before us had the foresight to know that our nations are more secure when we uphold basic laws and basic norms, and pursue a path of cooperation over conflict. And strong nations, above all, have a responsibility to uphold this international order.” President Obama argues that the U.N. is the glue which holds the international system together and promotes mutually beneficial outcomes for the world. The fact that an international organization (IO) such as the U.N. has endured for over 70 years is some indication of its significance. However, the question is: how much significance do IOs hold, and do they have significance independent of the states they are composed of? Theorists of International Relations have long debated these questions and come to different conclusions. Yet, as the world has technologically advanced and become more globalized and cooperation has increased, international organizations have come to the forefront. Although, international organizations are largely influenced by the powerful states they contain and reflect those states’ interests, international organizations provide essential forums for communication, and encourage education of new international norms, which in turn, shape the interests and behaviors of states.
International organizations create space for its members to coordinate interests and actions which helps promote interdependent relationships among them and strengthens their legitimacy. As society has progressed, it has globalized, and in the past 5...


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...ndards states and individuals follow.
An interesting perspective is mentioned by Hurd, in “International Organizations: Policies, Law Practices,” that states are the “masters and servants of international organizations” (Hurd, 2014, 36). That the power certain states have, dictates much of how IOs function, however, states also relinquish power for an idea of a greater global good. Furthermore, states are both teacher and students of international organizations. States can educate other states on their international interests but also often accept new information and adapt new norms when presented to them. IOs play an important role in the international system by lessening the chaos and confusion of an anarchic system and creating a space for effective organization and the dissemination of important information relevant to all actors in the international community.

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