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International organizations play a significant role in modern international relations. A new stage in development of the international community was the establishment of the first international universal organizations - the World Telegraph Union in 1865 and the Universal Postal Union in 1874. Nowadays, there are more than four thousands of organizations that have different legal status. It allows speaking about the system of international organizations, whose center is the United Nations (UN). In this paper I would like to tell you about the United Nations, to describe its history, concept and structure. The main goals of my work are to explore if the United Nations prevents the United States from looking after its own best interests or not, to argue for against the United States' continued inclusion in and cooperation with the United Nations and to prove a thesis that UN is an anti-American organization or it is a way of keeping good relations with the rest of the world.
History of the United Nations
The United Nations (UN) is an international organization established to maintain and strengthen international peace and security, development cooperation between countries. The name "United Nations" was used in the United Nations Declaration, signed on January 1, 1942. The UN Charter was adopted at the San Francisco Conference, held from April to June 1945, and was signed June 26, 1945 by the representatives of 51 states. The United Nations is a unique international organization. It was founded after the Second World War by the representatives of fifty-one countries, who were the supporters of the policy of maintaining peace and security around the world, development of friendly relations between nations and promoting social progress, better living conditions and the situation of human rights. Its unique character and powers conferred by the Charter give this Organization such a good opportunity to work on a wide range of issues. It is a peculiar forum for its one hundred and ninety-two member states that allows them through the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council and other bodies and committees to express their own point of view. The activity of UN is widely-spoken in the most remote corners of our planet. Its well-known successes are peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance. However, there is a range of other areas where UN contributes to improve the situation in the world and, thus, influences on our everyday life. The activity of the Organization are multi-faceted and encompasses a wide range of important problems from sustainable development and combating terrorism, promoting democracy and development management system to protection of environment, addressing global health issues and development of food production. Meisler admits "The U.N. also had more mundane matters to deal with. Most important if these, a site had to be chosen. After the San Francisco conference, a preparatory commission set up shop in London to get the new organization started." (Meisler, 1995).
It is important to mention that the name of the United Nations was first used by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the UN Declaration dated January 1, when, during World War II, representatives of 26 nations undertook to continue their joint struggle against the Axis Powers. The first international organization created for cooperation in specific areas. The current International Telecommunication Union was founded in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union; the Universal Postal Union was established in 1874. Nowadays, these organizations are the United Nations specialized agencies. The first International Peace Conference was convened in The Hague in 1899 to develop agreements on the peaceful resolution of crises, prevent wars and the rules of warfare. The Conference adopted the Convention on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes and established the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which began its work in 1902. The predecessor of the United Nations was the League of Nations, an organization conceived in similar circumstances during the First World War and established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles "to promote cooperation between peoples and to provide them with peace and security." The International Labor Organization was also created in accordance with Treaty of Versailles as associated with the League institution. The League of Nations ceased its activities due to their inability to prevent World War II. In 1945, representatives of fifty nations gathered in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference to develop the UN Charter. The delegates put the proposals worked out by representatives of China, the Soviet Union, Britain and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks during August-October 1944. The Charter was signed on June 26, 1945 by representatives of fifty countries. Poland was not represented at the Conference. It signed The Charter later and became the fifty-first state-founder. The United Nations officially established on October 24, 1945, to this day the Constitution was ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, the United States and the majority of other signatories.
The structure of the United Nations
The UN General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ. The General Assembly explores the principles of cooperation in the field of international peace and security; elects non-permanent UN Security Council members, members of the Economic and Social Council, on the Security Council recommendation appoints the UN Secretary-General, elects the members of International Court of Justice in conjunction with the Security Council, coordinates international cooperation in the economic, social, cultural and humanitarian spheres. The General Assembly incorporates six committees:
Committee on Disarmament and International Security;
Economic and Financial Committee;
Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee;
Special Political and Decolonization Committee;
Administrative and Budgetary Committee; and
The UN Security Council has primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security; its decisions must abide by all UN members. In his book, Weiss wrote "The debate about the Security Council presents a microcosm of a perpetual problem: the UN is so consumed with getting the process right that it neglects consequences." (Weiss, 2009).
The United Nations Secretariat is an international staff working in institutions around the world and performs a variety of daily activities of the Organization. According to Weiss, Forsythe, Coate & Peace "In 1945, the UN Secretariat itself was a small family while the entire system had some 1,500 people. Early in the millennium, the UN with its global reach relies on some 15,000 employees (7,500 are paid from the regular budget) from approximately 170 countries. The UN system as a whole - including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund - employs some 61,000 staff." (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate & Peace, 2004).
International Court of Justice is the United Nations principal judicial organ. The court consists of fifteen independent judges acting in their personal capacity.
UN Trusteeship suspended operation on the first of November 1994, after the last remaining UN trust territory, Palau, gained its independence on October 1, 1994. By a resolution adopted May 25, 1994, the Council has made in its rules of procedure of the amendment to drop the obligation to hold annual meetings, and agreed to meet as necessary to its decision or the decision of its President.
The United Nations specialized agencies are: World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNESCO.
The USA and UN: history of tensions
The USA was one of the main founders of the United Nations. However, the USA and UN began friction between each other immediately after the UN's creation. The stumbling block in relations between America and the United Nations has become the League of Nations, in whose creation was also actively involved the USA. The United States admitted that such a structure would limit the US sovereignty and would not allow them to pursue an independent foreign policy. According to the American historian Stephen Schlesinger veto power, which now have five nations - the permanent members of UN Security Council, was offered by the US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in order to ensure Congress and US Senate that the USA, in any case, will retain control of UN. In the 1970's UN's role has changed considerably in the world, and the USA has revised their policies towards the United Nations, which has become the object of frequent criticism of Washington. America criticized UN for bureaucracy, inability and unwillingness to tackle the most painful issues of our time, as well as for the fact that UN often acted in interests of the Soviet Union and socialist countries. Gold wrote "The UN's biggest problem is that it no longer establishes any firm standards of behavior for UN member states." (Gold, 2004). The situation again changed dramatically in 1990 -1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union and especially after Iraq's attack on Kuwait. President George W. Bush enlisted the assistance of UN to legislate the creation of anti-Iraq coalition and ensure international support for military action to liberate Kuwait. After this, the relationship between America and the United Nations has improved. Bill Clinton's administration started to repay the US debt to UN, and the US Army became involved in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations under UN auspices. Under President George W. Bush, relations between the United Nations and the USA have become more complicated. According to Mazower "In the new millennium, the administration of George W. Bush advanced a national security doctrine whose advocacy of preemptive war marked an unabashed repudiation of the basic principles on which the UN had been founded."(Mazower, 2009).
America was saddened by the fact that lost their seats in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2001. The conflict between the United Nations and the USA moved into a new phase after the start of the Iraq crisis in 2002. Then, the USA refused to participate in the International Criminal Court, established under UN auspices.
To sum up the above-stated information, I want to draw a conclusion that I briefly described the concept, history and structure of the United Nations, proved a thesis that it is an undeniable fact that the United Nations and America are hostile towards each other.