This week’s reading entitled Reforming the U.N.: Does the United Nations need
to change to stay relevant?, included commentary on a wide variety of
subjects concerning the United Nations. Written by Reed Karaim for the CQ
Press, this un-biased article does an excellent job covering the history of the
U.N., detailing its struggles and problems as well as its triumphs and
successful aspects, while including statistics and opinions both from those who
support and critique the organization.
Supporters of the United Nations and its
current structure and initiatives rely on both the positive influence the U.N.
has had in the past and statistics that showcase the groups recent good works. The
organization is credited with helping ensure the Cold War did not heat up,
decolonialization of much of Africa and Asia, multiple peacekeeping missions,
and maintaining a strong stance against terrorism. Studies have also shown the
great achievements the U.N. has made in achieving Millennium Development Goals
as seen in the graphic on page five of the article.
Those calling for change within the United
Nation focus on pointing out its disorganization (including many committees
with mixed initiatives), weak leadership and corruption, and lastly its
failures. Oddly enough, each of these problems are related to each other. The U.N.
is having difficulty keeping the interests of its committees separate from each
other, so they don’t overlap and lead to conflict. However, because there is
this problem, heads of these committees are often slow to react to problems
throughout the world because they are uncertain which committee should take the
initiative. This reflects the weak leadership. In turn this causes the
organization to fail when the world may need its help most. Excellent examples provided
in the text of this are the way the U.N. struggled to effectively respond to
the Ebola epidemic and fighting in the Middle East.
Because this article poses a question to the
reader, it is important for one to come to their own conclusions about what the
United Nations must do in order to remain a relevant factor in world matters
going forward. To say the U.N. is simply a flawed and ineffective organization
would be incorrect. This is clear after reading all the good the organization has
done for the world. However, one must also factor in the struggles and failure
the United Nations has endured. To succeed in the next hundred years, I believe
the U.N. must make its committees duties clearer and more precise. I predict
this will lead to better decision making and response times by the U.N. for