Historically, mankind has never obtained its most desired goal, peace. Many different methods have been tried over the years to obtain peace through actions such as pacifism, or by aggression with the use of war. Since there will always be that threat of aggression and war, it is necessary for nations to find a way to protect themselves. In order to protect a nation does not entirely mean to keep building up nations military and nuclear power though, but to defend a nation by deterring the aggressors with the use of collective security. This alternative to militarism was brought about because history has shown that through using military forces, there have been some very evident negatives, which have resulted in various forms of devastation.
At the turn of the twentieth century, the world witnessed a horrendous war that resulted in a staggering amount of human casualties. World War One was basically the first full world scale industrial and mechanized war, in which nations all over the world got their opportunity to try out some new weapons and military tactics. Because of the devastation s left to Europe and to the rest of the world from WWI, the League of Nations was created. Idealized mainly by the United States President, Woodrow Wilson, the League was a step in the right direction to improve the chances of eliminating aggressor nations and another world war. The League, who s main principle was that of collective security, which basically means if a nation attacks one member, that nation has to deal with the whole League of Nations. With this idea of nations using collective actions, it should prevent ultranationalism, which is the main reason for a world war. Ideologically, the League with countries around the world working together would also improve many social and humanitarian issues, such as quality of life. Unfortunately, even though the League s membership was universal, one of the most influential superpowers in the world remained absent, the United States. Since the United States went into isolation following the First World War, the League of Nations became very Eurocentric, so Britain and France were the only remaining superpowers, and they still continued to conduct their foreign affairs independently. The League consisted of some major flaws because there was neither a total membership by all the major powers, or the total support of collective security. Since some nations chose to use military force in their own interests and disregard the League, it inevitably failed in preventing another full-scale war.
Following yet another devastating war was finally when the major powers finally realized a strong world organization is needed to preserve peace and security into the future. With the formation of the United Nations in 1945, with its headquarters in New York, U.S., this instrument for collective security consisted of six major bodies. The Security Council, the major organ of the United Nations which had power to pass important resolutions and settle international disputes. The General Assembly was the major discussion branch in which every nation sits in and has one vote, but the General Assembly does not obtain to power to enforce any decisions. The Economic and Social Council is where fifty-four member nations work together on improving the standard of living for people across the globe. The Secretariat handles all the administration under the control of the secretary general, and the Trusteeship Council works on governing those territories who are unable to govern themselves following the Second World War.
Along with creating an organization that was trying to maintain peace and security, the United Nations was created to improve on the areas that the League of Nations failed.
The major difference with the United Nations was that it gave a much larger mandate than the League of Nations. This is largely due to the fact with the participation with superpowers that were previously not present in the League of Nations. With the inclusion of the United States and the Soviet Union in the United Nation, they provided a much larger global stance concerning with economic and social problems than the League of Nations did. But the major powers desires to pursue their own national and ideological interests were still a major obstacle the United Nations had to face. Another important goal of the United Nations was to improve international cooperation. With this, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank was created. The IMF was established to re-stabilize exchange rates. Also the American dollar was used as the principle reserve currency around the world. The purpose of the World Bank was enhancing the development of the member nations, and also to promote and help international trade. Still though, the most crucial and major job of the United Nations is to promote peace through peacekeeping. Since 1945, the United Nations has been instituted all around the world. The most notable peacekeeping missions for the United Nations were; in Korea (1950-53), in Suez (1956-57), and the Congo (1960-64). And presently, the United Nations mainly deals with trying to improve and force better human rights within troubled nations, who are usually in civil wars. Since the Second World War, the United Nations, with its use of global cooperation and collective security has limited the hot spots around the world from escalating into another world war. As mentioned with the notable peace keeping missions in Korea, Suez, and the Congo, the United Nations have proven collective security can operate efficiently, much more so than militarism has indicated by the Soviet Union and the United States.
Following the Second World War, two superpowers began to build up their military in fear and to protect themselves. Immediately after the Second World War was ended with the horrific atomic bomb blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the whole world, especially the United States and the Soviet Union, saw power of nuclear bombs. This ignited an arms race in which the main two powers, the United States and the Soviet Union tried to produce more quantity and more efficient nuclear bombs. With the development of such instantaneous destructive capabilities, the United States and the Soviet Union s line of defense was turning towards nuclear deterrence. Deterrence in that if a nation decided to abuse or attack the United States or the Soviet Union, they may have to encounter a nuclear devastation. Soon enough though, the United States and the Soviet Union have developed enough nuclear power to cause a MAD situation. This situation is known as mutually assured destruction , which means if the two superpowers were engaged in a full-scale nuclear war, both sides would have enough power to virtually destroy one another. A possible Armageddon situation like this nearly erupted in January 1959. The closest the world ever came to an all out open war, occurred over the island of Cuba. In Cuba shortly after the new revolutionary leader Fidel Castro seized control of the government, the American government imposed a strict economic blockade against them because Cuba was now a threat with their left-wing political system. Unable to cope with the blockade, Cuba turned to the Soviet Union who became close diplomatic relations. Disturbed of the Soviet Union s new sphere of influence, the United States attempted an invasion in Cuba to attempt to overthrow the government. Under John F. Kennedy, the invasion known as the Bay of Pigs was poorly organized and the Cubans successfully held off the Americans. Thinking that the Americans were weak with its recent attempted invasion on Cuba, Khrushchev, the Soviet Union s leader tried a risky policy of brinkmanship, seeing how far he could push the Americans. Since Cuba is less than 144 kilometers from Florida, the Soviets began smuggling in medium range nuclear weapons that all had the capability of reaching every major city in the United States. Kennedy was quickly informed with the help of a U-2 plane that spotted nuclear weapons and launch sites, and immediately knew there was some serious Soviet intentions. Quickly, the United States put a naval blockade around Cuba, in which John F. Kennedy stated to the American people that no ships with any military equipment were allowed to pass through. With severe tension around the world, that one little mistake could result in a nuclear war, fortunately, the Soviet Union s ships turned around and nothing major developed. As one may see, the build up military, especially with the use of nuclear weapons is very risky because the potential these weapons have. In just the mid eighties, there were enough nuclear capability in just five countries alone to cause the destruction of the entire planet at least four times. But just nuclear power is not only the only concern of militarism, just plain using military force.
Heading towards the new millenium, the United Nations is going on to celebrate its fifty-fifth anniversary. Through those years after the Second World War, they have had to intervene to protect against the possibility of creating another devastating world war. Through those years, they have also implemented the use of collective security, and in most of its peacekeeping missions have found it to be quite efficient. And through the last fifty-five years we have also seen nations, the United States and the Soviet Union in particular, to become involved into a military nuclear arms race. This method of nuclear deterrence is typically going to prevent themselves from being pushed around , but one small incident or mistake could result in a MAD holocaust. Since the Cold War is over, the international body should aim towards using collective security more effectively now that United States and Soviet Union can agree more together in the Security Council. Every year the United Nations is sending multiple peacekeeping missions around the world usually because of ethnic hatreds, and ambitious governments. Even if the United Nations doesn t send in direct troops to hot spots around the world, other international organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organizations who help out keeping peace around the world, one thing is for sure, peace in our world will never work unless nations put their own national demands behind them and become supranationalized. If nations all believed in supranationalism, there is no doubt that collective security, such that of the United Nations, is a much better strive towards peace than militarism.