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To What Extent Has The United Nations Been Successful in Its Attempt to Maintain Peace and Security in The World?

Look at several UN missions like UNMEE.

The United Nations has been successful in its attempt to maintain peace and security in the world only to a small extent, although it has, nevertheless, succeeded in certain attempts. Its successes and failures can be seen in its various peacekeeping operations throughout the decades.

                First, the United Nations has failed to resolve civil wars which involve numerous factions. In Somalia, despite the presence of a troop of a UN security force and a group of ceasefire observers, all over Somalia the ceasefire was ignored and instead fighting continued with increasing severity, putting the relief operations at great risk. Complex and troubled relations between Somalia warlords proved to pose insurmountable obstacles on the road of peace. Over the final quarter of 1992, factions in Somalia splintered into more and more smaller factions, which many of those even formally defy the UN Security Council, making the situation even harder to control. Meanwhile, hundreds of poverty stricken refugees were dying of starvation every day.  This failed mission in Somalia seemed to show the inability of the UN to control difficult situations which involve numerous parties. Given UN’s limited military strength and the impossibility to get the different warlords of Somalia to negotiate peacefully, UN attempts to maintain peace and security like that of the operation in Somalia was bound to fail.

                Moreover, the United Nations is not successful at its peacekeeping attempts since it seems to even lose respect from several countries. The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea attempted to monitor a ceasefire among these two countries and to help them solve the much disputed border issues. Peacekeepers had been driven from the border zone by Eritrea by February 2008, and Ethiopia had refused to accept a binding International Court of Justice ruling on the border issue. The mission was eventually abandoned on 31 July 2008. The very fact that peacekeepers were driven away suggests that the UN seems to have lost all power and control over its members. In future missions to restore peace and order, the UN would face immense pressure and difficulties since its prestige have already suffered.

However, the United Nations has been successful in providing aid to ex-colonies that have just achieved independence in terms of protecting their sovereignty. An example would be the ex-Belgian-colony, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After Congo gained independence from Belgium in 30 June 1960, Belgium’s refusal to remove all of its influence over Congo sparked off tensions between the two countries. First, disorder and mutinies broke out after a Belgian general made a speech to the African soldiers in Force Publique (FP), in which he stated that Independence would not bring any change in their status or role. This resulted in fears and anger against the Belgian commanders (who were still in total control of the FP) within the Congolese soldiers. Moreover, Belgium also advocated the independence of Katanga, which is a province of Congo, so as to protect the Belgium citizen living there. UN sent nearly 20,000 troops to Congo and it had an immediate calming effect. The troops remained until 1964, following the withdrawal of the Belgians, to help the government to maintain peace and consolidate the independence of Congo. In the end, Katanga also remained as a province. Hence, we can deduce that UN had been very successful in this peacekeeping operation.

                In conclusion, though the United Nations has been successful in resolving several conflicts throughout the years, it has shown its inability to exercise effective control over its members by several failed operations that were alarmingly recent. The main problem appears to be the lack of troops and until this problem is addressed, it would be a rocky path ahead for the UN’s peacekeeping operations. Hence, the United Nation’s success in its attempt to maintain peace and security in the world is very limited.

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