FN - Visionernes fald?

Rikke Heide Johansen, Mie Nielsen, Pernille Rügge, Katrine K. Mathiasen, Lea B. G. Friedberg & Ida B. Holmgaard

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


UN - fall of visions? The League of Nations was due to the Second World War replaced by the United Nations in 1945. The United Nations was based on the need for an institution that was able to put actions behind words, which the League of Nations failed to do. The purpose of the UN was to strengthen and keep peace and security throughout the world. Our project is based on UN actions in different conflicts around the world. The purpose of this project is to examine how the legitimacy of the UN is challenged by the globalisation and the power of balance within the Security Council. Furthermore we will analyse which national interests that might have had an impact on the events in the respective cases. By the use of sociological theories by Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens, we seek to understand the development of globalization and the impact of new risks in the World Risk Society as well as the meaning of cosmopolitanism. Within the field of political theory we will use the neorealist theories of Kenneth Waltz and John Mearsheimer. These contribute to clarify the balance of power within the Security Council, determine the behaviour of states and to demonstrate the importance of self-interests. In connection to the theories the project will base on two case studies: The genocide in Rwanda (1994) and the civil war in Libya (2011). We aim to wield the theories in relation to our empirical findings to analyse how the UN acted in both Rwanda and Libya. From the analysis of Rwanda and Libya it appears that the veto-powers exclusively act from its own self-interests, this according to the neorealist theory will never change. In contrast Beck and Giddens argues how UN as a product of a cosmopolitan world with new transnational risks is based on the fact that states now have to cooperate. In the discussion we aim to highlight the pros and cons of the UN as an institution, and how a modernization of the UN seems recognizable. One obvious disadvantage is the out-dated structure within the UN as a reflexion of the international system just after Second World War, which is far from consistent to the reality today. The UN should not be abolished as it is a necessary institution and since it is without comparison due to its number of member states and amount of power. However the vigour of the UN has been challenged by the self-interests of the veto-powers. If the UN must be able to function according to its purpose it demands the veto-powers to override their own self-interests, and instead aim to seek the common interests of peace and security. We question that this will ever happen, since we find that states will always act selfish and that this will only make the UN arena for acting out power. We do believe that the UN is necessary, but the intentions of states will never be the common interests. According to our analysis and the discussion it appears that the development of a world risk society had had an influence on the UN and its actions. Globalization and cosmopolitanism has both led to an dependence between states, where new risk forces states to cooperate while still being unchanged in their core where self-interests is the main focus. Though the UN claims to be a project of common interests it is still the self-interests of state, which controls the actions of the Security Council.

UddannelserBasis - Samfundsvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato30 jan. 2014
VejledereBent Eisenreich


  • Security Council
  • National interests