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In the current international system, terrorism is the major threat facing all actors, including the United Nations. Countries are faced with both internal and external threats, but terrorism remains the major threat. Terrorism is a problem that cannot be solved unless United Nations delves into its origins. Terrorists use violence to frustrate governments in the world, irrespective of whether the country is developed or poor.
In other words, no country or individual is spared by the heinous acts of terrorists. States have been forced to cooperate in order to combat terrorism. In the modern international system, there are various categories of terrorists, each with its own mode of operation. Some of the terrorists posses weapons of mass destruction while others resort to suicide bombing. Scholars argue that terrorism is a result of depression, melancholy, hopelessness, helplessness, and defeat.
Before the Cold War era, terrorism was not a big issue in the international system because Islam was under control of the US and the Soviet Union (Sasley 2011, p. 21). The hostilities between the US and the Soviet Union did not give room to terrorism. The United Nations faces a big challenge as regards to terrorism.
Weapons and Mass Destruction
Production of weapons and availability of weapons of mass destruction is another threat to world security in the current international system. It is upon this that the Atomic Agency was created to supervise the production and distribution of weapons of mass destruction.
Before the Cold War, only powerful states, such as Russia and the US, had the capability of producing weapons of mass destruction. In this regard, the weapons could not be used to destroy life and property. In fact, the superpowers wanted to prove to each other that they were well off technologically.
They could not engage in war because they were mutually assured of destruction. Currently, a number of states have the ability to produce weapons of mass destruction. For instance, countries such as India and Pakistan have the ability to produce nuclear weapons. This is very dangerous to world security, especially when such weapons get into the hands of terrorists (Hudson, 1998, p. 19).
Iran and North Korea are some of the countries that are believed to support terrorism in the world. They agree to enter into agreements barring them from producing nuclear weapons yet they do not honor the accords. For instance, Iran has always claimed that it will use nuclear energy to support its domestic energy supply. The problem arises when nuclear weapons get into the hands of terrorists.
The Gap between the South and the North
The third problem facing the United Nations in the current international system is the gap between the poor and the rich states. Studies show that the gap between the south and the north is ever increasing. The problems facing countries of the south is how to develop. However, scholars blame colonialism for the problems facing the south.
The effects of colonialism were severe to an extent that solutions to problems are inapplicable (Khalid 2012, p. 18). For instance, the issue of anger and insecurity cannot be solved through provision of aid and monetary assistance. Colonialists focused so much on establishing a cash economy by emphasizing on cash crops such as coffee and tea. This has always affected the agricultural policies of developing countries.
Moreover, the infrastructural development was tempered with during colonialism. Colonialists developed certain regions that were strategic to their economy. Some regions were underdeveloped because they were denied resources. This has always generated civil wars because some regions believe that they are neglected. Conflicts in various parts of Africa have led to loss of life and property. Moreover, they have destabilized the world peace.
Economically, the south has failed to take off because of unbalanced trade. Goods are manufactured in the poor countries and are exported to the developed countries for processing. The same goods are exported to the south countries to be sold at an exorbitant price. Countries of the north force countries of the south to buy their products at an exaggerated price. This means that the gap between the south and the north will always increase.
The core controls the world economy while the periphery is incorporated as underdogs. In the international system, there is always tension between the south and the north over resources. The north is accused of funding tribal clashes, particularly in Congo, because it benefits them. During elections, countries of the north will always ensure that leaders supporting their missions acquire power. This is a big challenge to the UN agencies (Weiss, Forsythei & Coate 1994, p. 65).
The last challenge pertains to the environment. Environmental challenges are faced by all countries in the world. It is one of the common problems faced by both countries of the south and north. The depletion of the ozone layer affects all people in the world, irrespective of the region.
However, states in the international system have failed to agree on how to preserve the environment. For instance, countries of the south claim that countries of the north must fund programs aimed at preserving the environment. This comes upon the realization that the developed countries are the leading in terms of polluting the environment. Studies show that the US and Japan are the leading countries in environmental pollution.
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On the other hand, countries of the north accuse countries of the south for coming up with companies without considering environmental damage. The countries of the north observe that sustainability should be taken into consideration when designing developmental policies (Snow 1994, p. 16). The UN faces a great challenge of convincing the countries to adopt environmental laws (Ehteshami 2007, p. 54).
In order to resolve the issues affecting the international system, the international community, particularly the United Nations, should establish institutions charged with the responsibility of designing and implementing policies. For instance, the International Criminal Court should be given more powers to prosecute those who violate human rights.
Moreover, the United Nations should ensure that international standards and norms are followed to the later. Aristotle observed that law would never let down an individual. Therefore, laws and norms should always be respected (Coate 1994, p. 54). As the only institution with powers to slap sanctions to non-compliant states, it should influence other states to obey the laws and norms.
For instance, all countries should cooperate in ensuring that nuclear weapons do not get into the hands of terrorists. In this regard, democracy should be restored in all parts of the world. It is proved scientifically that democratic regimes cannot support terrorism. Regimes that embrace dictatorship should be eliminated and be replaced with democratic regimes that consider public opinion before formulating foreign policies. The United Nations has a big role to play in ensuring this.
The institution is charged with the responsibility of ensuring fairness and equality. The United Nations should engage countries in negotiations to abandon their aggressive behaviors. Moreover, the United Nations should act as the mediator between the rich and the poor countries. For instance, the actions of the United Nations through protocols such as Kyoto protocol should be encouraged (Lawson 2009, p. 59). Kyoto protocol has achieved a lot as far as environmental conservation is concerned.
List of References
Coate, R 1994, The Future of the United Nations, US Policy and the Future of the UN, The Twentieth Century Fund Press, New York.
Ehteshami, A 2007, Globalization and geopolitics in the Middle East: Old games, new rules, Routledge, London.
Hudson, MC 1998, Middle East dilemma: The politics and economics of Arab integration, Columbia University Press, New York.
Khalid, S 2012, The UAE and Foreign Policy: Foreign Aid, identities, and Interests, Routledge, London.
Lawson, F 2009, Comparative regionalism, Ashgates, Farnham.
Sasley, B 2011, Studying Middle Eastern International Relations through IR Theory. Ortadoğu Etütleri, Vol. 2, no. 2, pp 9-32.
Snow, D 1994, Uncivil Wars: International Security and the New internal Conflicts Boulder, London.
Weiss, G, Forsythei, D, & Coate, F 1994, The United Nations and Changing World Politics, Westview Press, Colorado.