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Is the United Nations running the same risk as its predecessor the League of Nations of being made marginal or even irrelevant? Why or why not?

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  1. Introduction
  2. The League of Nations
    1. It's creation
  3. The League inefficiency and the large range of difficulties it faced
    1. September 1931: Japanese attack on Manchuria
    2. 1934: The case of Ethiopia
  4. The setting up of the UN
  5. The differences between the UN and the League of Nations
    1. The power to veto a decisions
    2. The decisions taken within the Security Council are binding
  6. Significance of post Cold War events like in Somalia
  7. COnclusion
  8. Bibliography

'The League is dead, long live the United Nations!' This is with these words that Lord Robert Cecil, one of the architects of the League of Nations, commented on the dissolution of the organization, in the spring 1946, expressing the apparent readiness to write the League off as a failure and to regard the UN as a brand new organization with a new look on world problems of peace and security. Established on 24th October 1945 by 51 countries as an outcome of the initiatives taken by the United States, the USSR, Great-Britain and China, it had, according to its Charter, four purposes: to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations, to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations . Still there after sixty years of existence, the UN can, therefore be seen as a successful organization, but some recent events, for instance the Anglo-American intervention in Iraq without the approval of the Security Council, ask the question of its current efficiency and relevance. Is it, like the League, running the risk of being made marginal or irrelevant? As A.Leroy Bennett explains 'the success of modern International organizations is most often judged on the basis of their handling of disputes and their utility in avoiding wars' . This is why I will mostly focus on this peace maintenance and security issues when dealing with the subject.

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