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The question of United Nations peacekeeping and the use of force might seem to be a specialized topic. However, it is at the root of much of the dissatisfaction with the performance of the United Nations (UN)—both inside and outside the organization. When one views the UN up close, in the field and in New York, much of the unsteadiness in discharging its missions stems from the organization's deep ambivalence about the proper use of force in international conflict resolution and its hobbled ability to muster efficacious force.
Originally, in the midst of World War II, the UN was not a building on First Avenue, but the anti-fascist alliance itself. The UN included America's major allies in the war, namely Great Britain, the Soviet Union, China, and France. The major enemy states were Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and—though later for the Soviet Union—an imperial Japan. So if provenance is any guide, the UN anticipated a future as a robust organization. Indeed, if you look at the UN Charter of 1945 in its closing paragraphs, Article 106 posits what the alliance should do in the interim period before a UN security council was established. It supposes that the world war allies would continue to consult and take such action as they thought necessary for international peace and security, including action against any resurgence of fascism.
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