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United Nations: A New Peace and Security System No. 434

Adopted 1993
Amended 1994
Amended 1997
Amended 1998
Reaffirmed 1999
Reaffirmed 2001
Reaffirmed 2006
Reaffirmed 2007

It is in America's interest to exert leadership to build a new United Nations (UN) peace and security system to meet the global need for stability in a time of unpredictable turmoil. Such a system could encourage the transfer of resources from wasteful military competition to the tasks of peace.

This transformation of the UN would require U.S. political leadership of the highest order such as the U.S. provided in the aftermath of World War II. It could not be achieved without a broad vision of the future which could inspire others to join.

The following are among the desirable characteristics of such a world organization for the 21st Century:

  • 1. A much improved standing and standby system for peaceful dispute settlement including enhanced preventive diplomacy by the UN Secretary-General, arbitration, conciliation, and mediation services, and greater respect for the rule of the law in international affairs, including wider use of the International Criminal Court, with speedier and more flexible procedures, and the employment of UN economic and other sanctions to back up decisions. The U.S. should lead the way, by joining and in promoting wider acceptance of the ICC's compulsory jurisdiction.



  • 2. A Security Council structure which would be more reflective of the real world distribution of power, but still small enough to be workable, and which would command greater respect in the world community.



  • 3. An effective UN headquarters military command and staff structure, able to plan, coordinate, command, control, and support sizable UN field forces in tasks ranging from traditional peace- keeping and humanitarian relief to the deterrence of aggression.



  • 4. A reliable, predictable system for providing military forces to the United Nations which does not depend on ad hoc, last-minute national decisions. The U.S. should take the initiative to reach such an agreement with the UN on its own behalf and to enlist other powers to do likewise.



  • 5. A permanent UN agency with trained international personnel to assist countries attaining their independence and others emerging from dictatorial and repressive regimes to establish democratic institutions and freedoms, free and honest elections monitored by outside observers, and governing systems that will be in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.



  • 6. An international system of personal accountability of leaders and military commanders for gross violations of human rights and for war crimes through the creation of standing, impartial international criminal courts empowered to reach judgments



  • 7. Greatly enhanced arms control surveillance, utilizing the sophisticated systems of the U.S. and other major powers, data exchange, negotiation, inspection and verification mechanisms which would cover not only nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, but also missile delivery systems and the proliferation of high-tech conventional weaponry. The Security Council should be recognized explicitly as the enforcement agency in the event of serious violations of the Non- Proliferation Treaty, and the Biological Warfare and Chemical Warfare Conventions. The UN also should establish an arms control verification service under the Secretary-General to supervise the disarmament of combatants in post-conflict peace-building.


Such a system would represent a long step forward toward the common objectives of internationally-recognized standards of human rights and greater peace and security for the world. It also should permit a substantial reduction in national armaments, along with the greater allocation of the world's resources to sustainable development.

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No. 434
Foreign and Military Policy Commission