The United Nations was built upon the foundation of freedom

People realize the differences between freedom and slavery, and the quest for peace has normally come from free people and not from tyrants. Photo: public domain

SAN JOSEOctober 24, 2013  On Thursday, October 24, people in the world who take notice will observe the day set aside to honor the creation of the United Nations. The original charter for the organization was signed on October 24, 1945. That was a dark time in history that swirled with uncertainty. The death and destruction that had dominated humanity during WWII left the troubled people of the world wondering how long a fragile peace could last. After the dust of marching troops had settled and the smoke of burning buildings dispersed, the United Nations emerged as a spark of hope for the future.

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Yet, as the world recognizes the birthday of the United Nations, humanity seems to be losing the hope that any organization can promote and perpetuate freedom and peace throughout the world. The original vision of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, the ideal of the United Nations was conceived when the two leaders met and agreed upon the principles of the Atlantic Charter which declared that peace was an essential foundational goal of the allied nations: “… they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all men in all lands may live out their lives in freedom…”

The original intent of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill was to create an international organization that could promote and maintain peace, but also freedom for humankind throughout the world. This concept came to fruition after the most disastrous global war in history, and being the second global war of the twentieth century, most of humanity welcomed the ideal of such an organization in light of the failure of the former international attempt at world peace: the League of Nations. The League, which had been established from the ashes of the Great War at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, was the brainchild of President Woodrow Wilson. World War II proved the failure of the League.

The League of Nations represented Wilson’s attempt at forming an organization that could establish and maintain worldwide security in a violent world. The world was much more violent than he could imagine. However, his vision is more like what the U.N. is today than the more idealistic vision of F.D.R. President Wilson proposed the creation of  “…a general association of nations [that] must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.” It was designed more to be like a global policeman for the sake of enforcement of mandates of the associated member nations or states.  

While the League of Nations was the noble vision of an American president, the United Nations was formulated upon that foundation by another American president with another noble vision, in the midst of another global war. However, the concept of “United Nations,” which was the word choice of F.D.R., replacing the loosely formulated “Associated Powers,” was so named at the time that Roosevelt believed the nations fighting against the Tripartite Alliance to be truly be united. But in reality, the nations were only united to defeat three dictators: Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo (or the Empire of Japan). Unfortunately, the core five nations that formed the U.N. Security Council included a nation controlled by a dictator.

Unfortunately, like fundamental flaws doomed the League of Nations, fundamental flaws doomed the U.N. Having the Soviet Union at the core of the U.N. meant that the idea of “united nations” was sure to be an unfortunate misnomer. To believe that Stalin supported the concepts of freedom and peace in the world would prove over the years to be extremely naïve. In addition, in an eerie recurrence of history, the meetings in San Francisco initiating serious chartering of the U.N. commenced without guidance from Roosevelt, the man who had the vision for the organization’s existence. Nevertheless, President Truman followed up in support of the vision after F.D.R. passed away; and today, the U.N. still survives!

The unfortunate reality is that for the Soviet Union to have a permanent seat on the Security Council, equipped with veto power, was actually an insult to the original intent of the mission of the United Nations. It was too good to be true for the dictator Stalin. His intent was not in alignment with the vision of F.D.R. and Churchill. Although initially, Stalin appeared to the world as the victim, “Uncle Joe” eventually joined the Allies to fight the Nazis, only after his secretive and failed efforts to unite with Hitler through the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (Nazi-Soviet Non-aggression Pact). Only too late, the world would come to know what Russians knew of Stalin’s repressive dictatorship.

Having a permanent seat on the Security Council enabled Stalin to do whatever he wanted in his quest for domination through the establishment of International Communism. The initial outcomes unfolded when the U.N. Security Council could not act when Stalin refused to withdraw Soviet troops from Eastern Europe, and the “Iron Curtain” fell between those Eastern European nations and the rest of the Free World. The U.N. Security Council could not act when Communists instigated a civil war in Greece. President Harry Truman and the United States assisted Greece, Turkey, and most of Europe through serious investment in the Marshall Plan.

In numerous instances after the establishment of the U.N. and the recognition of the very real limitations hindering the fulfillment of the mission of the Security Council, the U.S., and not the U.N., solved major global problems. When Stalin initiated the blockade of the major Western nations supply routes to occupied Berlin in 1948, the United States through the Berlin Airlift resolved the problem to ensure that Berlin would remain free. Sadly, the Berlin Wall was ultimately built at the instigation of the Soviet Union. While the U.N. was just in its infancy, Stalin busily installed repressive dictatorships within  Eastern Europe; and during the same time, the U.S. helped to strengthen Europe economically and politically.

Now the world is a much different place, but there is so much criticism of the United Nations for not being able to fulfill its fundamental purpose of promoting and maintaining peace in the world. At the core of such a mission is the Security Council, the organ at the heart of the UN’s effort to maintain stability and security in a turbulent world. That original vision of Roosevelt and Churchill to create an international organization to promote and maintain peace, but also freedom for humankind, may be a long time in coming, but there is still hope for humanity. Those two believed that the U.N. was an absolute necessity if the world was to endure. Guess what – humankind is still here!

Fundamentally people realize the substantial differences between freedom and slavery and the history of the quest for the “…hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all men in all lands may live out their lives in freedom…” has always come from free people and not from tyrants. There has been talk for some time of reforming the United Nations Security Council, but if this is to be, let it come from free peoples and free nations not from tyrants, nor let it be reformed from the vestiges of tyranny or the threats of terror.    

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Dennis Jamison
Dennis Jamison
Dennis Jamison reinvented his life after working for a multi-billion dollar division of Johnson & Johnson for several years. Now semi-retired, he is an adjunct faculty member  at West Valley College in California.  He also currently writes a column on history and one on American freedom for the Communities at the Washington Times.


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