A Revitalized United Nations in the 1990s

July 27, 1990

Report Outline
Special Focus

Introduction

Discredited by the Reagan administration for most of the 1980s, the United Nations appears ready to embark on a new era. The easing of Cold War tensions has led to growing support from the superpowers for regional U.N. peacekeeping missions. And many non-security problems, such as those facing the environment, beg for a concerted worldwide effort. But before the United Nations can undertake these ambitious initiatives, it may need to undergo fundamental change in the way it is structured.

Go to top

Overview

The United Nations is emerging once again as a viable instrument for maintaining world peace and security. Long the scene of bitter exchanges between the United States and the Soviet Union, and often the focus of heated criticism for its inefficiency and waste, the 160-member body is enjoying a quiet revival on its 45th birthday.

The revival is possible because of the easing of tensions between the superpowers. “The Cold War [was] probably the major impediment to a realization of the U.N. as people thought about it in 1944–45,” says Donald F. McHenry, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Carter administration and now a professor of diplomacy and international relations at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. When the organization was founded, he says, people believed that countries would cooperate in peace as they had cooperated in war. “Of course, they did not. They immediately started fighting. Now, with the Cold War practically over and countries having exhausted themselves in regional conflicts, there is once again a [useful role for] the U.N. to get people out of the problems they are in.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
United Nations
Jun. 24, 2016  Reforming the U.N.
Sep. 04, 2012  Millennium Development Goals
Mar. 20, 2012  Assessing the United Nations
Apr. 2007  World Peacekeeping
Feb. 27, 2004  The United Nations and Global Security
Aug. 18, 1995  United Nations At 50
Jul. 27, 1990  A Revitalized United Nations in the 1990s
Oct. 04, 1985  United Nations at Forty
Aug. 29, 1975  United Nations at Thirty
Oct. 05, 1966  Future of the United Nations
Aug. 19, 1964  United Nations Peacekeeping
Sep. 18, 1963  Afro-Asians in United Nations
Mar. 07, 1962  United Nations Financing
Sep. 12, 1961  United Nations Reorganization
Jun. 20, 1960  United Nations: 1945–1960
Jan. 09, 1957  Policing by United Nations
Mar. 28, 1952  Treaties and Domestic Law
May 28, 1948  Revision of the United Nations
Sep. 18, 1946  Veto Power in United Nations
Jun. 12, 1945  National Sovereignty
Apr. 05, 1945  San Francisco, Yalta, and Dumbarton Oaks
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Diplomacy and Diplomats
Peacekeeping
United Nations
FEEDBACKClose

Suggest a topic here.

Type the characters you see below into the box

Take our survey to help us improve CQ Researcher!

Feedback survey