United Nations Standing Army

Last updated: March 8, 2019

Should the United Nations have its own permanent standing army?

United Nations Standing Army
Yes because...

There is a pressing need for reform of the way the UN raises military missions. The present system ...

There is a pressing need for reform of the way the UN raises military missions. The present system takes months to put forces in the field, and these are often inadequate to the task in hand as member states have pledged fewer troops than were requested. This has meant the UN has often acted too late, with too little force, and has thereby failed to avert humanitarian disasters in such places as Central Africa, Bosnia, Sierra Leone and Somalia. A UN standing army would be permanently available and able to react rapidly to contain crises before they turn into full-scale wars and humanitarian disasters.
No because...
A UN standing army is unnecessary; in many cases UN missions are very successful; when there are problems these are more to do with lengthy and difficult Security Council deliberations, inadequate mandates, etc. rather than how long it took to gather a force together.Once a standing army exists, it provides the UN with an easy way out in any crisis, so force may be more likely to be used, often inappropriately. A very rapid response time may also worsen problems - currently the time it takes to gather and insert a UN force may provide a period in which the warring groups feel compelled to negotiate before outside intervention becomes a reality.

United Nations Standing Army
Yes because...

A UN standing army would be independent of the great powers and so more likely to be respected as a ...

A UN standing army would be independent of the great powers and so more likely to be respected as a neutral peacemaker and peacekeeper; contrast this to the perceived differences in attitude between troops from Britain, the US, Russia and France to warring sides in the Balkans. It would also be free of accusations of meddling and self-interest that accompany the participation of troops from neighbouring states in UN interventions (for example, Nigeria in West African missions).
No because...
Essentially only governments have standing armies, so this plan would inevitably make the UN more like a world government – and one which is not democratic and where a totalitarian state has veto power over key decision-making. This means a standing army may actually be counter-productive, impairing current perceptions of the UN’s selfless neutrality, undermining its moral authority and its ability to broker peace agreements.

United Nations Standing Army
Yes because...

A UN standing army would be more effective than the troops staffing many missions under the current ...

A UN standing army would be more effective than the troops staffing many missions under the current system. At present most UN operations are supplied by developing nations who hope to make a profit from the payments they receive for their services, but who are under-equipped and badly trained. A UN standing army would be better prepared in both respects and its soldiers would have greater motivation as they would have made a choice to enlist, rather than being conscripts. A single UN force would also have better command and control than in current situation, when different national forces and their commanders often fail to work effectively together in the field. Successful forces such as the French Foreign Legion, the Indian army and the Roman army show that issues of language and culture need not be problems in combat situations.
No because...
Differences in language, culture, etc. will seriously mar operational effectiveness, especially in combat situations. In addition, in a truly multinational force there will always be a great many individual soldiers who could be suspected of taking sides in a particular conflict (e.g. Muslims or Orthodox Christians in the Balkan conflicts); are such soldiers to be pulled out from particular mission, thereby perhaps weakening the whole force?A UN army might also end up being very poorly equipped, for if the advanced military powers start to see the UN as a potential rival or adversary, they will refuse to sell it their best arms and armour.

United Nations Standing Army
Yes because...

A UN standing army would bring benefits to the world economy through avoiding the costs of refugee c...

A UN standing army would bring benefits to the world economy through avoiding the costs of refugee crises and other humanitarian disasters. These costs are both direct (through aid) and indirect (as developed nations often become the destination of illegal immigrants fleeing conflicts at home, e.g. Sri Lankans and Kurds). War also disrupts trade and thus damages the global economy, while a greater confidence that war can be avoided in future will encourage more long-term investment and thus greater prosperity. Member states providing troops for current UN missions are paid for their services, so a UN standing army would not be much more expensive that the present system.
No because...
The cost of such an army would be very high, especially if it were to include purchase of air and sea transport to reach theatres of operation, added to the high costs of permanent establishment and training, and equipping the force for every possible type of terrain. At present the UN can draw upon different kind of troops for different kinds of missions from whatever member states feel best equipped to deal with a particular situation.

United Nations Standing Army
Yes because...

Although other reforms of the UN may be desirable in their own right, without involving the creation...

Although other reforms of the UN may be desirable in their own right, without involving the creation of a standing army they will not address the central problems of peacekeeping. Proposals for a rapid reaction force may speed up the arrival of troops a little, but it will still make the UN dependent upon the goodwill of member states; if they choose not to participate in a particular mission, then the usual long delays and inadequate forces will result.
No because...
If it is granted that the UN currently reacts too slowly to crises, alternatives for an improved response could be implemented without resorting to a standing army. A Rapid Reaction Force made up of fast-response units from member states with elite military capability, pledged in advance for UN operations, would build upon the best features of the current system. Security Council reform to remove the veto powers from the Permanent 5 members would allow deadlocks in decision-making to be rapidly broken and avoid the compromises which produce weak mission mandates. An improved prediction capability through better intelligence and analysis, and central logistical planning at UN headquarters would allow forces to be assembled and mandates drafted before problems became full-blown crises. Security Council rules could be changed so that resolutions requiring force could not be passed until troops have been pledged in advance.


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Michael Flack

A Improved united nations

Times change so should the systems put in place for global stability.

If the united nations had its own country or area of sovereignty, Then the UN would be able to help across a wider range of global challenges then it does today.

This would mean having a permanent standing army with reserves for both initial rapid response and for rebuilding and re-stabilizing of areas effected. It would also mean the UN would not be held back by the politics of its member states and be subject to the peaks and troughs of troop deployment from member countries. A role in the permanent UN army would mean gaining the required training to be effective in dealing with global situations without the bias of country of origin.

By having its own country or area of sovereignty the UN would be able to better handle global refugees freeing the member states from the current inefficient and somewhat biased refugee programs. This means with a central processing and distribution the human and social needs of each refugee can be better met. Refugees would also have the benefit of skills training and education from a central location meaning the improvement of living conditions no matter where they are.

The Renewed UN would then be empowered to be less biased on global Issues relating to the IMF or the world bank and would be able to provided a stronger unbiased global ruling to unfair trade practices or financial subjugation of weaker member nations. International crime and related issues would also be handled better and catching and breaking international crime rings from a central location would be easier and more efficient.

Protection of global resources like the polar caps or whales would be better managed by an unbiased party and international resource and land disputes would also be handled better by an unbiased party.

Finally this can be done though the member states existing budgets for international aid, and budgets for refugee processing or the cost of troop deployment under the current setup. These costs would be combined to the current membership cost of the newly reformed UN. Other means of self financing would come from the management of the UN’s country or area of sovereignty (a forced commissions on all arms trades between any country would also fund the country and give the UN a greater say in the matter being now an active partner in all trades) of the other many ways the UN would be able to generate income it would also have the power to acquire the assets of international criminals or terrorists including property and land (temporarily) while it is developed for refugee settlement and sold back to the local inhabitants or government.

The United nations leadership would be held by election with each member country voting in its representative leader separately to their own leadership elections and then the representatives would vote in the UN leader (The UN State would not have its own set population of UN citizens but rather a population of representatives each working in their own field of expertise, therefor employment to the UN could be done though a more direct means)

There is a lot more a Improved United nations could do for global stability all it takes is a drive from the current member states to support such a move. If this idea of a Improved United Nations sounds good to you then feel free to add you own thoughts and pass it on. The steps to a better future comes with understanding and understanding comes with communication.

So lets bridge the gap of where we are (international instability) to where we wish to be (International Peace) with the power of Communication and understanding.

Warm Wishes

Michael