JC History Tuition Online - What is the United Nations Standby Arrangement System - United Nations Notes

What is the United Nations Standby Arrangement System?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 3: UN Reforms

Find out how the Chinese contribute to peacekeeping. [Video by the CGTN]

Historical context: Agenda for Peace
In 1992, the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Boutros Boutros-Ghali published a report known as “An Agenda for Peace” in response to a request made by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to derive analysis and recommendations to enhance peacekeeping in the post-Cold War phase.

As a result, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) was formed in March 1992 to focus on the planning, preparation and management of peacekeeping operations. Under Boutros-Ghali’s report, the DPKO served to enhance the United Nations’ capacity for peacekeeping and preventive diplomacy.

Hesitation: Operational Constraints
As one of the many UN reforms, this report led to the establishment of the United Nations Standby Arrangement System (UNSC) in a year later. The UNSAS was meant to provide standby military forces that are deployable at short notice, so that peacekeeping operations can be carried out efficiently.

While member nations deliberated on the conditions for deployment, the ongoing peacekeeping mission in Somalia diminished the US willingness to support new operations. Over time, more member nations became worrying cautious.

Moreover, by May 1994, in the wake of disasters in Somalia and elsewhere, the Security Council was becoming more cautious than before about embarking on new peacekeeping missions. At the same time, many states were devising restrictive criteria about the circumstances in which they would be prepared to commit forces to UN operations. In May 1994, with the adoption of the Presidential Decision Directive 25, the US Government set firm limits regarding the situations in which the US would support the creation of, or be willing to participate in, UN peacekeeping forces.

An excerpt taken from “The United Nations Security Council and War: The Evolution of Thought and Practice since 1945” by Vaughan Lowe, Adam Roberts, Jennifer Welsh and Dominik Zaum.

Enhancements to the Standby Arrangement System
In February 1995, the UNSC responded to Boutros-Ghali’s ‘Supplement to An Agenda for Peace‘, asserting the urgent need to improve the capacity for ‘rapid deployment’ through existing stand-by arrangements. This Supplement included a suggestion to develop a rapid-reaction force to ensure that operational constraints could be minimised or even resolved.

UNSAS was designed to serve four overlapping objectives.

First, it seeks to provide the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations with a precise understanding of the forces and capabilities member states have available at an agreed state of readiness for peacekeeping.

Second, it aims to facilitate mission planning and force generation by helping to identify appropriate resources for a deployment, as well as options for contingency plans.

Third, UNSAS is designed to assist with rapid deployment. Although the arrangements are conditional, it is hoped that those members who have confirmed their willingness to provide standby resources will be more forthcoming and committed than might otherwise be the case.

Fourth, UNSAS should encourage member states to discuss and prepare for a possible contribution to a UN peacekeeping operation, providing guidance for plans, budgets, and appropriate training. In short, UNSAS provides an initial commitment to service and a better understanding of the requirements in advance.

An excerpt taken from “Improving United Nations Capacity for Rapid Deployment” by Dr. H. Peter Langille.

Notably, the UNSAS also functions as a database system to keep track of potential troop-contributing countries (TCCs). However, these TCCs that pledge specific operational capabilities are conditional, meaning that contributions remain voluntary in nature. A United Nations request for permission to deploy these capabilities must be sort and financial compensation will be given after deployment.

Moreover, by May 1994, in the wake of disasters in Somalia and elsewhere, the Security Council was becoming more cautious than before about embarking on new peacekeeping missions. At the same time, many states were devising restrictive criteria about the circumstances in which they would be prepared to commit forces to UN operations. In May 1994, with the adoption of the Presidential Decision Directive 25, the US Government set firm limits regarding the situations in which the US would support the creation of, or be willing to participate in, UN peacekeeping forces.

Jennifer Welsh and Dominik Zaum.

Is it enough: The Brahimi Report
Although the UNSAS was considered a work-in-progress in the 1990s, the United Nations still struggled to deploy its peacekeeping forces quickly, especially in cases when the missions are complex. In view of these setbacks, a Panel on UN Peace Operations was established in 2000 and chaired by the former Algerian Foreign Minister Lakhdar Brahimi. It concluded with the publication of the Brahimi Report that listed recommendations for the improvement of peacekeeping operations.

D

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the effectiveness of United Nations reforms to maintain international peace and security in the 1990s.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the United Nations. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC Tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What was the Six-Day War - United Nations Notes

What was the Six-Day War?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Learn more about the Third Arab-Israeli War also known as the Six-Day War of 1967. [Video by Kings and Generals]

Historical context
After the 1948 War of Independence and the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis, tensions between Israel and the Arab nations in the Middle East remained high. Although the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF I) was deployed as a peacekeeping force to monitor ceasefire and prevent a resurgence of conflict at the Egypt-Israel border from the 1957 to 1967, their contributions were short-lived.

On 16 May 1967, the Egyptian government requested the withdrawal of the UNEF I from Sinai. Although UN Secretary-General U Thant offered to re-deploy the peacekeepers to the Israeli side of the border, Israel rejected the request. By 31 May 1967, most contingents have departed by air.

In the same month, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser declared the closure of the Straits of Tiran, blocking access for Israeli vessels. The military was mobilised to gather along the border with Israel, setting the stage for the war.

Fearing an Arab backlash—their UNEF contingent, accused of pro-Israeli bias, was given forty-eight hours to leave Sinai—the Canadians abandoned the convoy idea in favor of reviving the Armistice Agreement and transplanting UNEF in Israel.

“The Canadians and the Europeans will not accept responsibility,” the president recorded in his diary, “They say it’s not their trouble, and they shouldn’t get into the Middle East right now.” Particularly intimidating was Nasser’s threat to fire on any ship attempting to break the blockade, and to suspend the flow of Arab oil to its owners.

An excerpt from “Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East” by Michael B. Oren.

The War: Operation Focus
On 5 June 1967, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched a coordinated aerial assault on Egypt. By the end of the day, the IDF laid waste to Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. Israel had achieved air superiority over the Middle East.

On the ground, Israeli forces invaded the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. In a few days, Israelis had forced the Egyptians to retreat. On 7 June 1967, Israel re-captured Jerusalem after putting up a fierce resistance against Jordan. Two days later, Israeli tanks and soldiers retook Golan Heights from Syria.

It was 7:10 AM on June 5, 1967. One hundred eight-three sleek Israeli fighter jets glided smoothly through the dusty morning air. They passed over Tel Aviv, Israel, heading out over the Mediterranean Sea.

[…] What happened next surprised everyone watching and, later, the world. The Israeli fighter jets swept into Egypt from the sea and bombed Egyptian military positions.

That day, and the five days later that followed, would become known as the Six-Day War.

An excerpt from “The Six-Day War (War and Conflict in the Middle East)” by Matthew Broyles.

Resolution
On 10 June 1967, the United Nations brokered a ceasefire, putting an end to the violent confrontation. Although the Israelis celebrated their triumph against their Arab neighbours, the Arab leaders signed a resolution in August (known as The Khartoum Resolutions). The Arab states were resolved not to make peace with Israel, setting the stage for the Yom Kippur War six years later.

3. The Arab Heads of State have agreed to unite their political efforts at the international and diplomatic level to eliminate the effects of the aggression and to ensure the withdrawal of the aggressive Israeli forces from the Arab lands which have been occupied since the aggression of June 5. This will be done within the framework of the main principles by which the Arab States abide, namely, no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it, and insistence on the rights of the Palestinian people in their own country.

An excerpt from The Khartoum Resolutions, 1 September 1967.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you that the United Nations should not be blamed for the outbreak of the Six-Day War?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the United Nations. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

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JC History Tuition Online - What was Dag Hammarskjöld's Summary Study

What was Dag Hammarskjöld’s Summary Study?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Historical context
Following the outbreak of the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956, the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Dag Hammarskjöld deployed the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) to supervise the “cessation of hostilities” involving the armed forces of France, Israel and the United Kingdom, as well as to “serve as a buffer between the Egyptian and Israeli forces”.

The Summary Study
On 9 October 1958, Hammarskjöld submitted to the General Assembly a report known as the “Summary Study of the Experience Derived from the Establishment of the United Nations Emergency Force“.

A reference table on the comparison between ‘Chapter VII’ (use of collective security) and the peacekeeping concept. [By Norrie MacQueen]

Also known more commonly as the “Summary Study” in short, the UNSG reported his reflections on the pioneer peacekeeping mission. His purpose was to institutionalise peacekeeping at the international level.

At the outset of the Summary Study, Hammarskjöld noted that peacekeeping did not involve ‘the type of force envisaged under Chapter VII of the Charter’. Without this legal base, the activity had to be an elective one.

There were two senses to this. First, there could be no deployment on a state’s territory ‘without the consent of the Government concerned’. Second, it followed that if Chapter VII was not to be used as the basis of a peacekeeping action then Article 43, with its obligations on member states to ‘make available to the Security Council, on its call’ whatever military forces were deemed necessary, could not be invoked. They could only be freely offered by contributing states in response to a request from the UN. These principles would ‘naturally hold valid for all similar operations in the future’.

An excerpt from “Peacekeeping and the International System” by Norrie MacQueen.

As described by MacQueen, the UNSG had envisaged peacekeeping as a concept that required consent from the host-state. Also, operational support to form the peacekeeping force had to be carried out on a voluntary basis. The second requirement proved to be costly and problematic later on, as observed in the United Nations Mission in Congo (ONUC).

In his Summary study, the Secretary-General held, with regard to the principle of freedom of movement, that an agreement as to what should be considered an area of operations of the force would be needed in future operations.

[…] In the Congo operation (1960-1964), secessionist movements exercised control from time to time over large tracts of the Congolese territory. The Secretary-General was therefore more or less forced to negotiate with those movements rather than use force to enter the territory. The UN also concluded cease-fire agreements with forces not under the control of the central Congolese government.

An excerpt from “Protection of Personnel in Peace Operations: The Role of the ‘Safety Convention’ against the Background of General International Law” by Ola Engdahl.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view the the United Nations Secretary-Generals have played a vital role in the maintenance of international peace and security.

Join our JC History Tuition to recap on the United Nations topic. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

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What happened in the Abyssinian crisis?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 1: Formation of the United Nations

Watch the animated summary of the historical event. [Video by Simple History]

Historical Background
The Abyssinian crisis involved two key parties. In 1922, the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini rose to power. He heavily armed the nation and sought to assert greater influence in the rest of the world.

On the other hand, Abyssinia (now called ‘Ethiopia’) was ruled by Emperor Haile Selassie. It was situated in the middle of two Italian colonies, Eritrea and Somaliland and the lands were well-endowed with natural resources.

The invasion & the League’s muted response
On 3 October 1935, Mussolini mobilised troops and launched a full-scale invasion, crossing the Abyssinian border. Selassie sought the League of Nations (LON) for assistance.

The League Council issued a report in response to Selassie’s pleas for help. After a three-day debate, fifty out of fifty-four members agreed with the Council’s report. The report stated that the imposition of economic sanctions, in terms of exports of key commodities to Italy, should be carried out.

The task of overseeing the implementation of sanctions was charged to a co-ordination committee, which began work on 11 October – known as the Committee of Eighteen, chaired by the Portuguese diplomat, Vasconcellos. Its work was divided into five sections: placing an embargo on exporting arms to Italy, withholding loans and credits, prohibiting the import of Italian goods, a ban on the export of parts for industrial plants, and to minimize the economic effects on the sanctionist states of the imposition of these sanctions.

An excerpt from “Collision of Empires: Italy’s Invasion of Ethiopia and its International Impact” by G. Bruce Strang.

However, the lack of unanimity had stalled the League’s efforts to put the report into action.

A clash of interests: Enter Great Britain and France
Although economic sanctions eventually took effect in November 1935, they were futile in halting Mussolini’s occupation of Abyssinia. The sanctions did not ban the sale of oil. Furthermore, the British did not close the Suez Canal, which allowed open access of commodities, including oil.

As other members of the LON pressured the Council to step up the sanctions on Italy, Great Britain and France made a secret arrangement with Italy.

In December 1935, British Foreign Secretary Samuel Hoare and French Prime Minister Pierre Laval proposed the Hoare-Laval Pact that offered to partition Abyssinia, thereby giving much of the territories to Italy. In return, Italy must agree to end the war.

Then, the Pact was leaked to the press, sparking public outcry. The Pact was not signed and both the British and French ministers were removed from office.

Why British decision makers elected to let Mussolini off the hook engendered controversy at the time, which has continued ever since. When furore erupted over the Hoare-Laval Pact, which flew in the face of the government’s electoral promise that foreign policy was predicated on preserving the sanctity of the League, Stanley Baldwin resorted to the argument that his lips were sealed by national security considerations, a stance that prompted cartoonists to mock the Prime Minister and perplexed supporters and critics alike.

An excerpt from “Collision of Empires: Italy’s Invasion of Ethiopia and its International Impact” by G. Bruce Strang.

In May 1936, Italy annexed Ethiopia. The sanctions had failed to forestall the Italian victory, thus the League Assembly lifted sanctions.

A costly mistake: Impact on the League of Nations
The League’s inaction had diminished its credibility even though the Covenant had stated that all member states should adhere to the collective security system.

The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League. In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.

Article 10 of the Covenant of the League of Nations.

Some even observed that the League’s failed attempts to prevent the Italian invasion of Ethiopia may have emboldened Hitler to carry out similar acts of aggression later in Czechoslovakia and Poland.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the United Nations was built on the foundations of the failed League of Nations?

Join our JC History Tuition to grasp the key concepts and events covered in the topic of the United Nations. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

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JC History Tuition Online - What are the five regional groups of the United Nations General Assembly

What are the five regional groups of the United Nations General Assembly?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Learn more about regional groups like the Group of 77 to understand their contributions to the General Assembly [Video by the United Nations]

Historical context
When the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was tasked to choose members to fill the non-permanent seats on the Security Council (UNSC), it then led to the creation of five groups:

  1. African states
  2. Asia-Pacific states
  3. Latin American and Caribbean states
  4. Eastern European states
  5. Western European and Other states

These groups were formed based on geography. Initially, these regional groups were affected by changing political conditions, such as the decolonisation of the Third World nations from 1954 to 1960. For instance, British colonies that gained independence had joined groups based on their geographical proximities rather than being in the Commonwealth.

The only explicit provisions of the Charter on geographical distribution concern the election of the 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council (Article 23, para. 1) and the recruitment of the staff of the Organization (Article 101, para. 3).

[…]

The members of certain regional groups also use the groups for discussion and consultation on policy issues. Moreover, since groupings of Member States by geographical region have evolved as an informal arrangement for a number of practical purposes, different groupings are sometimes used for different purposes, or in the context of different United Nations bodies.

An excerpt from the United Nations Juridical Yearbook 1996 (Letter to the Senior Legal Adviser of the Universal Postal Union).

Apart from the consideration of these five regional groups, it is important to look at the formation of other groupings that affected the voting behavior of member nations in the UNGA.

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
The NAM was formed during the Cold War by the Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito. It was established for countries that sought to stay neutral, refusing to align either with the United States or the Soviet Union. During the Bandung Conference in April 1955, the concepts for the NAM were created.

There were four key aims in the Conference:

  1. To promote goodwill and cooperation among the nations of Asia and Africa, to explore and advance their mutual as well as common interests, and to establish and further friendliness and neighbourly relations;
  2. To consider consider social, economic and cultural problems and relations of the countries represented;
  3. To consider problems of special interest to Asian and African peoples;
  4. To view the position of Africa and Asia and their peoples in the world of today and the contribution they can make to the promotion of world peace and cooperation.

In 1961, the NAM was founded in Belgrade (during the Non-Aligned Conference) under the leadership of Marshall Tito, Jawaharlal Nehru and Gamal Abdel Nasser. 25 Arab, Asian and African countries attended the Summit that marked its founding. Members in the NAM had objected to foreign intervention in the Middle East (such as the Suez Canal Crisis), labelling Western interference as ‘acts of imperialism’.

The African Group at the UN was created in 1958 and soon made its presence felt on decolonisation and anti-apartheid issues, eventually ostracising South Africa at the UN and maintaining pressure for the liberation of Rhodesia-Zimbabwe and Namibia. NAM states led the expansion of the UN Security Council and the Economic and Social Council by the mid-1970s. During this period, the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was agreed; a committee on decolonisation was established; and the special committee against apartheid was created.

[…]

Due to the pressure of a determined Southern majority, the People’s Republic of China took its permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 1971 in the teeth of US opposition. Western disenchantment with the global South’s dominance of multilateral diplomacy eventually led to the creation of the Group of Seven industrialised advanced nations in 1975.

An excerpt from “Bandung Revisited: The Legacy of the 1955 Asian-African Conference for International Order” by Amitav Acharya and See Seng Tan.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the importance of regional groups in influencing the effectiveness of the United Nations General Assembly.

Join our JC History Tuition to study the role of the United Nations and its principal organs. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - How does the UN General Assembly work - United Nations

How does the UN General Assembly work?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

The UN General Assembly: Revisited
Let’s recap on what we have learnt about the ‘world parliament’, also known as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). As stated in Article 7 of the UN Charter, the UNGA is one of the six principal organs. Among all six, the UNGA allows political representation of all member states through its “one nation, one vote” system.

Ever since its inception, the membership size has increased from a humble 51 to 193. Initially, the UNGA started out with its predominantly European and Latin American composition. Following decolonisation, the inclusion of newly-independent countries in Africa and Asia contributed to a global forum that is more representative of the world.

The Six Committees
There are six main committees to address a wide range of matters, such as “Disarmament and International Security” (First Committee) and “Administrative and Budgetary” (Fifth Committee). In October and November, the UNGA will begin its proceedings in these committees. During this phase, the UNGA will consider the adoption of resolutions to deal with procedural matters, like membership admission. Interestingly, the First Committee saw heated debates during the Cold War.

Article 21 of the UN Charter states that the UNGA shall “elect its president for each session”. Additionally, Article 22 points out that the UNGA should “establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions”. As such, presidents serving the main committees will come from different regional groups (Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern European and Western European) in a rotational manner. Notably, the Permanent Five members of the Security Council will occupy positions in the committees as vice presidents.

Each main committee elects a chair, two vice chairs, and a rapporteur. The chair presides over committee meetings and co-ordinates or encourages the informal consultations on procedural and substantive questions necessary to its effective functioning. The vice chairs preside as needed, and in most committees also organize or promote informal discussions on agenda items assigned to their care. The rapporteur, assisted by the Secretariat, drafts the summaries of debates and explanations of committee drafts that comprise its reports to the plenary.

An excerpt from “The UN General Assembly” by M. J. Peterson

The Regular Sessions
In the UNGA, the regular sessions commence from the third Tuesday in September till the third week in December. Each government of a member state can send delegates as representatives to attend the General Assembly session. Article 9(2) of the Charter stipulates that each member state should send “not more than five representatives”.

The Special and Emergency Sessions
In view of more exceptional situations, the UNGA can conduct Special or Emergency Special Sessions to address specific agendas. These sessions can last from one day to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the matter. They can be held at the request of the Security Council or a majority of the member states.

The following are some notable Special Sessions held by the UNGA:

As for Emergency Special Sessions, here are some examples:

  • 1st Emergency Special Session (1956): Middle East on the Suez Canal Crisis
  • 4th Emergency Special Session (1960): Congo Crisis

Use of the General Assembly as an arena for criticizing rivals and appealing to wider audiences began in earnest as the Second World War allies divided into contending Cold War blocs. Public debate provided both sides with occasions for asserting the superiority of its own vision for the world and the inferiority of the other’s. By 1950, another broad cleavage, between an anti-colonial majority and the remaining colonial powers, had also emerged, but did not inspire the same two-way intensity of discussion because the colonial powers were more defensive and subdued. From the late 1960s through the 1980s, the South–North cleavage produced sharp rhetoric as the more radical members of the Third World coalition took the lead in denouncing Western imperialism and neocolonialism.

An excerpt from “The UN General Assembly” by M. J. Peterson

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the United Nations General Assembly has fulfilled its Charter-defined roles?

Join our JC History Tuition to evaluate the effectiveness of the principal organs of the United Nations. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. We provide useful study notes, essay outlines and source based case study references for productive revision.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - How effective is the International Court of Justice - United Nations Notes

How effective is the International Court of Justice?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

All bark and no bite?
Ever since the formation of the International Court of Justice on 26 June 1945, it has addressed a variety of cases. It is involved either in the provision of advisory opinion on legal matters or arbitration.

Yet, there is increased skepticism towards the Court’s efficacy in ensuring member nations adhere to the international law.

For instance, the Court failed to enforce its ruling against the United States in 1986. Although it ruled in favour of Nicaragua, the United States refused to comply, thus diminishing the confidence of other members in submitting their cases to the Court.

The United States refused to participate in the merits phase of the case, considering the Court’s ruling ‘clearly and manifestly erroneous as to both fact and law’.

…The United States’ reaction culminated with a notice of termination of its declaration accepting compulsory jurisdiction of the Court on 7 October 1985. Given the support that the United States had traditionally given to the Court, its withdrawal from the Optional Clause System was a cause for much regret and concern.

An excerpt from “Nicaragua Before the International Court of Justice: Impacts on International Law” by Edgardo Sobenes Obregon and Benjamin Samson.

Yugoslavia: Legality of force
Following the NATO bombing campaign during the Kosovo War in 1999, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia brought up a case to the International Court of Justice. It alleged that the NATO members used military force, which was in violation of the international law.

On April 29, 1999, Yugoslavia brought proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Belgium to redress a “violation of the obligation not to use force,” and against nine other NATO countries as well. The claims were based upon the UN Charter and several international legal conventions, including the 1949 Geneva Convention, its 1977 Additional Protocol 1, and the Genocide Convention.

An excerpt from a “Journal of Legal Studies” by the United States Air Force Academy, Department of Law.

However, the Court concluded that the parties filing the case, Montenegro and Serbia were not members of the United Nations, thus the proceedings could not take place for dispute settlement.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the political effectiveness of the International Court of Justice in maintaining the international law.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the organisational structure of the United Nations. Our H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic review and writing practices to improve your knowledge application skills.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC H2 H1 History Tuition Online - What happened during the United States invasion of Grenada - United Nations Essay Notes

What happened during the United States invasion of Grenada?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Find out what happened in Grenada [Video by The Associated Press].

Historical Context: The ‘Second Cold War’
Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, United States (US) President Ronald Reagan renewed Cold War confrontation towards its ideological rival. As part of the ‘containment policy’, the US increased its military and financial support for counter-revolutionaries in other parts of the world. Along the same vein, the US became more involved in the toppling of pro-Communist regimes.

The prevention of another ‘hostage crisis’
The Reagan administration’s swift and firm response to the coup launched by the leftist Maurice Bishop and his New Jewel Movement was partly motivated by the fears of another ‘Iran Hostage Crisis’. In Grenada, there were nearly 1000 Americans. Most were medical students.

From the ideological standpoint, the US was concerned with the rise of a Marxist regime. In 1983, the Marxist Bernard Coard assassinated Bishop and replaced the government. The Reagan administration was concerned with the increasing Soviet influence in the Carribean.

The United States had grown increasingly uneasy about the expansion of Soviet and Cuban influence in the Caribbean and in Grenada in particular. By the early 1980s, Soviet support of the Communist Sandinista government of Nicaragua and of the Communist insurrection in El Salvador was on the rise. The new U.S. administration of President Ronald Reagan viewed further encroachments into traditional U.S. spheres of influence in South and Central America and the Caribbean as constituting an increasing menace. Soviet and Cuban military aid and equipment and construction of an airfield larger than any needed for purely civilian purposes set off alarm bells in the U.S. national security establishment.

An excerpt from “Operation Urgent Fury: The Invasion of Grenada, October 1983” by Richard W Stewart and Edgar F Raines.

On 25 October 1983, the US led a military invasion of Grenada, clashing with Grenadian armed forces and Cuban engineers. Eventually, the invasion was a success. Coard’s government was replaced by a pro-American Herbert Blaize.

International outrage
The American invasion drew strong criticisms from various countries. On 2 November 1983, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution, condemning the act as a ‘flagrant violation of international law’. Similarly, the United Nations Security Council drafted a resolution, but was vetoed by the US.

… President Reagan dispatched 1,900 US troops to Grenada on October 25. Encountering little resistance, US forces quickly gained control of the island, arrested what was left of the Grenadian government… Although popular in the United States, the US action was condemned by the United Nations, with only a US veto preventing a Security Council censure.

The invasion of Grenada, coupled with increases in support for the Contras and the Afghan resistance led to a codification of US policy toward the Third World which became known as the Reagan Doctrine.

An excerpt from “The Cold War: An International History” by David Painter.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the significance of the Cold War on the political effectiveness of the United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the Cold War and peacekeeping missions. We cover a thematic review during our online learning classes. Students will receive summary notes and go through class practices to refine their thinking, reading and writing techniques.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC H2 H1 History Tuition Online - What were Dag Hammarskjöld's contributions - United Nations Essay Notes

What were Dag Hammarskjöld’s contributions?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Learn more about the Secretary-General’s vision of the United Nations in the 1950s [Video by the United Nations]

About the Secretary-General
Dag Hammarskjöld was a Swedish economist who was appointed as the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 7 April 1953. He was re-elected to serve another term in September 1957. Hammarskjöld was an exemplary diplomat who made remarkable contributions to the international organisation, such as the institutionalisation of peacekeeping and conflict prevention.

The Sino-American hostage crisis: ‘Peking Diplomacy’
Following the end of the Korean War, the Secretary-General visited the Chinese premier Zhou Enlai to secure the release of fifteen American pilots in January 1955. These pilots were captured by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) during the Korean conflict.

Hammarskjöld responded with sympathy to two claims made by Zhou Enlai, namely (1) the argument that communist China had wrongly been denied admission to the United Nations, and (2) criticism by China that the United States had unduly refused to allow Chinese students to return to the People’s Republic of China… But at the end of the talks, (Zhou) agreed to comply with two of the Secretary-General’s requests. He agreed that the People’s Republic of China would comply with the policy terms regarding the treatment of foreign prisoners, announced at Geneva, which implied lenient sentences.

An excerpt from “Peace Diplomacy, Global Justice and International Agency: Rethinking Human Security and Ethics in the Spirit of Dag Hammarskjöld” by Carsten Stahn and Henning Melber.

After the conclusion of the visit, Hammarskjöld described his diplomatic approach as the ‘Peking Formula‘, which referred to his role as the ‘Secretary-General under the Charter of the United Nations and not as a representative of what was stated in the General Assembly resolution’.

Eventually, PRC agreed to release the US airmen, reflecting the success of the Secretary-General’s personal touch in resolving the dispute in spite of the growing Sino-American tensions.

Peacekeeping: UNEF
During the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956, Hammarskjöld conceptualised peacekeeping and applied it to the first UN peacekeeping force – the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF).

There are three guiding principles of peacekeeping:

  • Consent of the parties
  • Impartiality
  • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate

Ever since, these principles have set the standard for subsequent UN missions.

The most telling aspect of UNEF’s creation, and ultimately the most problematic from the Canadian perspective, was the need to respect Egypt’s sovereignty and obtain Nasser’s consent to place the peacekeeping force on Egyptian territory.

…The speed with which Hammarskjöld was able to organize the peacekeeping mission was nothing short of incredible. By 6 November, in just over two days, he had been able to sketch out the basics of the mission, and less than two weeks later the first troops landed on the ground in Egypt.

An excerpt from “Pearson’s Peacekeepers: Canada and the United Nations Emergency Force, 1956-67” by Michael K. Carroll.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the political effectiveness of the Dag Hammarskjöld in fulfilling his duties as the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the organisational structure of the United Nations. We provide summary notes, essay and source based case study practices to reinforce your thematic knowledge and refine the essential writing techniques.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC H2 History Tuition Online - What happens when the General Assembly convenes - United Nations Essay Notes

What happens when the General Assembly convenes?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Examine the developments within the ‘World Parliament’ to understand the contributions of the United Nations [Video by the United Nations]

The World Parliament
As one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, the General Assembly involves all 193 sovereign states to participate in global affairs. In comparison with the Security Council, the General Assembly functions as a representative facet of the United Nations to allow fair and equal political participation by all member states. Each member is given the right to express its opinion and vote on various matters.

The Three Types of Sessions
As stated in Article 20 of the Charter, the “General Assembly shall meet in regular annual sessions and in such special sessions as occasion may require”. There are three types of sessions: Regular sessions, special sessions and emergency special sessions. Let’s take a look at each type to comprehend the significance of its role in the United Nations.

1. Regular Sessions
Each year, the General Assembly holds the regular sessions, starting from September to December, and then resumes in January. The session will conclude once all issues on the stated agenda are addressed.

At the beginning of each regular session, the Assembly holds a general debate in which the member states express their views on a wide range of matters of international concern. Due to the great number of questions which the Assembly is called upon to consider (there were 154 separate agenda items at the 1988 session of the Assembly,) for example, the Assembly allocates most questions to its seven main committees:

An excerpt from “The United Nations: Structure & Functions Of An International Organisation” by Rumki Basu.

These committees address diverse matters, such as disarmament and related international security matters, economic and financial matters, social humanitarian and cultural matters, decolonisation, administrative and budgetary matters.

2. Special Sessions
The General Assembly may conduct special sessions at the request of the Security Council or a majority of member states. As of 2020, 31 special sessions have been convened by the General Assembly.

Notable special sessions included the deliberation of Palestine (1947-48) and the financial expenses incurred by the United Nations peacekeeping operations during the Suez and Congo Crises (1963).

Given that peacekeeping was specified in the Charter, the General Assembly deliberated on the legality of peacekeeping missions. The International Court of Justice delivered its advisory opinion on 20 July 1962 and recognised that peacekeeping operations in the Middle East and the Congo should constitute “expenses of the Organization” as stated in Article 17(2) of the Charter.

Recognizing the necessity of sharing equitably the financial burden of peace-keeping operations to the extent not otherwise covered by agreed arrangements, …

(a) The financing of such operations is the collective responsibility of all States Members of theUnited Nations;

An excerpt from the “Fourth Special Session” conducted by the General Assembly (14 May – 27 June 1963).

3. Emergency Special Sessions
Resolution 377A(V), also known as “Uniting for peace”, allows the General Assembly to convene in an emergency special session within 24 hours of a request by the Security Council or a majority of member states.

Between 1956 to 1982, nine emergency special sessions have been conducted by the General Assembly in response to situations where there appears to be “a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression”.

Although the “Uniting for peace” empowers the General Assembly to investigate serious threats to peace, these emergency special sessions did not always lead to favourable outcomes.

In its second emergency special session, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to send an observation commission to Hungary, ‘to investigate the situation caused by foreign intervention in Hungary’. While the Secretary-General named members of the commission, the Soviet Union and the Hungarian government never granted them access to the country, but the commission produced a report on the basis of over 100 interviews mostly with Hungarians who had fled the country.

An excerpt from “The United Nations Security Council and War: The Evolution of Thought and Practice Since 1945” by Vaughan Lowe, Adam Roberts, Jennifer Welsh and Dominik Zaum.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the United Nations General Assembly has fulfilled its Charter-defined aims?

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about the United Nations and its organisational structure. We conduct thematic content revision classes, provide learning resources and practices to be prepared for the GCE A Level History examinations.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.