The United Nations turned 65 years old on 24 October 2010. Representatives of 92 nations met in San Francisco, CA USA just after the conclusion of the European theater portion of World War II, even before the end of the war in the Pacific theater to come up with a document.
I must admit to being a bit of a UN addict. I know all of the former Secretaries-General and their nations, as well as the current one; I’ve been to the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza more than once – usually at a protest of some sort – and the Swede’s death in 1961 was one of the first things I remember external to my life. When the UN is a topic on a game show, as it was recently on JEOPARDY!, I generally do well.
As long as I can remember, there has been a coterie of Americans that have wanted the nation to get out of the United Nations. Ostensibly, it was because the UN is limited in what it can do in achieving peace. Even if that is partially true, it is hardly the totality of the organization’s mission, which includes addressing issues of health, climate change, human rights, the role of women, and much more.
Probably the UN organ best known in the US is UNICEF, which addresses, among many other things, AIDS, cholera in Haiti, and malnutrition in flooded sections of Pakistan.
When I was younger, I couldn’t help but recall that the US, despite President Woodrow Wilson’s efforts, balked at joining the UN’s predecessor, the League of Nations; would an American presence have help the world avoid WWII? Perhaps, I thought, perhaps naively, if the US were to have called for a less punitive attitude toward the failed German state.
I suspect that some of the UN naysayers are convinced that the United Nations is the vehicle by which the Apocalypse, presumably described in the Biblical book of Revelation, will take place. While the previous link provided doesn’t specifically mention the UN, this one does. Frankly, I find it unlikely, if only because the organization just doesn’t work in concert as well as the New Testament reading would require.
DC Comics PSA: Gifts to the United Nations! (December 1956).
In honor of the upcoming summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, three versions of a song that mentions the United Nations, Summertime Blues: