Secondly, the League intended to keep peace without outlawing war. But the United Nations has, under Art 2 (4), prohibited war. Thirdly, the League failed to distribute power properly between two chief organs the General Assembly and the Security Council. But the United Nations has very carefully demarcated power between them. Thus, under Art 24 (1), the primary responsibility of maintenance of peace and order has been entrusted upon the Security Council.
Fourthly, all the member-states are to take an oath, under Art 2 (3) that on the call of the Security Council, they must unitedly stand against any aggressor. Fifthly, chapter VI contains several Articles regarding pacific and compulsive settlement of disputes for maintaining peace. Thus, in act of aggression, the Security Council may advice the disputing states to settle the issue peacefully. But, if anyone of them defies it, the Security Council can adopt punitive measures by asking all the member-states to cut off political, diplomatic and economic relations with the culprit.
If this measure too fails, the Security Council may adapt military measures by sea, air and land-forces and all the member states are bound to provide the UN-army necessary troops, material and passages in order to continue military operations. For conducting such operations, Art 47 (1) has provided for the appointment of a Military Staff Committee. Thus, since the beginning, it was claimed that the United Nations was an organization sufficiently empowered to take action against a recalcitrant state and, that international peace was sufficiently secured with the formation of such an organization.
Authors like Norman Benthic have even claimed that, it has teeth. But, as a matter of fact, the United Nations and the Security Council have failed to serve the purpose as desired by the makers. It is true that, on few occasions, like the Korea-crisis, the UN was able to take action for securing peace. When, in 1950, North Korea, strengthened by the Chinese support, attacked South Korea by crossing the 38 degree parallel, the UN took joint action in order to establish peace and justice by saving South Korea.
As Eichelberger opines, Korea presents a clear example of United Nations application of collective security (Eichelberger 20). But, on many other occasions, it has failed to serve its purpose and, hence, peace has been threatened on various situations. For example, the UN has failed to prevent America from taking action in Vietnam, or to protect India in 1962 from Chinese aggression, or to prevent Soviet Russia from interfering in the affair of Afghanistan. In short, on various occasions, his weakness has been discernible, because the Big Powers have often defied the United Nation by violating their pledge.
Thus, the chief reason of the failure of the United Nations is the conflicting interests of the Big Powers. For this reason, Clement observes, The very name United Nations is a misnomer and, hence, may be called disunited nations (Clement 483). Particularly, after the end of Second World War, the USA and Soviet Russia, the erstwhile partners, drifted apart and became strong enemies. Though Britain and France joined the American camp, communist China sided with the Soviet Russia. Thus, the major powers have been divided into two contending camps.
Moreover, even the members of the same camp have developed mutual rivalry and distance. These conflicting interests have been reflected inside the United Nations. For this reason, on each occasion, they pursued different policies both within and outside the United Nations. For example, though it is said that the United Nations army saved South Korea in 1950, only fifteen nations took part in the military operation some states like Soviet Russia opposed it and some others remained neutral. Such differences have materially weakened the UN.
Moreover, the Soviet Veto paralyzed the Security Council from taking actions in Korea and hence, the General Assembly, by adopting the Uniting for Peace Resolution adapted the decision of taking military action. As Nicolas observes, The failure of the Security Council to function as planned threw the Assembly into an unintended prominence (Nicolas 72). Moreover, as pointed out earlier, the Charter intended that the Security Council can take action against the villain of peace. As Godspeed opines, The Council is free to utilize any technique or procedure or combination of methods or which might prove useful.
But often the maintenance of peace requires military action. But through the Charter speaks of a Military Staff Committee, it has not yet been set up due to Big power-differences. As Russell observes, Collective Security, as a method of preventing war cannot succeed until there is an international armed force. But the United Nation has no such a force due to conflicts of Big Powers. In this way the major powers have actually defied the pledge of the United Nation and have reduced it into an impotent organization.