These critics trace the impotence of the United Nations to absence of a centralized IR government that it has failed to create.
The critics are, no doubt, right in their own way; but so are those who still pin their hopes on the United Nations to ensure a war-free world. After all, since the adoption of the UN Charter in 1945, the world has seen plenty of wars that the world body failed to avert. At the same time, however, students of the UN are inclined to give it the credit for the decreasing intensity of the wars. Although realists see the laws of power politics as relatively timeless and unchanging, liberal theorists generally see the rules of IR as slowly, incrementally evolving through time and potentially becoming more and more peaceful. (Joshua S. Goldstein and Jon C. Pevehouse. "International Relations, 8/e". 2008)
This evolution results primarily from gradual buildup of international organization and mutual cooperation (reciprocity) and secondarily from changes in norms and public opinion (identity) "We are not doomed to a world of recurring war but can achieve a more peaceful world," says Goldstein and Pevehouse. For example, in recent years a strong trend toward fewer warts has become evident (Human Security Centre. Human Security Report 2005: "War and Peace in the 21st Century; 2006).
For instance, to many Americans the world seems more war-prone and violent than ever because the United States is at war on a scale not seen since Vietnam. Yet, for the world as a whole, the current period is one of the least warlike ever, with fewer and smaller wars than in the past. "In the first half of the 20th century, world wars "killed tens of millions and left whole contents in ruin; in the second half, during the Cold War, proxy wars killed millions, and the world feared a nuclear war that could have wiped out our species. Now, in the 21st century, wars like those in Iraq and Sudan kill hundreds of thousands." (Goldstein and Pevehouse)
The late 1990s and the early 21st century saw termination of vestigial remnants of Cold War era, such as in Angola, Northern Ireland, Guatemala, and southern Sudan, following South Africa and Mozambique earlier in the 1990s. Most wars that erupted after the end of the Cold War, such as in Bosnia, Kosovo, Algeria, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda have ended. Liberia, Ivory Coast and Democratic Congo established power-sharing governments and brought in international peacekeepers, following in the footsteps of Sierra Leone where democratic elections were held in 2003.
However, it is true that in 2006, wars in Darfur (Sudan), Iraq and Afghanistan worsened; a brief Israeli-Lebanese war left wounds that would not heal easily, and Sri Lanka resumed a civil war while formally retaining a cease-fire agreement, all suggesting a less peaceful year. "Yet, less visibly, in Democratic Congo, here several million people had died in civil war, a shaky UN-monitored cease-fire held, as were elections for a constitution and a President. In Uganda, a peace deal ended a bloody rebellion. Nepal's civil war also entered a relatively stable cease-fire." (Goldstein and Pevehouse)
In the early 1990s, around a million people died in wars every year, but that rate has fallen by more than 80 per cent. What accounts for this positive trend towards peace in a world still feeling insecure and still violence-prone in many ways and places Liberal theories of IR try to explain how peace and cooperation are possible.
It might be relevant to recall two important observations made by two distinguished world leaders when the UN celebrated its silver jubilee in 1970. Lester