Is the UN an attempt to tackle anarchy?
Kenneth Waltz said that under anarchy, without a supra-national authority to make and enforce law, “war occurs because there's nothing to prevent it. Among states, as among men, there is no automatic adjustment of interests. In the absence of a supreme authority there is then the constant possibility that conflicts will be settled by force”
The UN was created, in the aftermath of the Second World War, to maintain international peace and security. As the preamble of the UN Charter states its aim is to “to save succeeding generations from a scourge of war.”, being the body in charge of acting as the world's keeper the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). This council is a very special organ in the international law for two reasons:
1. It is the only body that can impose binding obligations on states.
2. It is the only body that can authorise states to use military force (when not in self-defence).
Although its main task is to maintain peace, or rather the absence of war, the UNSC is nevertheless a political body afflicted with the usual political diseases and therefore its role to maintain peace and stability is often hampered by national interests of the nations that compose it.
As individuals protect their own interests so do States, thus if a member of the UNSC has an interest in not keeping peace and stability in a certain region, the council will not be able to play its role – a perfect example of this is Russia's annexation of Crimea and its involvement in the Ukraine conflict (as a permanent member of the UNSC, Russia would veto any resolution drafted to condemn its direct support to Rebels in Eastern Ukraine; guaranteeing thus the extension of tensions); this being said, it is safe to say that the UN has not tackled this act of anarchy.
The UN, just like the EU and others, is an institution intended to provide information (intended to decrease uncertainty of behaviour between states), reduce transaction costs, make commitments more credible and facilitate reciprocity. It is also said that institutions must be independent.
It all seems quite straightforward on paper; however, looking at the UN (and the EU, for instance) we need to doubt the credibility of such institutions and their capability to deliver what they promise. For example, when UN peacekeepers are deployed to prevent escalation of conflicts or to keep peace after a conflict; but instead they rape women and children, how much does the UN contribute to the stability of a nation, or even the world? When the UN smuggles weapons into areas of conflict (as it has occurred in South Sudan, last year), how much does the UN contribute to peace and stability of a country, or even a region? When the UN serves as a platform to single out and immorally attack specific countries (nurturing thus divisions and discriminations), how much does this institution contribute to peace and stability of the world?
The UN depends financially upon its member states. For those who know how politics really works, this dependence can be translated into UN favour to the highest bidder (or set of bidders); therefore, how can this institution be truly independent?
In light of all of the above, it is safe to say that the UN may contribute to anarchic actions in the future.
“War occurs because there's nothing to prevent it.” – idem
The United Nations, as an international institution, has not proved that it is consistent to the interests of individual countries, and because it reflects the preferences and power of the most influential (i.e. highest bidder) states in the global system, it isn't capable of preventing countries from going to war as we have seen since its inception (e.g. 1st Indochina War, Greek Civil War, Indo-Pakistani war, Civil War in Mandatory Palestine, Korean War, Costa Rican Civil War, Algerian War, Suez Crisis, Basque Conflict, Congo War, African Wars of Independence, Sino-Indian War, Shifta War, Rhodesian Bush War, Six-Day War, The Troubles, Bangladesh Liberation War, Lebanese Civil War, Shaba I and II, Soviet War in Afghanistan, Iran-Iraq War, Falklands War, Lebanon War, Sri Lankan Civil War, US invasion of Panama, Iraq-Kuwait War, Rwandan Civil War, Kosovo War, Afghanistan War, Iraq War, Syrian Civil war, Libyan Civil War, Mali War, Ukraine-Russia War - click for a more comprehensive list).
Having said this, if the UN is an attempt to tackle anarchy (i.e. to prevent wars from occurring), it has grossly failed; and it only subsists because it is a quasi-guaranteed job-generator for politicians (and derivatives).