Courtesy Reuters

United to Enforce Peace

THE United Nations is a living political organism, and the principle of its growth is to be seen in the very conflict which perpetually drives it to further development. The conflict, which occurs and recurs among its supporters no less than between its supporters and its enemies, has two aspects--both of which, indeed, were no less evident in the debates about the old League of Nations.

The first is the basic question of international coöperation itself--whether the nations of the world are to act together as partners in a community or whether they are to "go it alone," each for himself and the devil take the hindmost. The second is generally interpreted as a controversy about the basic function of the United Nations, though in truth it, too, presents the question of survival--in short, whether the organization is to have the strength to enforce the collective security of its members. Supported by its entourage of slave states, Soviet Russia has gone it alone within the organization almost from the day she entered it. But the recurring conflicts of opinion among the other members in regard to the organization's nature and functions have resulted always, in the end, in a movement toward closer coöperation and toward placing greater emphasis on its rôle as an enforcement agency. The reason is easy to find. The theory, much favored in 1945, that the primary function of the U.N. is "long-range," namely, concentration upon removing the underlying causes of wars between nations, dissolved when it came up against the hard fact that since 1947 the danger of another world war has not been remote and submerged but immediate and open. The experience of overt and deliberate aggression by Soviet-supported troops against the U.N. itself in Korea has inexorably and correctly made the mediatory function subordinate to the enforcement function. Though some able dialecticians have attempted the task of convincing the member states that they should somehow develop the faculty of mediating between themselves

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