Why Does The United Nations Exist?

Has the UN ever performed any useful function, and should we continue to pay for it?

Allan Milne Lees
8 min readMar 16


Image credit: United Nations

Anyone familiar with the British TV series Doctor Who circa 2005–2010 will likely have gained an impression of the United Nations as a powerful international body that not only is wise and all-knowing but which also has its own military by means of which to address existential threats.

Anyone familiar with the actual United Nations will, however, have a rather different perspective. But before we take a look at the reality of the UN, let’s begin with some history.

The United Nations came into existence on 25th June 1945, with the hope that it would be a rather more effective international institution than the failed League of Nations it replaced. According to the Preamble of the UN Charter, this is why the organization was formed:


to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,


to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.

Due to the fact the UN was constructed largely by Western powers, and that both France and the UK felt they “deserved” special status because of their former Imperial glory, both these middle-rank nations were awarded seats on the UN Security Council which is essentially the most important part of the UN. To “balance” US presence, both…



Allan Milne Lees

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.