World Order

Table of Contents

The Nature of World Order

  • World Order: the activities and relationships between the world’s states, and other significant non-state global actors, that occur within a legal, political and economic framework; an international set of arrangements for promoting stability.
  • The way in which global events and circumstances are influenced by the major actors in the world.
  • The term ‘new world order’ originated in the early 1990’s in the wake of the optimism at the end of the cold war.
  • Many world leaders hoped that the end of Communism and the Cold War would mark the beginning of a new era in which states would act collectively to address global problems that were beyond the capability of any of them to solve individually.
  • As ‘world order’ implies a certain level of peace and stability, world order issues are those that relate to promoting peace and resolving conflicts between states.
  • The importance of world order as a goal can be seen in the dramatic growth and development of international law over the past 60 years.

The need for world order


  • Can be defined as “The interconnection of two or more states to such an extent that they are mutually dependent on each other for survival and mutually vulnerable to crises.”

  • The need for world order has never been greater due to the high level of interdependence that has resulted from globalisation

  • A financial problem in one part of the world can have a quick ripple effect across the globe - e.g. 2008 Global Financial Crisis

  • Instead of promoting stability, the world has become more vulnerable and thus requires order

  • We are potentially vulnerable if things (such as terrorist attacks, outbreaks of illness, etc.) go terribly wrong in another country, as the threats of nuclear war and climate change demonstrate

  • Those in the well-off developed world (one sixth of the total global population) benefit from the current world order

  • Recognising the threats posed by interdependence, states have made serious efforts toward cooperation over the past 20 years

  • The sheer volume of international law has grown exponentially, and there is a high degree of compliance with international law due to its creation via consensus.

  • Current world order is founded upon two principles: state sovereignty and multilateralism.

State Sovereignty

  • Origins in the Treaty of Westphalia
  • The treaty ended the thirty years war within the Holy Roman Empire and the eighty years war between Spain and the Dutch Republic and marked the beginning of the modern concept of states and modern diplomacy
  • As European imperialism, trade and ideas spread throughout the world, so too did the Westphalian concept of the nation state
  • All international treaties and agreements are based on states exercising their sovereignty and working together.


  • The cooperation between multiple states for mutual benefit or protection from common threats. It occurs when nations act together for a common purpose.

  • From the 17th century, the leaders of Europe gradually began to find the political will to act together to stop the cycle of war and violence. Gradually, the hope for multilateral cooperation for mutual benefit and to prevent war became ingrained in Western Europe.

  • Significant examples of the concept of multilateralism is the Treaty of Westphalia and the Concept of Europe ( an agreement to prevent future wars between the nations of Europe following the Napoleonic wars)

  • During the 19th century, there was an increasing awareness by political leaders that the awesome destructive power of new weaponry, combined with the introduction of mass conscription and fuelled by imperial rivalry and militarism, could lead to a war of disastrous proportions

  • This awareness quickened the desire for multilateral cooperation to ensure peace

  • Two peace conferences were held at the The Hague, Holland (now Netherlands) in 1899 and 1907

  • Acted as a kind of global legislature that drew up the convention to limit warfare by various means

  • Also, an agreement was established for a permanent court of arbitration to settle international disputes

WW1 and the League of Nations

  • The trend towards multilateralism that had developed through the years of the 20th century seemed to vanish instantly upon the outbreak of the first world war
  • In 1917, the US president Woodrow Wilson committed the United States to join the war on the side of the allies on condition that the ‘League of nations’ was established at the end of the war
  • At the 1919 peace conference, the league was established
  • The main aim of the league of nations was to prevent war; international peace would be guaranteed by the principle of collective security (an attack on one country is an attack on all)
  • The creation of this league was a substantial act of multilateralism
  • However, The League was doomed to failure due to serious flaws in is legal framework and a lack of political will on the part of the world leaders at the time to fully support it.

Roosevelt and the United Nations

  • In August, 1941, two experienced world leader, both of whom had been in office during the first world war, met in a battleship off the coast of Canada and drew up a document that was to become the first step in the creation of a new world organisation
  • The document drafted by US President Roosevelt and British PM Winston Churchill, has since become known as the Atlantic Charter
  • The Atlantic Charter was a visionary attempt to avoid the mistakes of the past, and to bring about the just and lasting peace that had eluded the peacemakers at Versailles in 1919
  • 24 October 1945 the United Nations became a legal entity

The Nature of Conflict

Conventional War
  • The use of large, well organised military forces

  • Both world wars have been conventional

  • From the beginning of the 20th century, technological advances have made each

    successive conventional war more and more deadly

  • Conventional warfare prompted the declaration ‘we the peoples of the United

    Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which in our lifetime has brought it sorrow to mankind’

Nuclear War
  • Involves the use of atomic or hydrogen bombs

  • Since 1945, the number of types of nuclear weapons has increased

  • The use of just a few hundred of these would have caused utter devastation to the


  • The United Nations and the USSR ended atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons with the signing of the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty 1963

  • Currently, nuclear weapons are possessed by the UD, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel

  • Both North Korea and Iran are suspected of attempting to build nuclear weapons in violation of the treaty

  • Another concern is that terrorist groups may succeed in acquiring nuclear weapons

  • The election of George W Bush in 2000 saw a revival of American interest in modernising their nuclear weapons and developing new types and a weakening of the international mechanisms to control nuclear weapons

  • Since the election of Barack Obama, there has been a renewed commitment to pursuing a multilateral approach to nuclear disarmament and to strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation treaty

  • There are still 30 000 nuclear weapons in existence

  • Cyber-attack can direct a carefully engineered packet of data towards a system that

    controls essential infrastructure

  • It can affect

    • Internet nodes
    • Defence systems
    • Networks and computer systems
    • Telecommunications infrastructure
    • The stock market
    • Nuclear power plants
    • Critical infrastructure such as electricity grid, water supply, transportation systems
  • Hard to determine the origin of the attack

  • Could be launched by terrorists, criminal or states

Cold War
  • Name given to the state of armed, uneasy peace between the US and the USSR between 1947 and 1991
  • Involved rivalry in almost every political, economic, military and strategic matter but did not lead to direct war
  • Direct war was avoided due to the threat of mutual annihilation of nuclear weapons were used
  • The cold war paralysed the UN Security Council, and this dramatically reduced the effectiveness of the UN in dealing with world order issues

Intrastate Conflicts

  • Typically involves the use of hit and run tactics and the element of surprise
  • Guerrilla fighters harass the enemy, hide, retreat and repeat this pattern until the enemy’s army is worn down
  • Such tactics can bog down a greatly superior military force
  • E.g. Vietnam war
  • Guerrilla war tactics have been used by some armed groups opposing US occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • The deliberate extermination of a nationality, ethnic, racial or religious group
  • Dictorial regimes often engage in systematic campaigns of genocide, mass murder, death squads etc.
  • These activities can also be classified as war crimes, crimes against humanity or mass atrocity crimes
  • Actions intended to cause death or physical injury to civilians to cause terror with the intent of coercing a government or other body to meet certain demands
  • Greater global phenomenon since September 11 2001 attacks
Communal Killing
  • Refers to violence and warfare within communities, not necessarily perpetuated by the government
  • This type of violence has been a feature of the world since the end of the cold war

Case Studies

Myanmar The Muslim Rohingya population have been without a homeland for centuries and are persecuted on both sides of the border separating Bangladesh from Myanmar (Burma). The Rohingyas seek a homeland and are caught between cultures and borders with non-recognition on both sides and a lack of recognition by governments.

Thailand Whilst the majority of the Thai population is Buddhist there is a significant minority Muslim population concentrated in the nation’s Southern-most provinces. The Muslim majority in these pricinces is controlled by a combination of the army and inelected officials. The Muslim population feel both powerless and unrepresented and are seeking greater autonomy. They have resorted to violence in order to raise attention and press their claims.

Spain The Basque people are a unique and identifiable culture that live in lands to the North of Spain and South of France. ETA, a militant organisation, have sought a separate homeland in the North of Spain and have engaged in acts of violence initially targeting government and military installations, but later attacking civilian targets to raise awareness of the struggle for independence. In late 2011, the group called a ceasefire and was in negotiations in 2012 for self-rule.

Access to Resources

  • When nations do not get what they want by peaceful means, they are often tempted to revert to war

  • Technological advances in the weapons of warfare in the 20th century led to the belief that war was now too deadly to allow to happen randomly or without cause

  • The desire to prevent war was the main motivation of the creation of the UN

  • Nations that go to war are now more concerned to give a legal justification of their actions

  • The UN charter makes war illegal except in two cases:

    • Self defence
    • UN Security Council authorisation
  • US has military bases around the world in order to secure resources for an economy dependent on a high amount of energy

  • Continues to be Israel’s staunchest ally

  • Other major powers are also very concerned to secure future access to essential resources

  • China is making greater efforts to secure gas, coal, iron, ore and oil contracts as well as food supplies in Australia and around the world

  • Highly likely that competition for increasingly scarce resources will become a major source of conflict in the future

  • Food scarcity can be a source of conflict in the future

  • While competition over resources is a major cause of conflict, there are many others including:

    • Ideological disputes

    • Religion

    • Global or regional hegemony

    • Ethnic, religious or racial intolerance

Responses to World Order

  • State sovereignty gives a nation the right to make all the laws within the territories they govern

  • Also gives a nation state the right to make treaties with other states

  • Treaties are a primary source of international law

  • States can decide to cooperate with the international community in matters in which they have some interest, and they can also decide to reject international treaties that they believe conflict with their national interest

  • The last phrase of article 2.7 of the UN Charter allows the security council to use its Chapter VII Powers to overrule a nation state’s sovereign right to deal with its own affairs without UN intervention

  • However, the condition that must be met is that there must be a ‘threat to peace’, a ‘breach of the peace’ or an ‘act of aggression’ to allow the security council to take action to ‘restore international peace and security’

  • The problems with security council sanctioned intervention in a nation state to stop mass atrocity crimes are:

    • It is very difficult to get security council agreement, especially if one of the permanent five is threatened

    • The permanent five are often unwilling to undertake the intervention themselves

    • It is also hard to get other member nations to place their armed forces in harm’s way to protect the human rights of some distant nation

    • States have a justified fear of failure (e.g. US led and UNSC sanctioned humanitarian intervention in Somalia, 1993)

  • While state sovereignty is the foundation upon which our global system is based, its exercise can impede the resolution of world order issues

Example: Syria’s involvement in the Chemical Weapons Convention

Syria did not originally sign this convention when it was put forth in 1993, and the UN had suspected they possessed stockpiles of chemical weapons. This was confirmed when a UN chemical inspector found that there had been the use of nerve agent sarin in attacks during the Syrian civil war. It wasn’t until Syria acceded to it in 2013 that the UN could intervene.

The Kyoto Protocol (1992)

An international agreement associated with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and aims to reduce carbon emissions by setting international reduction targets. Australia at the time was a major carbon emitter due to its large industrial population, and wouldn’t sign the treaty because of the effect it would have on the economy. Australia to signed in 1998 due to a combination of international pressure (wanting to be viewed positively by the international community), and the industrial industry having decreased enough to not cause an economic drop once signed.

Post-War Record of the United Nations

The achievements far outweigh the meagre monetary budget that it operates on. The United Nations has achieved the following aims:

  • Promoted the idea that everyone has human rights regardless of where they live

  • Led numerous peacekeeping operations

  • Served as the hub of a massive body of international law

  • Established dialogue to continue between hostile states

  • Hept all nation states as members

  • Acted as a court of world opinion on issues of great importance

  • Involved in numerous missions since the 1990s

  • The great drop in the number of conflict deaths and politically motivated mass

    murders since the end of the cold war has been attributed to the UN’s activities on conflict prevention and peace operations

  • Problems with the UN include its inflexible structure under the UN Charter, poor leadership and the dominance of the permanent five.

The UN Charter

  • The purposes of the United Nations as stated in Article One are:

    • To maintain international peace and security

    • To develop friendly relations between states

    • To cooperate in solving international problems of an economic, social,

      cultural, and humanitarian nature

    • To promote respect for human rights

  • Article 2 states the United Nations and its members should act in accordance with the following principles:

    • The full sovereignty and equality of all its members
    • The peaceful settlement of international disputes
    • Refraining from the threat or use of force against any nation state
    • Non-intervention in matters within the domestic jurisdiction of any nation state


  • The framers of the UN charter sought to give the security council legal right to use whatever force was necessary to maintain or restore peace
  • The main difference for peace enforcement was that peacekeeping could operate without the agreement of the five permanent members of the Security Council
  • The whole UN peacekeeping apparatus has operated out of the security general’s department since 1956

Future Goals

Peacebuilding Commission
  • The UN general assembly and the security council together establish a peace building commission at the 2005 world summit
  • The main aim is to extend the period of assistance provided to countries emerging from recent conflict, to help prevent them from slipping back into violence
  • Acts as an advisory body to marshal support and resource for reconstruction, institution building and sustainable development
  • The hope is that the peacebuilding commission will ensure longer term attention by the global community to the tasks of post-conflict recovery

United Nations Emergency Peace Service

  • Numerous peace and security NGOs lobbying for a permanent group called the United Nations Peace Service which can intervene quickly in a crisis
  • Effectively a standing army for the UN
  • If established, the body would respond to international crisis within 48-72 hours

Administrative Bodies of the UN

Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

  • Coordinate the work of the 14 UN Specialised agencies

  • Promotes higher living standards, full employment, economic and social progress

  • Identifies solutions to international economic, social and health problems

  • Encourages international cultural and educational cooperation


  • Administers the programs and policies of the UN

  • The Secretary General of the UN is the head of the Secretariat

  • The duties carried out by the secretariat include administering peacekeeping operations, mediating international disputes, surveying economic and social trends and problems and preparing studies on human rights and sustainable development

  • It informs the media about the work of the United Nations

Trusteeship Council

  • No longer functional as its aims have been achieved the Trusteeship Council was set up to supervise the administration of Trust Territories while they achieved self governance or full independence

  • It ran from 1948 until 1994

  • Treaties and customary law are the main sources of international law

  • The agreement or treaty places an obligation on the parties to act in a particular way or adopt a certain type of behaviour as the norm

  • Since 1945, all states have been obliged to lodge their treaties with the United Nations

  • The most significant treaties in terms of their contribution to world order would be the UN charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Genova Conventions and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

  • These treaties have set the framework for international law

Jus Cogens The principle of jus cogens refers to a legal norm that is accepted by the international community and is therefore binding on everyone regardless of whether a particular leader or nation accepts it (e.g. no slavery).

Courts and Tribunals

  • The questions before the court are usually decided by a majority of judges
  • Decisions are arrived at by applying international conventions and international customary law
  • May refer to academic writing and previous decisions to interpret the law, although it is not bound by previous decisions
  • The ICJ hears two types of cases:
    • Contentious issues between states - the court produces binding ruling between states that have agreed to be bound by the ruling of the court
    • Advisory opinions - the court provide reasoned, but non-binding, rulings on questions of international law submitted by the general assembly of the UN

Example: Japan’s refusal to stop whaling even after becoming a signatory of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW)

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) sets the global environmental agenda and aims to promote the cooperation of all nation states in caring for the environment. Australia brought this issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Japan arguing that Article VIII of the 1946 Convention states that the parties “may take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research”. The court refuted this and banned Japan from further whaling. Japan has ignored the ruling made by the ICJ and has continued whaling. Immediate state interests will almost always be prioritised over the condition of the environment.

ICC (International Criminal Court)

  • A permanent court in which individuals can be tried for mass atrocity crimes
  • Legal entity that was created independently of the United Nations
  • Works closely with the UN

Other Tribunals

  • International criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
    • Jurisdiction over breaches of the Genova Conventions and international customary law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia
  • International criminal tribunal for Rwanda
    • Jurisdiction over acts of genocide committed by the Rwandan government and armed forces in 1994
  • The European Court of Human Rights
    • Jurisdiction over issues of human rights in Europe
  • International tribunal for the law of the sea
    • Established under the UN Convention Of The Law Of The Sea
    • Can look at any use relating to the sea

Example: South China Sea Conflict

China has attempted to claim a popular trade route as part of Chinese jurisdiction, building islands large enough to support small military installations which has caused other nations to become increasingly concerned over China’s intentions. The Philippines claimed that China has violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) agreements regarding economic zones and territorial seas. The Philippines took this case to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea at The Hague in attempts to find a peaceful resolution before the situation escalated.

The New York Times published The South China Sea: Explaining the Dispute (July 14, 2016) outlining the south china sea conflict as well as the tribunal’s ruling. The tribunal ruled in favour of the Philippines, which had claimed China illegally seized their maritime territory as well as endangered Philippine ships and damaged the marine environment. China has stated that they will ignore the ruling made by the tribunal. The tribunal is ineffective in resolving the case peacefully as it has no legally binding power over China.

Intergovernmental Organisations

  • Increasingly making a significant contribution to world order
  • They vary enormously in their economic power, effectiveness, level of cooperation and integration, plans for the future and impact on the rest of the world
The European Union
  • Stands out as the most successful and influential regional intergovernmental organisation

  • Created unprecedented wealth and security for its members and has revitalised European influence in the world

  • Made the prospect of war amongst its members unthinkable

  • Supranational organisation

  • Under the coal and steel treaty, the member states agreed to common

    management of those industries so that none could make weapons of war to turn against any of the others

  • In 1957, the Treaty of Rome was signed which had the aim of allowing free trade across borders

  • Has strict membership criteria

  • Adheres to the UN charter regarding the use of force ad requires that its members

    are democracies that uphold the rule of law and respect to human rights

  • It has a charter of fundamental rights

  • Has become a powerful role model for other states and regional organisation

  • Exercises a great deal of persuasive power by development assistance and by developing strategies for conflict management for use around the world

Non-Government Organisations

  • One of the first NGOs was the Red Cross
  • The main activities of the red cross are to give humanitarian aid to victims of war and natural disasters, and to champion international humanitarian law
  • Have played an increasingly important part in world order since the end of the second world war
  • There are NGOs that specialise in world order issues by investigation, researching, educating policy makers and the public, and lobbying leaders to take action
  • e.g. International Crisis Group, which monitors 60 conflicts and potential conflict situations a year
  • The ICG sees its role as:
    • Supplying behind the scenes support and advice in peace negotiations - Giving highly detailed analysis on policy issues
    • Offering strategic thinking on the world’s most intractable conflicts
    • Giving an early warning when a security situation is becoming a full crisis - Strongly supportive of a multilateral, rules based approach to world order using the current structure of the UN and other international organisations.

Australia’s Federal Government

The Australian Constitution

  • Structure of Australia’s federal government has implications for Australia’s response to world order issues
  • Under s51 of the constitution, only the federal parliament has the power to make laws relating to external affairs
  • Only the federal government has the authority to enter into international treaties and agreements

The States and International Law

  • The federal government usually consults the states before signing an international agreement, but it is not obliged to do so
  • States can enact their own legislation that is in harmony with international agreements
  • For example, the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) corresponds the the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth)

Australia’s Role in Global Affairs

  • Australia’s massive contribution in the first world war was due to its obligations to the maintenance of the British empire, which it saw essential to global stability
  • Australia’s contribution to the war effort won it recognition as a nation state in its own right
Involvement in the UN
  • Signatory to the Genova Conventions and the Rome Statute
  • Undertaken many international obligations outside its multilateral agreement
  • Majority of treaties signed are bilateral
  • A number of Australians have served Australia with distinction on the International stage
    • Jessie Street - attended League of Nations assemblies and was the only woman in the Australian delegation to write the UN charter
    • Dr H V Evatt - elected President of the UN General Assembly in 1949
    • Richard Butler - head of the UN Special Commission
Contributions to Peacekeeping
  • Consistent involvement in the UN peacekeeping missions

  • Contributed either military forces or police to 54 peacekeeping forces

  • Australian military and federal police have continued to play a peacekeeping role in Timor-Leste

  • Engaging in peacekeeping efforts internationally outside of the UN

Political Negotiation Mechanisms

The Media
  • Enormous influence on world order - positive and negative
  • A free and unbiased media are an essential ingredient for the rule of law in the global sphere
  • No matter who owns the media and control their various aspects, the media today have a tremendous effect on how we view major events
  • Tendency to treat news as entertainment
  • Played a significant role in drawing the world’s attention to various disasters and political cases and have the potential to influence political leaders through public opinion


  • Persuaded to change their behaviour through the pressure of world public opinion

  • One of the main ways in which NGOs achieve their objectives

  • UN can also use this tactic through reports that it delivers on various issues and the deliberations of its human rights bodies

  • States can be encouraged to improve their behaviour by the prospect of

    membership of world organisations

  • Not always effective


  • The idea that force or the threat of force should not be in the norm in international relations is enshrined in the UN charter
  • However, the architects of the UN charter were realistic enough to realise that force would sometimes be used
  • Article 51 of the UN charter states that force can be used in self defence
  • Article 42 states that the UN Security Council can ‘take such action by air, sea or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security’

Contemporary Issues

  • The Responsibility to Protect is a new international security and human rights norm designed to address the international community’s repeated failure to prevent and stop mass atrocity crimes
  • The principle came about in response to the controversy that raged over whether the international community had the ‘right of humanitarian intervention’
  • Supporters argued that the security council could use its chapter VII powers to intervene
  • Opponents argued that article 2.7 of the UN charter did not permit humanitarian intervention
  • Responsibility to protect was aimed at bridging the gap between these two views of state sovereignty
  • The heads of state attended the World Summit in 2005 unanimously accepted the responsibility to protect
  • Adoption of this new doctrine represented an international commitment by states to prevent and react to grave crises, wherever they may occur
  • Places the onus on the states and international organisations to protect populations from mass atrocity crimes
  • Overwhelmingly, prevention is the key response to the doctrine, through measures such as building states’ capacity to safeguard human rights, remedying grievances and conforming to the rule of law
  • Responsibility to protect requires whatever measures are necessary to stop mass atrocity crimes, whether those measures are economic, political, diplomatic, legal, security or last resort, security
  • Responsibility to protect - engaging civil society

  • NGOs have taken up the cause of the responsibility to protect

  • In 2003, the world federalist movement institute for global policy launched the ‘responsibility to protect - engaging civil society’ project aiming to build support

  • The goals of this project were to engage civil society and educate other NGOs about the responsibility to protect

  • The goals of this project were to engage civil society and educate other NGOs about the responsibility to protect principles, in order to effectively lobby governments to respond promptly and appropriately to emerging humanitarian crisis

International Coalition for The Responsibility to Protect

  • In January 2009, another project was launched - the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
  • This effort is supported by a number of NGOs on how to form partnerships with other NGOs interested in joining and how to apply the norm to specific regions.


  • Framework that enables the two contradictory aspects of the UN charter to be reconciled

  • Some work remains in making it a useful mechanism for improving the international community’s response to crisis situations

  • There are a number of priorities associated with the principle, including:

    • Care should be taken in labelling conflicts responsibility to protect


    • Responsibility to protect is more about prevention and should not be

      focused narrowly on military action

    • The security council need to develop specific guidelines for when force is

      used in responsibility to protect situations. It needs to clarify the limits of military action

    • There needs to be the political will on behalf of world leaders to make the hard decisions

  • There needs to be the political will on behalf of world leaders to make the hard decisions

  • It remains to be seen how effective the security council will be in dealing with the question of military intervention when extreme cases warrant it

Regional and Global Situations

  • Nuclear weapons are the greatest threat to global peace and security

  • The detonation of only a few hundred would cause massive ecological damage to the rest of the world that was not targeted

  • Cold war came very close to being a nuclear war.

  • There have been a number of bilateral nuclear weapons treaties, and a few

    multilateral treaties to deal with the threat of nuclear war

  • The world has a long way to go before the threat of nuclear weapons has been removed

Bilateral Treaties
  • The thaw in relations between the two superpowers led to the most substantial progress in the area of nuclear disarmament since the beginning of the cold war

  • The UN did not have any role in this progress

  • 1991 - reduction began of their nuclear arsenals from 58 000 nuclear weapons, the total amount between the town countries is about 11 000 at present

  • 2002 - the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) was signed to

    encourage both states to reduce their nuclear weapons to between 1700 - 2000 each

  • 2010 - new start to agreement signed to include a reduction in deployed nuclear warheads to 1550 combined

Multilateral Treaties
  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty o utlined that countries lacking nuclear weapons promised not to develop them if the five nations that did possess them agreed to gradually reduce the number of weapons that they held
  • The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty entered into force in 2007 and banned the production of weapons-grade fissile material, eliminate nuclear weapons, support nuclear free zones and give security assurances to all nations
  • Multilateral cooperation to a hit at the 2005 world summit where there were high expectations that the world leaders would agree to strengthening the Non-Proliferation Treaty but nothing was achieved
  • Unless the world’s major powers show more political and moral commitment to the cause of nuclear disarmament, the non-proliferation treaty will collapse and possibly lead to an increase in nuclear proliferation
Case Study - North Korea and the NNPT

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is not effective as North Korea withdrew from the treaty as of 2003. Since their first nuclear test in 2006, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has adopted nine major sanctions resolutions on North Korea. The UNSC has also encouraged North Korea to return to negotiations in the Six-Party Talks, which aims for all nuclear states to have a joint denuclearization. Sovereignty, particularly North Korea’s, impedes on the universal attempt at denuclearization, to eliminate the threat of a worldwide nuclear catastrophe.

International Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission
  • Set up as a response to the slowed progress on non-proliferation arms control and disarmament
  • Sees its role as being a facilitator of informed public debate about the international effort to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction
  • Major achievement was the publication of its 2006 report weapons of terror: freeing the world of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons which included a detailed investigation of every conceivable aspect of achieving disarmament
The International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament and the NPT Review Conference
  • Set up by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who announced that the Australian government would take the lead in setting up a commission to investigate nuclear disarmament plans
  • Main goal of the commission was to develop tighter rules for the non-proliferation treaty when it came up for review in 2010
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
  • British NGO that aims to rid the world of nuclear weapons using nonviolent means
  • Advocates immediate negotiation that will lead to a rapid, timetabled abolition of nuclear forces worldwide


  • Elimination of threat is an enormous undertaking
  • The only effective way to address this issue is through multilateral cooperation
  • No single country can solve this problem

The success of global cooperation in achieving world order

Case Study - UN Intervention in Timor-Leste

Sidenote: The syllabus refers to this country as “East Timor”, but that’s just… incorrect. The country’s official English name is “The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste”, and given the history of Western governments overriding the will of the people in this region of the world, we’ve elected to use the correct name.

  • UN intervention in Timor-Leste in 1999 and following, is considered a successful example of global cooperation
  • In the case of Timor-Leste, the issues were the illegal invasion of Timor-Leste in 1975, the mass atrocity crimes committed during the 25 year Indonesian occupation and violence committed by pro-Indonesian militias in 1999
  • For years, Timor-Leste was a classic case of sovereignty being used as a barrier to impede the resolution of world order issues
  • It is estimated that over 100 000 people died as a result of Indonesian occupation
  • Reports of mass atrocities being committed against the Timor-Lesteese were defined but the Indonesian Authorities and calls for independent observers to assess the situation were rejected
  • After the Asian financial crisis in 1998, a UN sponsored referendum for the Timor-Lesteese on impedance was agreed to
  • However, due to the overwhelming support for independence, there was a violent backlash by pro-Indonesian supporters
  • With strong backing from the UN Security Council, the UN was able to stand up to the violence and guarantee Timor-Leste’s future security
  • The UN not only guided Timor-Leste to independence in 2002, but has continued nation building policies in the years since
UNSC Resolution to 1246
  • The Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1246, the ‘ballot to decide on special autonomy for Timor-Leste’
  • The United Nations mission in Timor-Leste was established
  • The deployment of 280 civilian police to act as advisors to the Indonesian police and 50 military liaison officers to keep the lines of communication open
  • However the Indonesians were unwilling to cooperate and hired men to sabotage the process
  • The men were highly ineffective
  • Under international law, the Indonesians still has sovereignty over Timor-Leste and the Security Council was not willing to authorise the use of military force
Violence and the Referendum
  • The Referendum UN ballot was organised for August 1999

  • Unarmed UN personnel worked courageously to administer the vote despite

    constant threats and harassment

  • On 3 September 1999, the result announced that 78.5% voted for independence

  • A violent reaction ensued

UNSC Resolution 1246
  • The matter of violence was disced in the Security Council
  • The Security Council adopted resolution 1246 which authorised the formation of INTERFET which was to be a UN peacekeeping force under Australian command
  • The Australian led multinational force was deployed within days
  • Humanitarian aid soon followed
  • Timor-Leste was successfully brought under control within a few weeks and the last Indonesian troops left on 1 November 1999
  • Decisive military action was hailed as an outstanding success for the UN, for Australia and also for global cooperation
  • - INTERFET was replaced by UNTAET (UN Transitional Administration in Timor-Leste)
  • Established to administer the territory, exercise legislative and executive authority during the transition period and help Timor-Leste to prepare for self government
  • Became an independent control on 20 May 2002
The Media
  • Able to broadcast real time film footage of murderous rampage as well as the lack of action by Indonesia officials
  • Highly influential in turning world opinion against the Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste and promoting decisive UN action
  • The killing of Australian journalists at Balibo by Indonesian troops in 1975 as caused much debate
Diplomatic Pressure
  • There was much communication between the UN and Indonesia in the weeks following the UN ballot, with the UN urging Indonesia outside intervention
  • US President Bill Clinton also pressed the Indonesian President to allow a UN intervention
  • Finally, the Indonesian government conceded NGO Expertise
  • Many NGOs are involved in Timor-Leste, working in a range of areas including improving education, health, women’s rights and housing
  • There are also NGOs working in the area of peace and security
  • The international crisis group assist the Timor-Leste government and the UN administration by producing reports on issues that are of vital importance to Timor-Leste’s future peace and security
  • Work by NGOs are indispensable for the long term success of nation building in Timor-Leste
UN Nation Building
  • The UN is using all its experience and expertise while also seeking out support globally to ensure that Timor-Leste finally makes the transition to a strong, economically sustainable nation state characterised by the rule of law
  • The UN Security Council passed a resolution in 2006 to shift the focus of the UN mission to nation building
Australian Aid
  • Australia has assisted in numerous ways including:
    • Providing $890 million in assistance between 1999 and 2000
    • Building partnerships with the World Bank and the UN to help with the coordination of development assistance - Training 800 police
    • Providing medical aid

If you think Australia is the good guy here, don’t. This entire exercise was an oil venture with the facade of peacekeeping.

Rules of War

  • The treaties that form the basis for international humanitarian law include the Hague Conventions, the Geneva Conventions and the Geneva Protocol
  • Countries had a mutual stake in agreeing to respect international humanitarian law
  • The international committee of the Red Cross’ main role to provide for assistance and protection to people in wartime is now mandated by international treaties and applies to all states.
  • The primary instruments governing international humanitarian law are the four Geneva Conventions covered the neutrality of ambulances, military hospitals and medical personnel, the provision that wounded prisoners of war, if incapable of serving, were to be returned to their home country and the use of the white flag with a red cross is a symbol for neutral medical units
  • The four Geneva conventions of 1949 specifically protect people who are not taking part in the conflict - civilians, medical personnel and aid workers, as well as those who are no longer participating
  • In 1977, two additional protocols were drafted to supplement the Geneva conventions
  • These agreements contain strict rules to deal with grave breaches
  • The context of the Geneva conventions is as follows
    • The First Geneva Convention 1949 protects wounded and sick soldiers on land during warm as well as medical and religious personnel
    • The Second Geneva Convention 1949 protects wounded, sick and shipwrecked personnel at sea during war. It also protects medical staff and hospital ships
    • The Third Geneva Convention 1949 protects prisoners of war. A central principle that prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated without delay after hostilities have ended
    • The Fourth Geneva Convention 1949 protects civilians, including those in occupied territory
  • The Additional Protocol I 1977 further strengthens protection for civilians in international conflict and bans the use of child soldiers
  • The Additional Protocol II 1977 further strengthens protection for civilians in intrastate conflict
  • The Additional Protocol III 2005 protects people working under any of the official symbol of the international Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
  • The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 govern other aspects of the conduct of war
  • Chief purpose was to prohibit the use of certain types of technology in war
  • In 1948, when the convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide was adopted, the general assembly asked the International Law Commission to develop a treaty establishing a court to hear and determine charges of genocide.

  • In the 1990s, ad hoc tribunals were established by the Security Council in response to mass killings.

  • In 2002, the International Criminal Court came into being under the Rome Statute.

  • Individuals can now be prosecuted at the ICC for war crimes under the Geneva conventions.

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross plays a significant role in educating the military forces of the world and the general public about the requirements of international humanitarian law
  • Undertakes extensive education programs in high schools around the world so that the next generation may be fully informed about international humanitarian laws
  • Acts as a neutral party and helps people on all sides of a conflict
  • It is the only organisation that has the right to free movement across battle lines in times of war
  • The following is a list of activities that the international committee of the Red Cross are constantly engaged in:
    • Visiting prison camps, internment camps or labour camps of both sides
    • Evaluating the conditions of prisoners of war held in detention
    • Providing food, medicine, clothes and blankets to those in need
    • Facilitating the exchange of information between people on both sides of the conflict about prisoners of war and mission persons


  • International humanitarian law plays an important role in the maintenance of the international rule of law, which in turn promotes world order
  • Rules regarding conduct of hostilities have evolved into a sophisticated branch of international law
  • International community has given this body universal jurisdiction and strengthened enforcement measures
  • The efforts of the international committee of the Red Cross have been effective and successful in its purpose

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