The Great Power Competition within the United Nations


Great power is a nation with the ability to not only exert its power and influence within its territories but also beyond to others. Such countries possess military, economic, and significant political force, which in most cases causes less powerful nations to follow their opinion before taking action. According to International relation theorist, great power can majorly be considered in terms of spatial aspects, status dimensions, and power capabilities.

Some nations are widely considered to be great powers. However, such countries have no definitive aspect of being viewed as such. At times, the status of great powers is considered in conferences such as the Congress of Vienna or the United Nations Security Council.

UN Main Organs and Loop Hole for Great Power Competition.

There are six main organs to the United Nations system, 15 specialized agencies, 27 departments and offices, and other programs, bodies, and funds. The security council is the most influential body. Primarily it is responsible for maintaining international peace and security by overseeing ongoing UN peacekeeping operations and responding to the crisis around the world. The council consists of 15 members: 10 non-permanent rotating members and 5 permanent members (the P5-France, Russia, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom). The permanent members were determined after World War II at the time of UN founding. The UN general assembly elects the non-permanent members after a period of two-years. A council resolution is only approved if and only if it secures nine “YES” votes and avoid a veto by any of the permanent members.


United Nations and The Security Council

Many mistakes the United Nations and the Security Council. They forget that the UN is a complex web of agencies and institutions that go beyond security and peace issues. The UN assists 70n million refugees, vaccinates 45% of children in the world, and provides food to 80 million people around the world. Agencies such as The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) fall under the UN system. Did you know that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group are part of UN specialized agencies?

The WHO works with 194 member states to combat communicable and non-communicable diseases. The WHO and its director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, have faced criticism due to their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Critics tie their slow-reaction to declare covid-19 an epidemic to the trusting of the Chinese government’s dubious report of the virus. Was there something behind the curtain?

Can all this be tired to great power competition between the two permanent members (China and the United States)?

China’s Great Share in United Nations.

China has a fair share of the UN significant agencies. It holds the top job at the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This body has the power to say who controls what airspace and decides global flight paths. In 2019, China ran an effective campaign to win a position at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).  It also holds the top position in the UN International Telecommunication Union and UN Industrial Organization. These agencies promote industrial development for poverty eradication, environmental sustainability, and inclusive globalization. Surprisingly, other permanent members combined hold some positions in specialized agencies. Should this create a worrying trend, especially after China has been seen stepping up its contribution to the UN?

We must recognize that China is a permanent member of the Human Rights Council and the security council. China’s vetoes focus on its materials and economic interest within the security council. They usually abstain from resolutions that hurt its strategic interests or sanctions imposed on its trade partners. This act is clear when it comes to Taiwan. China increased its funds to the UN peacekeeping operations after President Trump cut the United States contribution by 3%. China contributes the most compared to any of the permanent members, and she has committed to a 10-year plan.

China Misused Power Positions.

China’s growth in UN peacekeeping is massive, while the United States cuts its contribution. What is it China sees that the United States doesn’t? Is the enormous contribution of a good plan to save the world? The funds target specific interests in the African Union.

China might be planning to weaken the Human Rights Council to protect itself, especially now that the United States has left. They have more influence like never before. They have proposed several resolutions that focus on quiet dialogue and sovereignty instead of international call to action and investigations.

In the 2019 UN General Assembly, China was fated for the dreadful treatment of Uighurs and other Muslims. It is said that China has been committing crimes against Humanity for years. China has been harvesting organs from living prisoners, Uighur minority groups, and banned the religious group as the Falun Gong and selling. You might wonder whether this is true for one to do such an inhuman act. Testimony from victims and evidence of extremely low donor wait for organs in the hospital can give you a little light into the bizarre story. Where are we headed to as the human race? Is power still powerful when our fellow humans are suffering?




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