The Inability of a League of Free and Democratic Nations to Secure World Peace

The idea that nations coming together in a forum where they could meet, work out issues, and through the collective pressure of that body or forum, enforce peace in the world, is one that has been promulgated by idealists who believe that somehow the league, in and of itself, will overcome the national ambitions and perceived self-interests of the various countries that subscribe to the process, and that they will naturally agree with one another as to the need and subscribe to the ability to exercise collective force against any party that does not maintain the peace.  President Woodrow Wilson was a major proponent of the League of Nations after the conclusion of the First World War, but in the end, he could not even achieve support from the United States Congress, much less find agreement throughout the rest of the world.  After the second world war, the United Nations was developed and it encompasses close to 200 countries, in a general assembly, but once again, the self-interest of the parties, the military and economic power of certain member countries, and the existence of a veto which prevents action on serious issues even when a large majority of the Security Council are in agreement with that action, are just a few of the factual circumstances that prove that this is not a magical solution to the issues of conflict in the world.  The vested self-interests still play in this forum and there is no enforcement mechanism possible to bring recalcitrant players into line.

Sri Aurobindo notes:  “One thing is perfectly sure that the new league would go the way of the old; it would break up as soon as the interests and ambitions of the constituent Powers became sufficiently disunited or a new situation arose such as was created by the violent resurgence of oppressed democracy in 1848 (n.b. challenging Metternich’s Concert of Europe program) or such as would be created by the inevitable future duel between the young Titan, Socialism, and the old Olympian gods of a bourgeois-democratic world.”

“One cause or the other or both together would bring a certain dissolution.  No voluntary league can be permanent in its nature.  The ideas which supported it, change; the interests which made it possible and effective become fatally modified or obsolete.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 24, The Need of Military Unification, pg  208