There are some that would accuse the United Nations of being ineffective or—as researcher Scott Pauls puts it—simply "a witness of changing policy preferences" in the world. But that's far from the case, according to a study of 65 years of UN voting records published in Physica A. Those records show the UN successfully reduces the chance of war. "The evidence demonstrates that the UN is more effective at achieving its mandate of avoiding wars than many experts think," researcher Skyler Cranmer says in a press release.
The researchers from Dartmouth College and Ohio State University looked at voting alliances in the UN—both large and small, long-term and short-term—called "affinity communities." Pauls says such voting alliances served to "reduce the probability of conflict" during the past 65 years. "There is more nuance in voting records than was previously thought," Cranmer adds. The study also looked at the UN's effectiveness in spreading democracy and building defensive alliances. (With UN forces packing up, Haiti prepares to have its first army in more than 20 years.)