I believe that the UN has spectacularly failed to uphold it's raison d'être. If good intentions pave the way to hell, the UN have managed to pave a highway!
It is not the first time that an organisation with good intentions has metamorphosed into something other than that for which it was conceived. There are numerous other guilty parties including Communism and NATO. However, unlike the others, the UN promised peace and security, the two fundamental blocks by which a society or country succeeds by. The proof of the failure are the conflicts and political turmoil of the last few decades.
Based in New York, the ostentatious UN building and its occupants have either forgotten or choose to ignore the ideals on which it was built. The UN no longer (if ever) serves a purpose. If anything, it hinders progress, aid and the principles on which it was founded, all the while costing the taxpayer a lot of money.
Recent political and humanitarian upheavals in Africa and the Middle East have highlighted the impotence of the UN and the fact that it has become an obstacle in the way of peace and security. The ongoing debacle in Libya, the refusal to acknowledge the humanitarian issues in Syria and Yemen all point to an UN that is locked down by political one-up-manship and separate international alliances. For weeks now, the government in Syria has been (reportedly) systematically killing peaceful protestors yet nothing has been done about it. The UN hasn't even been able to agree sanctions against the country and its President, Bashar al-Assad. The British and French representatives are hoping to present a proposal this weekend and have been trying to garner votes from the other permanent members whilst also hoping that Russia, who have historic ties with Syria, don't veto them!
So, the maintenance of peace and security is ok as long as enough votes are obtained and no permanent member uses their right to veto? How anyone can see this as a viable organisation is difficult to fathom.
Sanctions against a country or individual is the least effective method of curtailing their actions. The UN does have the ability to send 'peace-keepers'. These are soldiers from the member states, sent into the troubled country in order to maintain peace and security. In other words, inserting foreign troops, under the flag of the UN, to watch and be able to do nothing to stop whatever atrocities are happening. Something I have experienced first hand when I was deployed as part of the peace-keeping mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995. It doesn't work. All it does is place additional people in danger as they watch on with horror and the inability to intervene.
Bosnia isn't the only debacle the UN have deployed troops to. There was Rwanda in the early 90s and, if I remember correctly (I was there too), that didn't turn out too well either. There was Sierra Leone in 1999/2000 (I was there at that one, as well, but not as a member of the UN) where the peacekeepers the UN had sent refused to get off the plane as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) members would chop them up and leave their body parts dangling on the trees.
All of these incidents and more have proved that the UN is considered impotent and toothless. During all of those incidents, the UN sent soldiers into harms way without any clear plan of what they were trying to achieve. Even to this day, the UN procrastinates and haggles while people are dying in the streets, all the while, they are safe in their luxurious New York building enjoying the lifestyle the UN has given them.
Enough is enough. The UN has had numerous opportunities with which to prove itself as a viable organisation. In each and every incident, the UN made no difference at all and in some managed to put even more lives in danger. The UN has become another platform with which politics and political might has had the opportunity to haggle and argue like fishwives during market day. The UN consistently fail to identify issues and head them off, preferring to sit on the sidelines and watch as hundreds of innocent people die and countries are torn apart. The UN sucks in money from nations that can no longer afford to pay for an organisation that is impotent and time wasting. The UN is no longer (if it ever was) a viable and productive organisation.
The United Nations was a great idea, but then again, so was communism. It just doesn't work. Communism failed because people can never truly be equal, that is just human nature. The UN will never work because political intrigue is more profitable than peace. When you gather politicians from different countries, no matter what you say, their own political agendas will rule them. From the outset, the UN was doomed to failure but we refuse to admit it. It's the ideals that keep it alive and the people who profess to support those ideals that have killed it.