(The latest version of this page is at Pattern Descriptions. An archived copy of this page is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition02/6661.htm)
Global politics have been evolving since the Second World War along collaborative lines, centred on the UN. The UN Charter sets out its aims:
“WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
AND FOR THESE ENDS
to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors, and
to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,
HAVE RESOLVED TO COMBINE OUR EFFORTS
TO ACCOMPLISH THESE AIMS.” 
In the terminology of this book, its goals are in different categories:
· The “economic and social advancement” requires the use of economic power to help developing countries (3.5.8), using funds transferred to the UN in the form of membership contributions.
· Its international security role is divided between the Legal Dimension, where Security Council Resolutions are considered to be legally binding, and its role in the Political Dimension, where it can use its influence to act as an arbitrator. Its status as a law-giver, though, has been politicised (184.108.40.206).
The overall character of the UN is political: representatives of the member countries, acting on behalf of their populations, negotiate with each other to make decisions which affect all the dimensions of international governance. In practice, there have been problems in the way it operates – as described below (220.127.116.11).
© PatternsofPower.org, 2014
 The UN Charter was available in May 2014 at http://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/CTC/uncharter.pdf.