Four Policemen

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"The Four Policemen" was a term coined by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to refer to four major Allies of World War II and founders of the United Nations (UN): the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, and Republic of China.

Roosevelt's phrase symbolized his conception of the post-World War II world, though the idea would not come to fruition until the establishment of the UN,[1] which emerged following the Declaration by United Nations of January 1, 1942. In the words of a former Undersecretary General of the UN, Sir Brian Urquhart:

It was a pragmatic system based on the primacy of the strong — a "trusteeship of the powerful," as he then called it, or, as he put it later, "the Four Policemen." The concept was, as [Senator Arthur H.] Vandenberg noted in his diary in April 1944, "anything but a wild-eyed internationalist dream of a world state.... It is based virtually on a four-power alliance." Eventually this proved to be both the potential strength and the actual weakness of the future UN, an organization theoretically based on a concert of great powers whose own mutual hostility, as it turned out, was itself the greatest potential threat to world peace.[1]

Each of the Four Policemen was to maintain order in its respective sphere: Britain in its empire and in Western Europe; the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe and the central Eurasian landmass; China in East Asia and the Western Pacific; and the United States in the Western Hemisphere.

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  1. ^ a b Urquhart, Brian. Looking for the Sheriff. New York Review of Books, July 16, 1998.