If the United States Leaves the U.N.

On Jan. 3, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) sponsored the American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017. The Act passed on to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The bill proposes that the United States leave the U.N. by means of cutting funding and eliminating its host site. Discussed below are five striking things that could happen if the United States leaves the UN.

If the United States Leaves the UN…

  1. It could create complicated diplomatic relationships.
    If the United States leaves the U.N., it faces the threat of harsh sanctions and hostile relations. The proposed bill would repeal the United Nations Participation Act of 1945.  The repeal would revoke the United States’ veto and seat as one of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. The U.S. would be effectively surrendering its right to participate in negotiations.
    Not to mention, as far as diplomacy goes, it’s far easier to negotiate when the majority of world players are set on one stage, rather than conducting individual consultation. It would make the processes of coalition building and diplomacy drastically more complicated and expensive.
  2. It could undermine the authority of the U.N.
    If the United States leaves the U.N., the agency will continue to exist as a much weaker entity with limited authority abroad. The U.N. was created as a multilateral organization meant to promote international cooperation. If its initial champion, the nation that has hosted the institution’s headquarters from its beginning, was to withdraw, it would create a precedent that erodes the principles on which the U.N. was founded.
  3. It could decrease funding for the U.N. and its various programs.
    The United States is the U.N.’s single largest contributor. It funds approximately 22% of the primary budget and 28% of peacekeeping operations. A U.S. departure would cause a financial crisis within the U.N. that would, in turn, prompt massive cuts. The cuts would be similar to those experienced after the U.S. cut funding to UNESCO in 2011 following the agency’s incorporation of Palestine.
  4. It could debilitate American interests abroad.
    Assuming cuts are necessary if the United States leaves the U.N., the first will likely be made to programs in which the U.S. has invested copious amounts of time, effort and money. Representation of American interests will falter abroad. The perception that the U.S. has failed to heed global concerns will grow.
  5. It could pave the way for a new world power and, with it, a new humanitarian agenda.
    If the United States were to pull its funding from the U.N., it would equip other countries to parallel its benefaction. These countries would gain the power and influence American diplomacy has historically maintained within the platform.

The passage of this act would have far-reaching implications, with the potential not only to diminish the positive impact of U.S. resources around the world but to realign the global dynamics of influence, decision-making and reputation.

Jaime Viens

Photo: Flickr