The Trump administration is promising to reconsider America’s relationship with the United Nations, with the White House aiming to limit U.S. financial contributions to the global body, and to enact reforms.
In his first action suggesting a new approach to the international organization, President Donald Trump released a budget proposal Wednesday night that would reduce funding for U.N. peacekeeping operations and eliminate climate change programs.
Trump, before he was inaugurated, signaled a harder-line approach when he sharply criticized a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s construction of new settlements—a vote the Obama administration abstained from.
As president-elect, Trump questioned the effectiveness of the U.N., describing it as an outdated social club to which the U.S. contributes a disproportionate amount of money.
The United Nations has such great potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 26, 2016
“The U.S. has used extreme tough love in the past, and the U.N. could use tough love right now,” said Mark Lagon, a former foreign policy adviser to the late Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., who in the 1990s tried to withhold portions of U.S. dues to the U.N. in exchange for reforms.
“But what’s most important is being a constructive skeptic,” Lagon told The Daily Signal in an interview.
Lagon says he’s learned lessons from his experience with Helms, which ended with the North Carolina Republican’s partnering with then-Sen. Joe Biden D-Del., to pass legislation—signed by President Bill Clinton—restoring U.S. funding to the U.N. in exchange for a compromise on reforms.
“The U.S. is in a more convincing position to bring about reform if it fulfills its commitments,” Lagon said.