UN Relations in the Trump Era

At the United Nations Headquarters in New York on November 8th, a Trump Presidency seemed improbable. The election of Donald Trump may alter that reality and pose grave challenges to the core principles of the most important institution in modern history. Trump has made statements that directly undermine all the core missions of the United Nations. The UN Charter, now 71 years old, states that the organization was created for three reasons: to promote international peace and security, to ensure economic development, and to protect and promote human rights. Trump’s positions contradict each of these founding principles. On international peace and security, the UN’s principal body is the Security Council. As a permanent member of the Security Council, the United States holds a veto, along with Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom. Trump has famously declared his admiration of and willingness to work closely with Russian president Vladimir Putin. While on the surface better relations with Russia might alleviate the logjam currently facing the Council on many issues, when one probes more deeply, this alignment will pose significant threats to international peace and security. The most prominent item on the Council’s agenda currently is Syria. Putin’s aggressive support of the Assad regime, now likely to be supported by a Trump administration, will mean an end to any meaningful role for the United Nations and the likely continuation of fighting. Within hours of Trump and Putin speaking for the first time after the election, Russia launched intensive air strikes from an aircraft carrier on rebels in eastern Aleppo. Meanwhile, President Assad welcomed Trump as a “natural ally” in the fight against terrorism, something he never would have said about Hillary Clinton. ISIS will use all this as a recruiting tool, and the few moderate Syrian rebels left will almost certainly be driven into the arms of ISIS. A total military victory by the Assad/Russia/Hezbollah/Iran coalition in Syria will dramatically increase the threat of terrorism in the region, Europe, and elsewhere, as disenfranchised and marginalized Sunnis will not go quietly. Trump’s appointment of retired general Michael Flynn as his national security advisor, a post that does not require Senate confirmation, will give ISIS recruiters plenty of fodder for their efforts. Flynn has stated that Islam is “a cancer” and “a political ideology” that “definitely hides behind being a religion.” Ironically, by supporting Putin on Syria, Trump will also be helping Iran…

Source: Diplomatic Courier

UN Relations in the Trump Era

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