The Impending Collision Between The United States And The United Nations

The United Nations’ recent resolution condemning Israel could put the international body on a collision course with the United States

united states vs united nations

There might be a major conflict between the United States and the United Nations on the horizon. The United Nation’s recent resolution against the State of Israel, and the current Presidential administration’s role in getting that resolution passed is the prime cause of the impending conflict.

The United Nations recently passed a resolution that condemned Israel for building settlements in disputed territories. The resolution labeled Israel’s activities as illegal.

Under President Obama, the United States abstained from the vote for the first time in decades. Obama’s decision to abstain allowed the resolution to pass.

The reactions were quick and furious. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately recalled Israel’s ambassadors.

Currently, the Israeli government is reconsidering its relationships with the nations that voted for the resolution. Netanyahu has also accused the Obama administration of secretly pushing for the resolution.

Now, many in the United States congress are planning to take the conflict to the next level. If the Republican congress gets its way, the United States could partially, or totally defund the United Nations in an effort to protest the resolution.

The Reason For The Clash

After the United Nations voted to condemn Israeli settlements as illegal, both Republicans and Democrats objected. Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel called it “a one-sided, biased resolution.” Sen. Lindsey Graham went further, suggesting that United States should withhold funding from the United Nations.

This is a serious matter for the U.N. because United States funding makes up about 22% of the U.N.’s annual operating budget. Last week, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted his support for the Jewish state, urging its government to stay strong until his administration takes over.



How Might The United States Act Against The United Nations?

In the past, rumblings of the United States defunding of the United Nations have turned out to be idle threats. In this situation, it might be different. Three Republican senators have been working to determine how they can the threat a reality.

These senators include:

  • Ted Cruz (Texas)
  • Tom Cotton (Arkansas)
  • Mitch McConnell (Kentucky

Although most of the protests are coming from the Republicans, there are several Democrats who agree. Incoming Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to provide support for some type of punitive action against the United Nations.

What Options Are There?

There are several different ways the United States could retaliate against the United Nations. Some are smaller in scale, while others are more severe.

Here are some of the smaller options:

  • Passing a resolution that keeps U.S. funding from going towards implementing the anti-settlement resolution.
  • Withdrawing from U.N. organizations like UNESCO.
  • Passing laws that protect American settlers.

When it comes to withholding U.S. monetary contributions, this could be done in different ways. The U.S. has discretionary funds that it gives the U.N. These can be easily halted.

However, the majority of U.S. financial support is mandated by treaties that Congress has ratified. Reversing these treaties could be problematic. But it isn’t impossible.

Defunding The United Nations: Can It Happen?

As I stated previously, efforts to defund the U.N. have occurred in the past, but they never came to fruition. However, this latest development has come at a time when dissatisfaction with global institutions like the European Union is on the rise.

Additionally, there has been increasing frustration with the United Nations due to its tendency to disproportionately target Israel. Of the 24 critical resolutions that the United Nations passed in 2016, 20 resolutions were anti-Israel. 3 of these resolutions targeted Syria, North Korea, Crimea, and Iran.

Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations discussed the difficulty in the United States’ decision to abstain. She cited the U.N.’s bias against Israel as one of the factors that made the decision difficult.

“But in reality this vote for us was not straightforward, because of where it is taking place – at the United Nations. For the simple truth is that for as long as Israel has been a member of this institution, Israel has been treated differently from other nations at the United Nations.”

Trump’s overtures to the Israeli government, and his criticism of the U.N. could be indicators of his willingness to clash with the international body. If so, it could mark a beginning to the end of the relationship between the United States and the United Nations.

Sources: Washington Post, Salon