The Case for U.S. Withdrawal from the United Nations

Photo: Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.5

While some may wish to remain in the United Nations and overhaul the organization from within, there is a solid case to be made for a U.S. withdrawal. The UN is expensive, ineffective, and impedes U.S. foreign policy objectives, and threatens U.S. sovereignty.

In 2021, the most recent fiscal year with full data available, the United States contributed $12.5 billion to the UN, accounting for roughly 25% of the UN’s total $50 billion budget.

The United States conceived of the UN, was instrumental in its inception, and is the single largest donor, but still receives exactly one vote, the same as Albania, Belize, or China. Regarding peacekeeping efforts, the U.S. foots about 28% of the bill.

Beyond financial support, the U.S. also provides peacekeeping missions with logistics and infrastructure, intelligence sharing, communications, use of satellites, as well as training and capacity building.

The UN has proved itself ineffective in achieving its stated objectives. It has consistently failed to prevent or resolve major conflicts, as evidenced by ongoing crises in regions like Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, and Darfur.

Some conflicts, such as the Kashmir Dispute (1948-present), Somali Civil War (1991-present), and South Sudan Civil War (2013-present), have persisted for decades.

Even in situations where the UN touts success, such as in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mali, security often deteriorates once peacekeepers depart. It appears that, at best, UN troops can offer only temporary and partial relief, falling short of comprehensive resolution.

Another aspect of U.N. failure lies in the veto powers wielded by Russia and China within the Security Council. These powers have effectively paralyzed the UN’s ability to intervene in the abuses committed by Moscow and Beijing.

Furthermore, they have hindered the imposition of sanctions against North Korea and prevented UN intervention in other conflicts and instances of genocide, such as the ongoing military atrocities in Myanmar spanning over 70 years.

Human Rights Council issues make the UN almost laughable. The Council’s rotating membership has included notorious states such as Saudi Arabia, China, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Bahrain, Eritrea, Russia, Somalia, and Venezuela.

Many of these nations are governed by authoritarian regimes known for their suppression of political dissent domestically, undermining of democratic processes, often through attacks on or expulsion of international organizations.

These countries have consistently violated human rights with impunity, resorting to arbitrary arrests, torture, and other forms of repression without facing international consequences.

China, for instance, faces accusations of genocide in Xinjiang and cultural genocide in Tibet and Inner Mongolia, while Russia’s actions include domestic repression of press freedom, freedom of speech, religion, and dissent, along with extraterritorial assassinations of regime critics and the illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Given this track record, it seems absurd that these nations should hold seats on the Human Rights Council, especially considering that the United States contributes to its funding.

The UN is often viewed as biased against the United States and its interests for several reasons. Firstly, there is an expectation that the U.S. will intervene in and financially support every global issue brought to the UN’s attention.

However, many of these matters may not align with or even relate to America’s national interests, and it would be better for the U.S. to abstain from involvement.

Instead, by being sucked into participation, the U.S. can find itself embroiled in conflicts that it would prefer to avoid, leaving it vulnerable to criticism for not addressing these issues according to other nations’ expectations.

Secondly, the United States stands out as one of the wealthiest nations represented in the UN. With only 13% of the world’s population earning above $600 per month, UN policies focused on equity and wealth equality, emphasize transferring resources from American taxpayers to less affluent countries.

In addition to foreign policy concerns, the United Nations poses a threat to U.S. sovereignty by seeking to impose mandates on domestic policies and laws of member states.

The UN advocates for international laws and norms that often clash with those upheld by the United States. For instance, the World Health Organization’s emphasis on “sexual and reproductive health rights” translates to abortion and gender reassignment surgeries, which diverge from U.S. values and legal framework.

The U.S. defines human liberties differently than the U.N. and maintains very high standards for freedom of speech, press, and religion.

In the U.S., the concept of human liberties is best expressed by John F. Kennedy, “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of almighty God.” Kennedy’s public invocation of “GOD” in conjunction with government, laws, policies, and rights reflects the deeply ingrained belief in the United States that human liberties are inherently bestowed, not subject to international consensus.

And lastly, the organization’s name itself, the United Nations, is a misnomer. While it implies unity among nations, the reality is that these nations are not united. However, it also conjures visions of a dystopian future where such unity exists, and where a singular governing body dictates rules and rights for the entire world.

The mainstream media vilifies conservatives who support a U.S. withdrawal from the U.N., but given the disadvantages of remaining a member, the idea of the U.S. leaving the U.N. seems to warrant rational discussion.

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