On 3 January 2017, a bill known as the American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017 was introduced to U.S. Congress. The bill aims to repeal the United Nations Participation Act of 1945 and other related laws. More specifically, it requires the President to terminate U.S. membership in the United Nations (U.N.), including any organ, specialised agency, commission, or other formally affiliated body, and to close the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. In addition, it prohibits the authorisation of funds for the U.S. assessed or voluntary contribution to the U.N., the authorisation of funds for any U.S. contribution to any U.N. military or peacekeeping operation, the expenditure of funds to support the participation of U.S. Armed Forces as part of any U.N. military or peacekeeping operation, U.S. Armed Forces from serving under U.N. command, and diplomatic immunity for U.N. officers or employees.
This bill is an alarming development. It has not yet passed, and would, if passed, come into effect two years after passing into law.
Daniel Warner, a Political Scientist at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, is concerned.
He expresses his pessimism on his blog at the newspaper Tribune de Genève. He points out that the same congressman who introduced this bill, Republican Rand Paul, introduced a similar bill in 2015. The difference this time is the bill fits with the tenor of a Trump administration. Warner also points to comments Rand made in 2015. He said “I dislike paying for something that two-bit Third World countries with no freedom attack us and complain about the United States. There’s a lot of reasons why I don’t like the U.N., and I think I’d be happy to dissolve it.”
Daniel Warner asks: does the introduction of the bill matter? According to him, for International Geneva, it certainly does. “While the United States might not withdraw from the U.N., the negative attitude of the current administration towards multilateralism and multilateral organizations will have obvious negative consequences for International Geneva, sometimes called “The Rome of Multilateralism.” Even with U.S. participation, the international system will lack United States leadership during the Trump presidency”, he says.