President-elect Donald Trump has issued a thinly disguised threat to the United Nations. Writing on Twitter, Trump criticized the UN and implied it had become obsolete. Trump’s attitude to the UN could have serious consequences.
Trump tweeted that the UN had ‘such great potential’ but now it had become something different. He claimed the UN “right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad.” Attacking the UN will be deeply resented among many world governments.
Trump suggested that once he becomes president, America’s attitude to the United Nations could change drastically. “As to the UN, things will be different after January 20th,” Trump tweeted, leading many to worry about his intentions.
The criticism of the UN comes after a Security Council vote ordering Israel to remove illegal settlements in the Palestinian Territories. The United States abstained from the vote, though it had vetoed similar moves in the past. Israel’s government and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, strongly condemned the UN decision and made similarly vague threats.
The possibility that a Donald Trump administration could undercut or even leave the United Nations is a terrifying prospect for many countries. The UN’s predecessor organisation, the League of Nations, failed partly because the US didn’t join it and partly because major plays left. Hitler’s Germany famously left the League of Nations and pursued a nationalist agenda.
Attacking the UN may be the most dangerous thing Trump has done so far. The international system is far from effective but the UN relies on American support to do its work. Without the US, the whole organisation could collapse.