By Ryan Guerra, UNANCA Staff
A Look at the Foreign Policies of the 2016 Presidential Election is a three-part series covering the major party platforms. Check back in next week for a post on the DNC, covering the Democratic ticket and how candidates on that side of the aisle view the UN and international community.
Presidential hopefuls’ opinions on the United Nations are very important to investigate during a major Presidential election. Their foreign policy dictates how the United States interacts with the international community for the next four to eight years. Although the United Nations often takes a back seat to general American foreign policy, I believe that it is important to analyze foreign policy through the eyes of the United Nations.
Sharp political tactics with poignant political quips started this election cycle off like no other. It surprised some people when the Republican Primary was filled to the brim with candidates, and even more when real estate mogul Donald Trump emerged as the front-runner. This week, Donald Trump accepted the nomination at the Republican National Convention and has launched his campaign with Governor Mike Pence of Indiana as his running mate. While Trump brings up many issues worth discussing, one that is rarely explored is his isolationist approach to foreign policy and the United Nations.
Trump has shown in many cases that he would move the United States towards a policy that would pull it off the global stage. He has called for an exit from NATO and during a speech in April, Trump made about the United Nations.
“It’s just like a political game. The United Nations – I mean the money we spend on the United Nations.”
As President, Trump would lead the country into an era of isolationism that would move us in a new direction; away from the United Nations. Trump has condemned the United Nations, calling it “not a friend of democracy” and “not a friend to freedom.” Although he has also previously made an offer to save the UN “1 billion dollars” by renovating the UN Headquarters in New York City, even going so far as to propose his help to then Secretary-General Kofi Annan, he has also been enormously critical of the UN for what he feels is its ineffectual efforts to help change the world.
On the other half of the ticket, Mike Pence has voted three times to withhold funding from the United Nations unless certain reforms were made in favor of the United States. This has helped to foster the idea that the Trump-Pence ticket is one of and the international community second.
It is also worth mentioning that the new Republican Party platform makes a statement regarding the United Nations saying that Republicans believe our continued participation in the UN should be contingent on changes in the way the institution works. However, this platform suggests that while the Trump-Pence position has some sort of backing from the Republican Party as a whole, they clearly suggest that they are more open to working with the UN than is necessarily vocalized by the Trump campaign.
The United Nations was formed to promote peace and fight for Human Rights around the world. The UN Human Rights Council has passed many resolutions protecting the human rights of everyone and working towards a greater equality. While it absolutely requires reforms, especially within the Security Council, the United Nations has made large strides toward helping millions of people around the world, and U.S. funding is essential to implementing successful UN peacekeeping operations and other global missions. This is a reciprocal relationship, and the United States is better off in the United Nations working toward the greater good of society.