Since U.S. President Donald Trump made his debut at the United Nations a year ago pushing an “America First” policy, he has quit the Iran nuclear deal, the U.N. Human Rights Council and lashed out at some of the closest allies of the United States.
Next week at the U.N., Trump plans to stay on message, touting his drive to protect U.S. sovereignty before world leaders, some of them worried about America’s commitment to the multilateralism that has governed the United Nations since the end of World War Two.
|U.S. President Donald Trump.
“It is not saying multilateralism can’t work. But it’s saying sovereignty is a priority over all of that,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said in describing Trump’s address on Tuesday at the annual U.N. General Assembly.
“All of these things that we felt like were mandating things on the United States, those aren’t things we want to be involved in,” she said, citing the Paris climate agreement Trump pulled out of in 2017 and global talks on a migration pact that Washington quit before they started.
In the past year, the United States has also left the U.N. cultural agency, cut funding for the U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees and sparked a trade war with China. At the NATO summit in July, Trump threatened that the United States would “go its own way” if members did not spend more on defense.
Trump is now surrounded by hawkish advisers more in tune with his world view, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, after the departure of their “globalist” predecessors Rex Tillerson and H.R. McMaster, along with former White House economic adviser Gary Cohn.
While some leaders and diplomats have voiced concern about the future of multilateralism since Trump took office in January last year, they rarely name and shame.