Maybe Trump should leave the United Nations, too?

Published 03.09.2018 23:42

U.S. President Donald Trump despises international organizations, international law and diplomatic rules. He believes that a number of international cooperation platforms, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), NATO and the World Trade Organization (WTO), and international treaties, such as the Paris climate agreement, are pointless and harm American interests. That's the reason why he has either pulled the U.S. out of these platforms or threatens to do so.

It is impossible to force the U.S. to stay in a particular agreement or organization; and besides, those will continue to exist even if the U.S. leaves. They can adapt accordingly and continue to operate. Maybe it would even be preferable to keep the U.S. out these organizations, as Washington often uses its membership to block their actions. Most recently, the Trump administration announced that it will no longer fund the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The U.S. will stop sending money to the agency, not because the UNRWA, created in 1949, is inefficient. It is the exact opposite. One may indeed question the United Nations' activities with regard to Palestine, especially when one looks at the dreadful living conditions of the Palestinians. Defunding the UNRWA will only aggravate their situation.

Let's take the example of the Baqa'a refugee camp in Jordan. Established in the wake of the Six-Day War in 1967, the camp was built to provide 96 square meters of living space for every five people. Now the same space has to be used by 25 people. So, the present assistance work of the UNRWA is far from being sufficient already, and Trump will cut its resources even more.

The core of the problem is, of course, not about helping the refugees. The real solution would be to find a lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; however, Trump does not care about finding a solution acceptable to both sides. He, in fact, does not care about the Palestinians at all, which motivates his decision to stop helping the refugees.

It is obvious that countries like Jordan will now try to bridge any deficit to the agency's funding and to rally financial and political support for it. The logical outcome of this process is that the U.S. will, in the end, lose all leverage in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Supporting Israel unconditionally will only push Palestine to look for alternative and stronger allies. That's all.

Perhaps the U.S. has indeed decided to turn its back once and for all on the Palestinians. This is a policy choice, and every country is entitled to formulate its foreign policy. Of course, abandoning the Palestinians will not mean that the U.S. can now count on Israel 100 percent. In fact, the Trump administration is also harming the Israelis' long-term interests by taking such an action.

Now Jordan, the country that benefits the most from UNRWA assistance, will have hard time running refugee camps correctly; so, Trump's decision could potentially be destabilizing for this country. The point is, Jordan's stability is not only important for Jordanians, but also for Israelis. Besides, when Jordan turns to alternative sources for funding, the money will probably come from countries who are on bad terms with the U.S. and Israel. Has Trump considered the consequences of such a development?

He probably has not considered how long other powers will tolerate his attitude of blocking the activities of international organizations. He is in NATO but keeps threatening NATO members; he is in the WTO, but disrespects its rules; he is in the U.N., but does everything to make it dysfunctional. Maybe Trump's best decision would be to pull the U.S. out of the U.N. for good. There is no doubt many countries would wholeheartedly support the decision.

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