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U.S. Leadership in Strengthening Global Institutions Needed Now More than Ever

With the rise of nationalism around the world and the closing of sovereign borders in response to the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) pandemic, global institutions are under attack. News reports and commentators are questioning whether we are reaching the end of the post-world war global architecture created by the United States and its victorious allies to promote peaceful cooperation in resolving conflicts and addressing crises. 

An April 16th Washington Post headline, for example, declares: “Global institutions built for this moment are floundering.”  Ironically, at a time when our greatest challenges-- from pandemics to climate change to a worldwide recession-- are global in nature, it is the United States that has been leading the retreat. The present administration has withdrawn from UNESCO, the UN Human Rights Council, nuclear and trade agreements, and the Global Compact for Migration, given notice of withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, threatened to withdraw from the World Trade Organization and the Universal Postal Union (among others), cut off funding for The UN Population Fund, the UN Relief and Works Agency (and other support for Palestinian refugees), and the Northern Triangle, threatened to substantially reduce funding for the International Civil Aviation Organization, foreign aid, humanitarian assistance, and diplomacy. Withdrawal from the international community simply leaves space for China, which now heads four international organizations, and other countries that are less able to bring the technological innovation and aspirational values of a free society and economy. The US retreat preceded the Trump Administration as exemplified by the abysmal record of the US Senate in failing to ratify universally adopted international treaties, including those protecting the rights of women, children and the disabled...

Published on the UN Association of the United States of America website.


Ambassador Donald Bliss was the Permanent Representative of the United States on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), located in Montreal, Canada from 2006-2009.


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