Reacting to the UN’s recent resolution condemning Israel for its continued occupation and settlements in the West Bank, Mr. Trump immediately tweeted his rather reduced view of the United Nations, calling it a ‘club where people talk’. If that were not enough to show once again his utter ignorance of the world he lives in, T apparently also thought that the idea to ‘leave’ the UN was not an entirely bad one. Nobody seems to have told him that there is one major problem with this idea: The USA cannot leave the UN. Nope. They can’t. No, not after January 20th. No, not even with a referendum. No, not even if California secedes and the US descend into civil war. No. Simply: no.
Imagine UN membership like citizenship of a country. You can rail against the state, you can jump up and down, you can crash your explosive loaded truck into a government building like Tim McVeigh did and be hanged for it, but you will remain a US citizen. Well, the UN is the same: the US can jump up and down, they can rail against the UN, they can smash their most vicious right-winger against its edifices… the USA will remain member of the UN. Their seat in the UN would remain empty, if they chose not to attend meetings, yes, but nobody would screw the chair from the General Assembly or Security Council floor. Every sovereign state of this world is automatically member of the United Nations. And the United Nations, someone should tell T, was actually founded by the USA. With an international treaty. Signed, ratified, done…a long, long time ago.
Of course, the USA can decide to stay away. No representative, no attendance at General Assembly or Security Council sessions. But even T might understand that that’s not really a smart thing to do. The Soviet Union tried that in 1949. They thought ‘Hey, that’s just a club where capitalists talk, let’s not bother going there’ and then the General Assembly voted a resolution authorizing military action in Korea in its absence. The Soviet Union paid a high political and economic price for the Korea War. And guess what? The Soviet Union never again missed one single day of General Assembly or Security Council meetings.
The USA can also stop paying for its membership and maybe, if it is too outrageous in its snobbery, get its voting rights suspended — although to be fair that never happened even when Republican dominated Congress voted for years and years not to pay their dues to the UN. But then the US will still be member of the UN. Because the UN is exactly not some club where non-paying members get expelled. And of course, the outstanding membership fees remain on tab until a more reasonable Congress votes to pay them, or part of them at least.
So, no, sorry T, the USA cannot leave the UN. And that might be a greater pity for the world than for the USA.