By Alistair Millar and Eric Rosand | March 3, 2017
In his first speech to Congress, President Donald Trump said that, “our foreign policy calls for a direct, robust and meaningful engagement with the world.” However, it is hard to tell how he intends to engage with the United Nations and other multilateral institutions that have been at the heart of America’s efforts in this regard for over 70 years. Depending on the day, speaker, and audience, the message seems to vary. Trump has questioned decades-long support for institutions like the UN and NATO and then Vice President Mike Pence tries to reassure our allies that U.S. support will continue, but not necessarily as business as usual. The criticisms levied at these institutions vary. They are constraining U.S. action. They have obsolete mandates, bloated bureaucracies filled with overpaid, unaccountable international civil servants. They allow diplomats to talk about rather than solve problems, or, in the case of the UN, enable political grandstanding to criticize Israel. Yet, none of these criticisms are unique to Trump. His predecessors, on both sides of the aisle, have voiced them at one time or another over the years.