U.S. President Donald Trump’s battle with the multilateral system just got real. For the first four months of his presidency, Trump fought a phony war with the United Nations and other international institutions. On the campaign trail and in the wake of his election victory, he had condemned the U.N. as lazy, impotent and anti-American. From its first week in office, his administration threatened major financial cuts to international institutions and aid projects.
But there was more bark than bite. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., calmed foreign diplomats’ fears by taking a rational and collegial approach to negotiations. Mainstream Republican congressmen signaled that they would tone down the administration’s most vicious budgetary proposals.
Listen to Richard Gowan discuss this article on WPR's Trend Lines Podcast. His audio begins at 22:26: