The United States joined the United Nations in 1945. Since that time, some have claimed that belonging the United Nations is unconstitutional. Conduct independent research on the United Nations and the United States’ role in being a part of that organization. Answer this question: How does America’s role in being a part of the United Nations line up with the Founding Principles given to you in class.
The United States has been the driving force behind the United Nations ever since the United Nations’ founding. It was rooted in the remains of the failed League of Nations and was made with corrections to the flaws that the League of Nations possessed. Since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the man that convinced other world leaders at the time such as Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin to join the United Nations, he viewed it as the crowning achievement of his political career. The UN’s charter was formed in the city of San Francisco, and the current UN headquarters is located in New York City, as well. The United States also floats a large majority of the United Nations’ expenses. Out of 193 member countries the United States pays the UN approximately eight billion dollars each year which is over twenty percent of the United Nations’ budget and well over the United States’ fair share. The United States’ holds a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council along with China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom and has held it ever since the forming of the UN. America plays a huge role in the United Nations from any perspective.
As far as the matter of the United States’ involvement with the United Nations being constitutional goes, the involvement is totally constitutional. Congress repeatedly passed resolutions declaring its support for the establishment of an international organization as well as the United States membership in said organization. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution states, “The President shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of Senators present concur.” This means that as long as the Senate can get a supermajority in favor for the proposed treaty, the President can make any treaty between the United States and any other country or countries. One down-side to the way we handle treaties is that any international agreement or accord automatically becomes part of US federal law unless it is directly inconsistent with the US Constitution in which case it becomes void under domestic US law. This stipulation means that the Supreme Court could deem an Article II treaty provision unconstitutional; however, the Supreme Court has never had to do that. Additionally Congress does have the power to modify or repeal any treaty even if it violates the treaty under international law.
While the United States’ involvement with the United Nations may be constitutional, it most definitely was not what the Founding Fathers had envisioned for America’s foreign policy. Thomas Jefferson said that exchanging mutual advantages by legislative acts by both countries was more favorable because whenever that exchange becomes too inconvenient for either country, it can be dropped by one country whereas treaties are irrevocable except by both countries agreeing. The common idea among our founders was the founding principle of just staying out of alliances and world affairs while still staying a prominent figure in the world through other means so that the United States could govern and control herself without having to worry about making her allies happy. In a time that was focused on the ongoing French Revolution, George Washington told the American people in his farewell address to stay out of any foreign affairs but to, “observe good faith and justice towards all Nations.” They wanted America to stay prominent not through binding and restrictive treaties with other nations but through its national character and commercial relations with foreign nations. In light of this vision that the founders had, the United Nations is the farthest thing from what the founders wanted for America, and America’s membership in it should be reconsidered.
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