The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm this week’s nominee for ambassador to the United Nations by President Joe Biden, a significant move in the administration’s push to pursue a multilateral foreign policy strategy and mend Washington’s relationship with the international body.
While the country has held an outsized position at the UN since its establishment in 1945 as the largest financial donor to the New York City-based body, during the term of former President Donald Trump, ties decreased to a low point.
But, according to Alanna O’Malley, chair of United Nations Studies in Peace and Justice at Leiden University in the Netherlands, the US government’s closeness to the UN has traditionally ‘waxed and waned’ at the will of domestic politics, especially over the past 10 to 15 years.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s candidate, will join a UN that has seen four years of ‘weak ties’ with the US under Trump, but O’Malley said the UN had already started to see a move away from US leadership under former President Barack Obama, Biden’s former boss.
“What we saw most recently, with Trump of course, but also with Obama, was this kind of turn away from this impression of the United States as leading the liberal world order through the UN,” O’Malley told Al Jazeera.
Although Biden has begun to reset many of the UN-related Trump-era acts, “it remains to be seen whether or not he plays a fundamentally different role in framing US global leadership through the United Nations,” she added.