The relationship between UNESCO and US Government has been tumultuous since they were reinstated following Ronald Reagan’s Government withdrawal. The Donald Trump Government looks to have severed the relationship once and for all following disputes that mainly concerns the Israel policy. US severed all monetary ties in 2011 when it cut the funding of the organization. The Government has cited organizational reforms, and the constant conflict of interest regarding Israel as major reasons. US Foreign Policy nullifies UNESCO, which made it easier for the Trump Government to pull out.
UNESCO’s extreme politicizing could be seen as another deal breaker. UNESCO was the organizational way of promoting education, culture, and science post the traumatic World War II era. The US Government has time and again voiced its opinion and stamped its authority in any major decision making. However, the infusion of more countries post 80s’ made it tougher for them to turn the tide in their way. The Trump Administration has added another dimension to it as it stated that US would be providing expertise and perspective, but as a non-member. This hints at a possible 180-degree turn that could happen before the end of 2018, i.e. when the deadline is set.
UNESCO’s Director General, Irina Bokova expressed her disappointment and said that the organization and US have worked on the same goals and universality is the strength of UNESCO. The budget arrears were stated as problems that could have been fixed by communicative means. Pundits have referred to this as the 1984 Déjà Vu, where Reagan Government pulled out because of the balance being tilted on the Soviet side. This could be looked from another angle; the Trump Government has time and again expressed their sentiments towards the policies formed and implicated during Obama Government. Trump has reiterated the abolishment of any such policies that does not bode well with the Government and their people. The Obamacare, which has been the centre of debate for a long time now, and has finally, executed the Obamacare subsidiaries. Trump’s stern stance involving Israel has further deteriorated US Government’s relationship with UNESCO. The withdrawal has meant that Israel would be pulling out of UNESCO in parallel.
The decision to pull out never came in as a surprise as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the announcement loud and clear to French president Emmanuel Macron several weeks ago. Israelis have revealed their sentiments in 2016 and expressed their discontent over a cultural and spiritual takeover, which they deemed hostile and insulting. Trump had voiced his narrative during the time and marked it as a killing of 3000 year old relationship between the city and their people. The decision will work in the favor of US, while keeping UNESCO in a hornets’ nest. The Democratic politicians were quick to deem this as a self-destructive and baffling decision. The Paris Climate Accord was pulled in for comparison, and stated as two of the worst decisions taken by the Trump Government.
Article by Sushmoy.