DEAR AMERICA: What Should President Trump Do With The U.N.?

Get ready to rumble! Trump and the U.N. are going to clash, big time. There are a lot of issues they don’t see eye-to-eye on. Everything from climate change to the marble tiles on the wall. Don’t believe us, Trump let them know he didn’t like them back in 2012.

Now that he’s the president-elect, the marble probably isn’t his number one priority but there are still plenty of things Trump and the U.N. need to work out.

By Somini Sengupta and Rick Gladstone

Whatever his specific views, a number of statements made by Mr. Trump and his loyalists have conflicted with the values and positions of the United Nations. Here are the major examples:

Climate Change

Mr. Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, has suggested he would withdraw the United States from the Paris accord, widely regarded as the most important United Nations achievement in years. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President Obama invested a great deal of political energy in its success.

This past week, speaking in Marrakesh, Morocco, at an international meeting on climate change, Mr. Ban said he had spoken by telephone with Mr. Trump and looked forward to a personal meeting about the importance of saving the planet from environmental disaster.

“As president of the United States, I am sure that he will understand this, he will listen, he will evaluate his campaign remarks,” Mr. Ban said.

Even if Mr. Trump does not withdraw the United States from the accord, he could ignore important commitments, including cuts in carbon emissions or contributions to a global fund to help poor countries deal with the damage wrought by climate change. American disregard of the accord could cause other countries to renege on their promises as well.

Diplomats are trying to convince the Trump transition team that adhering to the deal is good for American businesses.

Refugees and Migrants

Mr. Trump has said he wants to bar entry to refugees from certain countries, and his campaign has defended a widely pilloried Twitter message by his son, Donald Trump Jr., comparing Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles.

Barring refugees based on where they come from would be in blatant violation of international law, which requires countries to offer protection to all those fleeing war and persecution. Mr. Trump’s proposal has already been denounced by the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who said during the campaign that Mr. Trump would be “dangerous from an international point of view.”

The incoming United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, was even more pointed. He said that any proposal to restrict Muslim refugees would only help jihadist organizations spread their propaganda and recruit followers. “It’s just telling them: ‘You are right. We are against you.’ ”

He is to take office less than three weeks before Mr. Trump.

Iran Nuclear Agreement

Mr. Trump has repeatedly threatened to scrap the agreement reached last year between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, that severely limited Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Mr. Ban has expressed the opposite view, calling the agreement a triumph of diplomacy that reduced the threat of war. He has urged all participants to respect its provisions.

The agreement was also endorsed by the Security Council in a unanimous resolution.

Almost immediately after the agreement was announced in July 2015, Mr. Trump expressed his hostility in a Twitter post.

At that same March meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group, Mr. Trump asserted that “my No. 1 priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran,” arguing that the Iranians had outsmarted the United States in winning concessions and could still develop a nuclear weapon when the pact’s restrictions expire in 15 years.

Despite Mr. Trump’s assertions, it remains unclear whether he will seek to annul or amend the nuclear agreement. The other countries involved — Britain, China, France, Germany, Iran and Russia — have all expressed their intention to honor it.

Relations with Cuba have also come up as a concern. To say Trump is not a fan of Obama’s reconciliation with the country would be an understatement. But the U.N. was a big fan of the arrangement.

All these issues might make the first meeting a bit awkward. What are your thoughts?

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