Can the UN survive with an isolationist US president, a more aggressive China and growing calls for reform?
Kim Sengupta explores some of the key challenges facing the international body, 75 years on from its founding
The term ¡°United Nations¡± was first used by an American president, Franklin Roosevelt, on 1 January 1942 when representatives of 26 nations pledged to continue the war against Axis powers, when final victory was still far from certain.
Roosevelt believed that the refusal of the US to play a part in the League of Nations set up after the First World War was a major factor in the failure to prevent the Second World War. The Declaration of the United Nations would, he held, help ensure that a lasting and just peace would be achieved when the conflict ended through close international co-operation. The organisation¡¯s headquarters were set up in New York, and the vast bulk of its budget came from America.
Now, at the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, the US president is a vocal opponent of multilateralism and a frequent critic of the organisation. In his last address to the General Assembly, Donald Trump told world leaders that ¡°the future does not belong to globalists, it belongs to patriots¡±. His administration, he stressed before and after the meeting, would not veer from its guiding principle of ¡°America First¡±.