Poster Paper: U.S. Membership at International Organizations: Cost-Benefit Analysis and Policy Implications

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Exhibit Hall C - Exhibit Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Mary Wong, George Washington University

The U.S. Department of State mission has generally remained the same over its long history, that is, to advance U.S. national interests abroad. How national interests has been defined has varied and has reflected that Administration’s priorities. A year plus into the Trump Administration and two Secretaries of State, the mission statement on the Department’s website reads, “leads America’s foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance by advancing the interests of the American people, their safety and economic prosperity.” This paper will examine the foreign policy area specific to multilateral diplomacy and U.S. membership in international organizations that virtually represent all aspects of interest to the American people, from health to agriculture to intellectual property. President Trump, and others before him, has asserted that the American people are not getting a good return on investment for U.S. membership to these international organizations, many in which the United States contributes the largest share of the organization’s budget. I propose to develop a framework to conduct a cost-benefit analysis, with both tangible and intangible items, as a guide to evaluate return on investment and further bolster any other political principles senior leadership take into consideration when making critical decisions on new or continued membership.