Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Sarah P. Lockhart, Ph.D.


The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effects of the United States' unilateral actions on the credibility of the United Nations. There is a focus particularly on the United Nations' ability to maintain international peace and security through multilateral decision-making when states decide to take action outside of the organizations' authorization. In order to analyze this stand, the United States' actions in Iraq and Syria are studied. In both 2003 and 2017, the country took forceful action outside of the United Nations in response to threats to international peace and security. Analysis of states' responses to the United States' instances of unilateral action regardless of its ratification of international law allows an understanding of states' perceptions of United Nations authority as a result. It is argued that as the United States' continues to prioritize its domestic agenda when working with the functions of the United Nations and its Security Council, the credibility of the international organization is undermined. Ultimately, in the question of an international balance of power, does the United States undermine the credibility and authority of the United Nations?