If a major MEDC (More Economically Developed Country) was to leave the UN:

  • What effect would this have with other countries in regards to foreign relations?
  • Would there be less trade with this country?
  • Will there be embargoes?
  • Will other countries withdraw military support?
  • 1
    What country is it you are seeing leave the UN? I think this is a hypothetical question so it may fall into the category of NARQ. Commented May 7, 2013 at 12:31
  • @Chad hypothetical or not, it is relevant. In case of some major event it could be reality, I am interested in this question, so I think it is on the best place here in Politics beta. Commented May 7, 2013 at 12:46
  • I am not questioning is it interesting. It would be a great forum thread but SE is not a forum and Hypothetical questions are generally frowned upon. I have not heard of any countries state they are considering leaving the US despite the widespread feeling in the US That the US would be better without the UN. In other words its one thing the try to predict what is likely to happen in the near future. it is another to postulate about event that are not likely to happen in the near future. Commented May 7, 2013 at 12:51
  • @Chad I think it is about our understanding of the world. You can't predict these events. We can say with a very good chance nobody will leave the UN in a month or so. But we can't say for that sure is it a reality in 5 or 10 years. What ensures that a country is keeping up the membership? And what are the benefits or setbacks of the membership? I think the question is relevant, and up to date even if a leave is not likely happen now. Commented May 8, 2013 at 8:34
  • @CsBalazsHungary - I get your thoughts and it is an interesting discussion topic but this is not a discussion forum. Commented May 9, 2013 at 0:04

3 Answers 3


Membership in the United Nations is not tied to formal recognition by any other country. As such, technically there wouldn't be any such thing as an "automatic embargo" if a member nation voluntarily left the UN.

This doesn't mean to say such a move wouldn't raise eyebrows - and in particularly egregious situations, retaliatory action - but membership in the United Nations is a voluntary thing that is in no way associated with recognition. Any trade actions would be pursued through the WTO - which is a separate organization altogether

For example, the Holy See is formally recognized by the United States, and most of the world (there are exceptions) - but it chose to only have observer status at the UN. By the same token Palestine has observer status but is not recognized by the United States - and indeed, relations actually deteriorated when it sought to gain admittance to the UN as a full member state.

Finally, the predecessor to the United Nations - the League of Nations - had one very prominent "missing" member - the United States itself. While there were some minor privileges which the US was technically not entitled to as a result of its non-membership, it obviously wasn't that big of a deal.

In short - the UN is a voluntary membership. It represents worldwide consensus on some occassions and on some matters - but as a confederation, non-membership is not an issue.


Well when it comes to a Developing Country there wouldn't be a huge impact. It all depends. Being a member of the UN allows for a lot of benefits, economical, medical, humanitarian aide and cohesion between your neighbors. But otherwise a Developing Country that isn't in any sort of crisis, or in fear of being invaded or attacked could exist (though it wouldn't be preferable) Without being in the UN.

Let's look at another example however. In the 1950s the Soviet Union boycotted the UN for a short time. During that time it gave up it's seat on the Security Council, the major decision making and vetoing power in the UN. SO at this time, North Korean invades South Korea, the UN wants to help South Korea, the USSR is not able to say anything.

And there you have it. A Joint UN Task Force helps fight off the Chinese and North Koreans.

The UN is important if you have an agenda.

  • Boycotting and leaving is not the same thing.
    – convert
    Commented Feb 5, 2022 at 23:42

I would like to share a link to League of Nations as an example. The purpose of League of Nations (from now LN) was similar to UN, to solve international conflicts, and enforce the majority's will to the minority.

The case of course somewhat different with UN, but the general problem is the same. When in 1933 Japan faced with sanctions of the LN, they simply left the organization. And soon after Germany and Italy as well.

UN has it's power in the majority of the countries, as long as the nations are undivided in a question it means power behind words. As soon as a bigger fraction splits, UN loses power. For example an embargo worths something if it is enforced by many nations. When the target of the embargo still has enough friendly countries which willing to ignore the embargo, or even to leave the UN... well, that means history repeats itself. As far as I know UN membership itself doesn't guarantee a lot. Formerly they say if your country is attacked and you are a member, the UN will provide protection and negotiations. But I am sure they won't be indifferent with a non UN member as well. I would like to point out: Taiwan and Kosovo are not members, and still they enjoy full scope if something happens.

We also can mention humanitarian aid which is sent for members in case of need. Which also something what can be replaced if a leaving country have enough supporters. And not to forget, the right of vote which clearly depends on membership.

  • @Chad maybe the words aren't the best I used. I refer to un.org/en/sc/meetings/voting.shtml which states: all member country shall have one vote and some members (listed on the link) have veto right. So the majority shall surpass the minority if the veto is not called. Commented May 7, 2013 at 13:07
  • I think that is a very unnecessarily inflammatory way of stating it. Commented May 7, 2013 at 13:36

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