🇺🇸 just left the @WHO.

We're now in unprecedented territory when it comes to treaty & international organization exits.

Here's why

To be clear, the US hasn’t officially left yet... https://twitter.com/emilyrauhala/status/1266481820893396993
...and US leaving treaties & international organizations (IOs) isn’t unique to @realDonaldTrump.

And these exists don't include the IOs the US helped create but then didn't join: most famously, the League of Nations
Oh, and it should be acknowledged that leaving the WHO will probably not be the most consequential treaty/IO exit this year https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-32810887
Given all of the above, why is leaving @WHO putting 🇺🇸 in unprecedented territory?

Because its the latest in a notable trend by the @realDonaldTrump administration: https://twitter.com/KSchultz3580/status/1266504416351236096
This trend is unprecedented because, it turns out, international organization exit is actually quite rare.
This figure from their paper shows that the number of withdrawals per year doesn't show any discernible trend (though there are some notable spikes)
The data don't go as far back (only to 1980), but the trend is clear: suspensions rarely happen (one reason being that states will leave BEFORE being suspended)
Here is where things get really interesting.

While the ACT of treaty/IO exit is rare, it turns out that many (most?) treaties/IOs have provisions that allow for exit, as discussed by Barb Koremenos & Allison Nau

But it seems that states, despite allowing for exit, are reluctant to leave or close something they invested time into creating.

Or states might suffer from a "sunk cost" fallacy.

As Julia Gray in @ISQ_Jrnl finds, when IOs nolonger serve member state needs, IOs become "zombies": the IO continues on paper, but the member states don't bother to formally shut it down https://academic.oup.com/isq/article/62/1/1/4946301
This figure shows how there are more "zombie" economic IOs over time than "dead" economic IOs
In short, while states do PLAN for POSSIBLE exit when designing IOs and treaties, they rarely actually do it.

In that sense, international relations scholarship shows that the behavior of the @realDonaldTrump administration is truly unprecedented.

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