If you want to know why the Bloomberg editors wrote in favor of the UN yesterday (attempting to point out its strengths, acknowledging several of its weaknesses, and advocating for some limited reform), it was for one reason: the U.S. Congress.
Or more specifically, a legislative proposal offered up by Florida representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, in the form of the the UN Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act, and as written to by National Review:
It [the Act] is meant to allow us to better track how our dollars are spent at the United Nations and to tie U.S. contributions to our policy goals.
So while the U.S. may contribute a quarter of the UN budget, like billionaire Warren Buffet, we only get one vote. But as Buffet clearly knows, there are other ways to influence the UN processes.
The Ros-Lehtinen bill stipulates that the lion’s share of the U.N. budget be moved from mandatory to voluntary funding.
With this, the U.S. could “volunteer” to not pay the UN were the UN to continue to thumb its nose at Uncle Sugar. Because from whence does the UN get its power? It isn’t their inherent goodness (which could be argued at length); its from the money they have at their disposal. And like any large bureaucracy, the UN needs more (and more):
Incredibly, the U.N.’s budget has increased faster than the federal government’s in the last ten years, despite the United States’ bearing the majority of the cost for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The act has another benefit:
The bill would also withhold funds from the embarrassing Human Rights Council until it removes from its committee those nations listed as human-rights abusers, known sponsors of terrorism, violators of religious freedom, and those currently under sanctions — a commonsense initiative that could only possibly be controversial at the world body, which sees nothing amiss in North Korea’s serving on the proliferation committee.
And it introduces improved transparency:
The bill could go even farther. We would like to see provisions granting the United States unfettered access to all U.N. internal audits and other internal documents, a revival of the U.N. mandate review to eliminate irrelevant or outdated activities, and changes to make the U.N.’s quasi-inspector-general unit truly independent, with expanded resources and authority.
The Ros-Lehtinen bill sounds like “smart power.” “Stupid power” would be to continue to fund the UN even as they pursue an agenda which is inconsistent with U.S. goals and objectives.
(image: Wikimedia Commons)