There was less there than meets the eye, to that widely ballyhooed $285 million cut to the United Nations budget that followed on the heels of U.S. threats to exact financial revenge on the organization, following its condemnation of President Trump declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called what was characterized as a “negotiated” budget cut historic, adding, “We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked.”
Well, just to put this in perspective, the entire two-year operating budget for the U.N. (2018 and 2019) was set at $5.396 billion of which the U.S. is expected to pay 22 percent (the U.S. is assessed about 28 percent of U.N. peacekeeping operations). So yes perhaps any cut in the bloated bureaucracy that is the U.N. is helpful. But this one — its good timing aside — is hardly worth the press release it was printed on.
Of course if it were merely the start of a re-evaluation of the U.S. contribution — and more importantly of the U.S. exercising its influence over the bloated and often corrupt agencies of the world organization — then it might be an important development.
For example, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton (2005-2006) suggested in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that, “The U.S. should reject this international taxation regime and move instead to voluntary contributions. This means paying only for what the (member) country wants — and expecting to get what it pays for.”
Topping his list and ours as well of U.N. agencies unworthy of funding would be the U.N. Human Rights Council — a virtual parody of its name. Existing members include such paragons of virtue in the human rights field as Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba and Venezuela. Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo will be joining their ranks in January.
— The Boston Herald,
Dec. 31, 2017