- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 19, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Donald Trump took the United Nations to task in recent remarks at the global body’s New York headquarters, telling those attending a special forum on “management, security and development” that the entity was in dire need of reform.

It’s about time America snipped the U.N.’s wings.

Among Trump’s scolding was a quip that the United Nations has become victimized by its own “bureaucracy and mismanagement.”

No kidding. And guess who pays the steepest price for this big bloat?

America. But of course.

“U.S. Funding of the United Nations Reaches All-Time High,” blasted one Heritage Foundation headline. And that was from 2010. America’s share of the U.N. funding pot has not fallen off much in recent years.

By the current numbers, the United States pays a bit more than 22 percent of the United Nations’ annual $2.5 billion administrative budget. That’s for administration — for the United Nations’ regular budget needs.

That’s massively higher than what other countries pay. In 2015, for example, 35 member U.N. countries only paid the near-minimum amount for administration — about $28,269 each. Another 20 countries paid the global body its minimum administration and operation assessments, about $8,470.

U.S. taxpayers are currently also on the hook for billions of more dollars for the global body’s many programs — ones aimed at fighting hunger, fighting climate change, fighting on behalf of resettlement of refugees.

And those costs are substantial — to understate. A couple of examples?

The United States now funds 28 percent — roughly $3 billion — of the United Nations’ $8 billion-plus peacekeeping budget.

The United States also, in 2016, paid $1.5 billion of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugee’s total $4 billion budget.

In other words: The United States regularly picks up the bulk of the United Nations’ tab — and oftentimes, for the furtherance of programs and policies that are political hotbeds on U.S. soil, and that aren’t completely supported by the U.S. taxpayer.

In more other words: The United Nations ought to be kissing America’s butt, not the other way around. America ought not have to stand quiet as the United Nations wastes money, spends it to promote programs antithetical to America’s goals or outright criticizes the United States and U.S. allies, like Israel.

Under Barack Obama, it was one U.S. kiss, cater and kowtow to the United Nations after another. But now, with Trump at the White House helm?

Well, in January, Trump signed an executive order directing his team to look for ways to cut U.S. donations to the United Nations, by about 40 percent.

In March, U.S. diplomats warned key U.N. members in a closed-door session in New York to “expect a big financial constraint” in spending, due to a looming tamp-down in U.S. contributions to the global body.

And in September?

Trump, in four-minute remarks to a special panel at the United Nations on management and bureaucracy, warned: Reform or else. He bluntly told those assembled that the United States would not keep mindlessly funding the United Nations without seeing a return for the investment.

“In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement,” he told the panel, calling for more accountability among the U.N.’s higher-ups, for protections for whistleblowers, and for fewer bureaucratic and costly hoops for program implementation. He also called for — and get this, a message that ought to resonate with even the socialists of the world — a fairer sharing of the United Nations’ budget.

“We must ensure that no one and no member state shoulders a disproportionate share of the burden,” Trump said.

Wow, what a concept — a call to fairly spread the fiscal burden.

The fact is, if America stepped back from paying the United Nations, the global body would stutter-step and shutter. If anything, in Trump-speak, that gives America a strong position of bargaining power. America, bluntly, and under Trump, should be able to dictate to the United Nations how global business should be conducted — not the other way around. It’s music to patriotic Americans’ ears.

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