Foreign Policy is reporting that the White House has ordered the Secretary of State to cut US contributions to the UN by over 50%. That’s right. Five. Freakin. Oh. Fifty.
State Department staffers have been instructed to seek cuts in excess of 50 percent in U.S. funding for U.N. programs, signaling an unprecedented retreat by President Donald Trump’s administration from international operations that keep the peace, provide vaccines for children, monitor rogue nuclear weapons programs, and promote peace talks from Syria to Yemen, according to three sources.
You know what it would also do? It would stamp out this crap for once and for all:
— Fox News Politics (@foxnewspolitics) March 15, 2017
According to FP the world will teeter on its axis and quite possibly start to counter rotate if that happens:
The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) received $1.5 billion of its $4 billion budget from the United States last year, he said. Cutting the U.S. contribution would “leave a gaping hole that other big donors would struggle to fill.”
U.S. officials in Washington and New York learned during the past week that they will be asked to find ways to cut spending on obligatory and voluntary U.N. programs by 50 to 60 percent from the International Organization Affairs Bureau’s account. State Department officials, for instance, were told that they should try to identify up to $1 billion in cuts in the U.N. peacekeeping budget, according to one source. The United States provides about $2.5 billion per year to fund peacekeepers.
If you ever wonder why the same group of small nations are such major players in peacekeeping operations, the answer is simple. The UN peacekeeping subsidy lets them afford a larger and better equipped military than they could otherwise afford. In essence, the peacekeeping budget is less about peacekeeping than it is about supporting Third World military establishments.
Anticipating cuts to family planning programs, Dutch Development Minister Lilianne Ploumen recently established a fund to solicit contributions to institutions that have faced a cutoff of U.S. assistance because they perform abortions.
But sub-Saharan Africa has plenty of crises that could only get worse if the United States throttles back its financial support. Bathsheba Crocker, who served as assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs during former President Barack Obama’s administration, said steep cuts in the U.S. voluntary funding account could imperil programs responding to major humanitarian calamities, dealing with political crises, and combating terrorists.
“We have U.N. warnings of famine in four countries,” she said, referring to food crises in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. “It is only the U.N. agencies that have the scale and ability to get in and address these challenges.”
The UN will be just as effective combating famine in these four nations as it was in Somalia. The cause of famine is not a lack of food, the last famine cause by an actual lack of food was probably before World War II. The reason for famine is warfare and the use of food as a weapon by either the state of its competitors for power. The UN is singularly unable to do anything in these situations.
The US stepping back from funding the UN will not, as the stripey-pants Chicken Littles scream, signal a breakdown of the international order. Rather it will signal a new an more equitable order. Over seventy years the United States has spent trillions of dollars via the UN. What has it bought us? Allies? Region stability? Influence? No. In fact, true bad actors in the UN, Russia and China, do diddly squat in the way of humanitarian work and have exactly the same veto that we have.
Turning off the spigot. Ceasing our role as sugar-daddy to the town harlot. Making the UN establish priorities and have the rest of the world share the expense and burden. All of these things will either cause reform in the UN or the UN will go the way of the dodo bird. The latter is my hope.