09.02.2011 0

New legislation promises to stop the UN from being so UNeffective

By Rebecca DiFede — In the past year, 22 percent of the United Nation’s (UN) operations budget and 27 percent of the peacekeeping budget were funded by the United States. This week, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs committee introduced the “United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act,” legislation designed to shake up the foundation of the long-stagnant UN.

This bill will “require the UN to adopt a voluntary budget model in which countries selectively fund UN agencies rather than according to a set formula”. This is to ensure that there is a little more competition for funds and as a result, the often-dormant UN officials will actually have to take some action to get what they want.

Historically, the UN has not been the greatest at making progress. For far too long they have tip-toed their way around conflicts by sending teams to warzones with no weapons, and attempting peace talks with countries and groups who are clearly only in search of blood.

If Rwanda and the Sudan taught us anything, it was that the UN cannot be trusted to get involved in conflicts because they refuse to adapt to the situation when the enemy doesn’t want to sit down to a tea party and talk things out. The U.S. is a country of actions and if they are going to continue to receive our money they’re going to need to start revising the way they handle themselves.

This new legislation would also be setting boundaries on the use of U.S. money to only purposes specified by Congress, and would prevent funding from being used for any UN agency that supports the Palestinian observer mission or its refugees. In addition, the laws would also refuse funding for the UN Human Rights Council for any members with Security Council sanctions, investigations for human rights violations or are state sponsors of terrorism.

Ros-Lehtinen is quoted on the House Foreign Affairs committee website saying, “We need a UN which will advance the noble goals for which it was founded. Unfortunately the current UN continues to be plagued by scandal, mismanagement, and inaction, and its agenda is frequently hijacked by rogue regimes which protect each other while targeting free democracies like the US and Israel. This bill is about making the UN work again.”

Americans for Limited Government (ALG)’s President Bill Wilson praised the congresswoman, stating that “for far too long the UN has been a sacred cow, and it is gratifying that Ros-Lehtinen is taking on this bureaucratic behemoth that wastes U.S. tax dollars. At some point, Congress will need to decide whether investment in the UN makes sense from both a fiscal and foreign policy perspective.”

Since this legislation actually wants to enforce responsible spending and corral the crazed child that is the UN, it will likely receive opposition from the left-leaning Senate and the Obama Administration. However, it has significant and quantifiable positive outcomes if instituted, and as such it is likely that it will pass the House of Representatives.

The UN is facing a crisis of its own making. Should Ros-Lehtinen’s bill become law, it just might hit its stride within the guidelines set forth by one of their major contributors, and start actually uniting some nations, rather than continuing to bask in the glory of ignorance.

Rebecca DiFede is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.

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