Judged by the Company We Keep?

We all know that the U.S. is by far the largest debtor to the United Nations. In fact, the U.S. represents 94% of all debt to the U.N. regular budget. This means that 6% of the debt to the UN regular budget comes from other countries.

Often people will respond by saying, “Of course the U.S. has the largest debt, since they are the largest contributors.” This is certainly a valid point. The U.S. is expected to pay 22% of the UN’s regular budget–more than anyone else in the world. Obviously then, if we miss any payment at all, it will represent a large percentage of the debt. The question then, is this:

How does the U.S. proportion of the debt stack up to others when compared to the amount they are expected to pay?

I crunched these numbers, and I found out something interesting. There are two countries that stand out when you compare their percentage of the debt and their expected payment: the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Both of these countries have a percentage of the total debt to the UN regular budget that is 426% of what they are expected to pay annually. For comparison, Japan’s debt stands at just over 5% of what they are expected to pay each year.

This statistic says a lot about comparative attitudes toward the UN and engagement with the rest of the world. If this is the preferred measure of those who would withhold funding from the UN, it should give them pause to realize the company they keep by doing so.

Judged by the Company We Keep?

We all know that the U.S. is by far the largest debtor to the United Nations. In fact, the U.S. represents 94% of all debt to the U.N. regular budget. This means that 6% of the debt to the UN regular budget comes from other countries.

Often people will respond by saying, “Of course the U.S. has the largest debt, since they are the largest contributors.” This is certainly a valid point. The U.S. is expected to pay 22% of the UN’s regular budget–more than anyone else in the world. Obviously then, if we miss any payment at all, it will represent a large percentage of the debt. The question then, is this:

How does the U.S. proportion of the debt stack up to others when compared to the amount they are expected to pay?

I crunched these numbers, and I found out something interesting. There are two countries that stand out when you compare their percentage of the debt and their expected payment: the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Both of these countries have a percentage of the total debt to the UN regular budget that is 426% of what they are expected to pay annually. For comparison, Japan’s debt stands at just over 5% of what they are expected to pay each year.

This statistic says a lot about comparative attitudes toward the UN and engagement with the rest of the world. If this is the preferred measure of those who would withhold funding from the UN, it should give them pause to realize the company they keep by doing so.

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