So we have written a few times here and there about a new and counter-productive measure that is making its way through the United States Congress that would effectively strip the United Nations of critical funding. The legislation, introduced last week by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Illeana Ros-Lehtinan would change the way the United States contributes to the UN from its current system of dues payments to a system of voluntary contributions to specific UN programs. Sort of like a UN a la carte.
If you also think defunding the United Nations like this is a terrible idea, I encourage you to check out a new website launched by our friends at the Better World Campaign. LetUsLead.org is a platform in which you can learn about this harmful legislation and take action. From the Better World Campaign.
While the United States and the United Nations are working together to address some of the most serious issues confronting the world, this vital partnership has come under attack in Congress. Last week, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen introduced anti-UN legislation (H.R. 2829) in Congress that would threaten vital funding to the UN and forfeit American leadership at the United Nations. In response to such a drastic measure, the Better World Campaign announced today the launch of Let U.S. Lead(www.LetUSLead.org) in opposition to H.R. 2829.
“As the U.S. and the UN tackle serious security and political crises in places like Libya, Sudan, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and deliver critical humanitarian aid to those affected by natural catastrophes in the Horn of Africa, Haiti and Japan, it is absolutely irresponsible to cut off U.S. support for UN peacekeeping and for UN operations,” said Peter Yeo, Executive Director of the Better World Campaign. “The UN is playing a greater role in promoting American interests than ever before and we strongly oppose H.R. 2829, which threatens America’s leadership role at the United Nations and undermines our national security. Recent research shows that more than 60 percent of Americans support paying UN dues on time and in full. Americans understand the value that the UN offers us in terms of security and long-term stability in an unpredictable world. The Let U.S. Lead campaign calls on Congress to respect the will of the American people and oppose the passage of this ill-conceived bill.”
Let U.S. Lead is a grassroots campaign to educate and engage American voters about the consequences of H.R. 2829’s dangerous approach to cutting UN funding. Passage of this legislation would not only compromise America’s leadership at the United Nations and cripple the UN as a vital tool of U.S. national security; it would also likely stop the U.S. from supporting UN peacekeeping missions that deploy overseas at a fraction of the cost of sending the men and women of our own military, and end funding to vital UN organizations such as UNICEF and the World Food Program. For a fact sheet on H.R. 2829, please click here.
America’s longstanding commitment to global leadership and international engagement are fundamental to achieving America’s national security goals. H.R. 2829 is based on the faulty premise that American interests would be served by putting funding for the UN into an unpredictable, voluntary system. Nothing could be further from the truth. Currently, other nations pay almost 80% of the costs of the vitally-important UN missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as critical counter-terrorism and sanctions monitoring work, but under a voluntary payment system, UN member states would most certainly withdraw their contributions to these missions and the U.S. would be forced to bear most or all of the costs.
“This legislation is short-sighted and extremely dangerous. While it rhetorically states that it hopes to promote greater reform at the United Nations, in fact, the opposite would happen. This bill actually undercuts major reform efforts already underway by forcing the U.S. to lose our vote at the UN and relinquishing our ability to press for important changes. The truth is that funding to the UN restored by Congress and the Obama Administration in the past few years has strengthened the ability of the U.S. to lead and push for oversight, budgetary and transparency changes,” Yeo continued. “Now is not the time undermine U.S. national security and turn our backs on the world. It is time for us, for the U.S., to lead.”