Today, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl), chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the “UN Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act of 2011,” HR 2829.
It combines an approach to US funding for the UN which supports American goals and interests with provisions that specifically target some of the UN’s bullying tactics against Israel, which — it should be remembered — is allegedly an ally of the US.
The bill says that the US will not fund UN activities that are in opposition to our interests by making our contributions for various programs voluntary rather than assessed. It states that the UN cannot use our money for purposes other than those for which it was intended. It withholds US contributions for any program that will upgrade the status of the Palestine observer mission, and ends US funding for the Hamas-friendly UNRWA refugee agency, the corrupt UN Human Rights Council, and the “Durban process.” It also includes a provision condemning the Goldstone report and calling for its revocation.
It has 57 original co-sponsors. They are all Republicans. The Obama Administration opposes the bill because “This draft legislation is dated, tired, and frankly unresponsive to the positive role being played by the UN,” according to a spokesperson.
The reference is to UN support of US actions in Afghanistan and Libya. But the Ros-Lehtinen bill wouldn’t prevent that kind of cooperation — indeed, it would make it more likely, since UN officials would have an interest in pleasing the US (and of course it depends on individual nations, not the UN bureaucracy).
In actuality, the UN does not play a positive role in almost anything. Many of the useful specialized agencies like the International Telecommunications Union, the World Health Organization, etc. could be spun off, at which point the rest of it could profitably disappear. Short of that, by tying US funding to the actual activities of the units funded, Ros-Lehtinen’s bill could provide some accountability.
Just as an example, how many Americans enjoy having their taxes support the UN’s Special Unit on Palestinian Rights (UNISPAL) and its annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (every November 29, the anniversary of the partition resolution that they rejected)? Not too many, I’ll bet. What about the paying the salary of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Richard Falk, who has publicly accused the US government of complicity in 9/11 and recently apologized to dogs for comparing them to Jews?
There is no reason why this has to be a partisan issue. Aren’t there Democrats who resent having their money ($3.35 billion in 2010) spent by an unaccountable organization which as often as not opposes our national interests? Or Democrats who would like to see the UN reined in from attacking Israel?