Proposed bill reduces US influence in UN
Published: Saturday, November 5, 2011
Updated: Sunday, November 6, 2011 20:11
While money is tight here at home, we must not forget that what we spend in the United States resonates throughout the entire world.
I am specifically referring to the part of our budget that pays for our United Nations dues, which is a great investment in our power to influence international affairs.
It seems, however, that some of our members of Congress forget that for every $1 the U.S. invests in the United Nations, we get a return of $1.50.
Recently, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) introduced a bill (H.R. 2829) that is extremely detrimental to the U.S.'s ability to work cooperatively with the rest of the world to solve global problems.
The bill, also known as the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act is simply bad legislation.
First of all, this legislation aims to slash our country's dues to the U.N. by 50 percent unless the U.N. agrees to adding unnecessary bureaucracy to the process.
If this bill becomes law, this initiative will only serve to diminish our country's influence at the U.N. In order to have influence at the U.N., we must play by the rules and meet our obligations as a member of the U.N. If we want to consider withholding half of our dues from the U.N., then we should consider withdrawing half of our influence as well.
If we cut our payments, several imperative initiatives around the world will be held hostage. Young children around the world will be deprived of immunization from infectious diseases that surround them daily. Pandemics like SARS and swine flu may spread. Additionally, the sanctioning of nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea will be held hostage if H.R. 2829 becomes law.
Additionally, it would force the U.S. to veto new peacekeeping missions or stop the expansions of existing ones.
Currently, our dues to the U.N. fund 15 peacekeeping missions, which provide stability to countries shaped by conflict and monitor elections. These missions allow the U.S. to promote our foreign policy interests while splitting the costs with other nations. In this case, the money we save doesn't lie: U.N. peacekeeping efforts are eight times more cost effective than the efforts that the U.S. tries to implement on its own. So why would we even consider trying to solve world problems on our own and pay a more expensive bill like H.R. 2829 does?
Lastly, this bill prohibits the U.S. from providing funding for the Human Rights Council and bans the U.S. from being a member of the Council. This would greatly limit our ability to promote human rights around the globe. There is no reason that the U.S. should not be present on the Human Rights Coucil. The initiatives of this legislation would serve no positive purpose and only limits our ability to protect human rights worldwide.
Ros-Lehtinen has made it obvious that she dislikes the U.N. — this is not the first time that she has introduced extreme anti-U.N. legislation.
This shows us that we can't let a few opinionated members of Congress ruin international relationships that the U.S. has worked hard to build, as well as the necessary projects that benefit us and people around the world every single day. We must stop Congress from approving this legislation in order to preserve our influence in the world.