US to cut UN funding

The timing of an announcement that the US has negotiated to cut United Nations funding may be cynical and playing to a domestic audience given it closely follows threats by President Donald Trump that failed to avoid scant US support in a UN vote over Jerusalem, but there could be some justification for trying to reduce the bloat.

AP Press: US says it negotiated $285M cut in United Nations budget

The U.S. government says it has negotiated a significant cut in the United Nations budget.

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said on Sunday that the U.N.’s 2018-2019 budget would be slashed by over $285 million. The mission said reductions would also be made to the U.N.’s management and support functions.

U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said that the “inefficiency and overspending” of the organization is well-known, and she would not let “the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of.”

She also said that while the mission was pleased with the results of budget negotiations, it would continue to “look at ways to increase the U.N.’s efficiency? while protecting our interests.”

There could be a fine line between reducing inefficiency and overspending, and trying to financially coerce favourable outcomes (or avoid unfavourable outcomes).

The timing of the announcement seems cynical, and suspiciously like an attempt to publicly reprimand.

There may be an aspect of re-prioritising US spending as well, on RCP immediately after the above item is this: Trump administration set to unveil $1 trillion infrastructure proposal in 2018

During the 2016 campaign, Trump first promised to deliver a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to improve the condition of U.S. roads, bridges, airports, and other public works.

Although the administration is working to address the nation’s infrastructure, several major question marks hang over the plan, such as funding.

“The cost is going to be an issue, that’s going to be a large topic of debate,” a senior committee aide told the Washington Examiner.

Saving $285 million on UN spending won’t go far towards that. Neither will the tax cuts that have just been decided on.

NY Post: Nikki Haley negotiates $285M cut in ‘bloated’ UN budget

Haley added that the “historic reduction” in spending is a step in the right direction and that the US would make many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN.

“In addition to these significant cost savings, we reduced the UN’s bloated management and support functions, bolstered support for key US priorities throughout the world and instilled more discipline and accountability throughout the UN system,” the statement said.

The new deal for the 2018-2019 fiscal year is $285 million less than the world body’s staggering $5.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2016-2017.

A ‘more accountable UN’ has an ominous ring to it. If the US genuinely wants to make the UN more accountable then it should campaign to remove the veto power of five nations on the Security Council.

“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out in this assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” Haley told member nations ahead of their vote.

That was contrary to international law.

“We will remember it when, once again, we are called up to make the world’s largest contribution to the UN, and we will remember it when many countries come calling on us to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”

Announcing a budget cut just after making a statement like that could be seen as cynical.

 

12 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 27, 2017

    Why cynical? Haley is obviously on mission to put the UN’s many fat cats on a diet. And was annoyed by the cynical posturing by so-called friends over recognising reality in Jerusalem.

    • Corky

       /  December 27, 2017

      I wonder if the fat cats will jump ship as their waistlines recede? I remember reading an article in Readers Digest circa 1992 which had an article regarding the UN stopping an investigation into their funding and spending. They seem to be above international law.

  2. Ray

     /  December 27, 2017

    UN officials rather large salaries are tax free, as are their pensions.
    Which made for some local amusement when Miss Clark called for NZers to be taxed more to pay for her pet projects.

  3. The U.N. shouldn’t be arguing against such things as the Clash of Civilisations hypothesis (our way or bust), it should remain objective.

  4. Gezza

     /  December 27, 2017

    I don’t think it will do any great harm for the UN to have to cut costs. It’s bloated. As I recall a while back there were complaints that quite a number of countries weren’t meeting their funding commitments.

  5. The US is looking more and more like the school bully.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 27, 2017

      Queen Victoria would have sent in the navy. Trump just sent accountants.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 27, 2017

        There was nothing like the UN in Victorian England, so it’s a meaningless comparison. As the Monarch, she didn’t have absolute power, anyway.

      • Gezza

         /  December 27, 2017

        Al, there was no UN during the rein of Queen Victoria.
        Have you bumped your head?

    • PartisanZ

       /  December 28, 2017

      @Miss Kitty – “The US is looking more and more like the school bully”

      #CommentdeCentury …

      Literally, and increasingly, since about 1917 …

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 28, 2017

        Waiting until WWI was almost over and finally deigning to come over-and never letting anyone forget it.