Those U.N. dues: No more sugar daddy
If the Obama administration is at all serious about reforming the United Nations, it can begin by pressing to change the formulation of U.N. dues, which are up for revision.
This is an opportunity -- it only comes every three years -- for the U.S. to gain a meaningful say in efficiency, transparency and accountability at Turtle Bay. Without change to a system that's grossly tilted against the U.S., America will remain but one ineffectual voice while other nations that pay a pittance drive the U.N.'s agenda.
Never mind that the U.S. pays an outlandish share: 22 percent of the U.N. regular budget and almost 26 percent of its peacekeeping fund. The fact that more than 80 percent of both budgets is paid by only the top 15 U.N. contributors is outrageous.
So while the U.S. is expected to pay $598 million for the U.N.'s 2010 regular budget, 54 countries assessed at a far lower rate (0.001 percent of the U.N. budget) would each pony up just over $25,000, notes Brett D. Schaefer of The Heritage Foundation.
The U.S. can press for a voting system that's weighed by nations' contributions, Mr. Schaefer says. Or the financial burden can be spread more evenly. Unfortunately the many members who enjoy this sweetheart deal have no incentive to change it.
That is, unless the U.S stops playing sugar daddy for the U.N. and withholds all funding until fairness prevails.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.