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Editorials

U.N. Watch: Some budget crunching

| Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon touts the 70th anniversary of the world body as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to reflect on its past, the U.S. needs to look to the future by reconsidering its Turtle Bay “contribution.”

By far, the U.S. remains the U.N.'s largest donor, providing 22 percent of the regular budget and 28.4 percent of its peacekeeping spending, writes Kim R. Holmes, a former assistant secretary of State and a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation. And that gap is widening.

Whereas U.S. assessments total about $3 billion this year, 20 member states each pay less than $37,000 annually, according to U.N. watchdog Brett Schaefer for Heritage. Even among the Security Council's permanent members, China and Russia contribute only 5.1 and 2.4 percent, respectively, to the regular budget, Mr. Holmes notes.

In effect, countries with little investment in Turtle Bay “vastly outnumber” those that predominantly pay its freight, Holmes writes.

And that scenario is unlikely to change because 129 countries that, combined, pay a tiny percentage toward the total U.N. budget have the votes to pass a spending plan, Holmes points out.

The U.S. can make a convincing case for fair funding by withholding its U.N. contributions, which would be far more meaningful than empty anniversary commemorations.

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