The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
It was the shot heard ‘round Turtle Bay: the Trump administration’s announcement of America’s role in advancing more than $285 million in cuts in the United Nations’ 2018-19 operating budget.
Noting the world body’s “inefficiency and overspending,” U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley pulled no punches: “We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked.”
The belt-tightening is long overdue.
From 2000 to 2016, U.N. staff (separate from peacekeepers) has doubled, according to Joseph Klein, a lawyer and author, writing for frontpagemag.com. Over that period, the U.N.’s operating budget has increased about 119 percent (not adjusted for inflation).
And while the U.S. pays 22 percent of the U.N.’s regular budget (and about 28.5 percent of its peacekeeping budget) some nations pay what, in the past, has been likened to the price of a compact car.
By way of comparison, the 56 U.N. member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation pay only 5.6 percent of the U.N. regular budget. What the U.S. pours into the U.N. (one estimate put it at $10 billion in 2016) is more than the combined contributions of 176 other members.
But demanding fiscal restraint at Turtle Bay shouldn’t be a one-shot deal. For Team Trump, this should be only the first salvo.