Wednesday, October 15, 2003

US out of UN?

Congressmen Tom Feeney and Dave Weldon are calling for the US to withdraw from the United Nations:

The United Nations is a failure and America should withdraw its membership or taxpayer-funded support until the U.N. more closely mirrors American interests, two Central Florida Republican congressman said Monday.

"The U.N. is useless," said U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Oviedo, who joined fellow U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Palm Bay, in mostly berating the global aid and peacekeeping body. "It's more useless than it's ever been."

Tom Feeney also co-sponsored a bill in the House of Representatives that sought to lower the amount of money the US gave to the UN. This article about it brings up some interesting points:

Rep. J. D. Hayworth, a Republican Congressman from Arizona, and seven co-sponsors have submitted a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would lower the amount of money the United States sends to the United Nations by more than $240 million per year.

Hayworth's bill, H.R. 2303, would make the contribution by the U.S. to the U.N. equal to the largest contribution from any of the other four permanent, veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council.

"Our veto power should cost no more than that of the other permanent members, China, France, Russia, or the United Kingdom," remarked Rep. Hayworth. "Even though their combined Gross Domestic Product nearly equals that of the U.S., we contribute about $115 million more to the U.N. regular budget than those four countries combined. That doesn't make sense, and Congress should put a stop to it."

Currently, the law requires the United States to contribute a fixed 22 percent of the U.N.'s administrative budget. In 2003, the U.S. contribution to the U.N. budget was $341 million. Under the Hayworth proposal, the U.S. payment would be lowered to $100 million annually, matching France's 6.5 percent contribution to the budget. France is the second highest contributor to the U.N.

"The current dues arrangement is particularly objectionable when you consider that each of the other permanent members of the Security Council regularly vote against U.S. proposals," Hayworth argued. "Equal power should be matched by equal dues."

State Department records show that in 2002 China voted against the U.S. over 80 percent of the time. Russia disagreed with the U.S. 78 percent of the time. Great Britain and France both voted with the U.S. 50 percent of the time.

Hayworth is hopeful that his bill will inspire a larger debate about the future role of the U.S. in the U.N.

"The outrages are not limited to the meltdown over Iraq," he said. "Cuba began its recent crackdown on dissidents as it was elected to a new three-year term on the U.N.'s human rights commission. That commission is being chaired by Libya and includes some of the worst abusers of human rights in the world, including Vietnam, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe."

Hayworth warns that something must be done, or the U.N. will become useless.

"There must be reforms if the United Nations is to avoid being reduced to an irrelevant international theater of the absurd," he predicted.

This bill is currently in the House Committee on International Relations.

The seven co-sponsors of the bill are Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-SC), Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA), Rep. Walter B. Jones, Jr. (R-NC), Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), and Rep. Ron Lewis (R-KY).


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