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U.N. funding showdown looms
Posted By Henry Lamb On 06/28/1999 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
The U.S. Senate has voted 98-1, to pay $819 million toward what the
U.N. claims to be an arrearage of $1.69 billion. The deal also includes
“forgiving” a $100 million debt owed by the U.N. to the United States.
Also included in the payment is $25 million requested by the
Clinton/Gore administration, for U.N. Population Fund programs.
The compromise package, reportedly negotiated by Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright and Jesse Helms, Chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, calls for a reduction in U.S. contributions to the
U.N. from 25 percent to 20 percent of the U.N. budget, as well as a
reduction from 31 percent to 25 percent for peacekeeping operations. The
deal also assures confirmation of Richard Holbrooke as Ambassador to the
Payment is not assured; the bill still must clear the House of
Richard Smith, R-N.J., Chairman of the International Operation &
Human Rights Subcommittee, has declared that he will again attach an
amendment to the bill to prohibit any funds for abortion programs. Last
year, the president vetoed the U.N. payment bill because of the
Both the Senate and the House are sharply divided on the proper role
of the United States in the United Nations. Senator Paul Sarbanes,
D-Md., was the only vote against the bill, noting that the U.S. should
pay the full amount without any conditions. On the House side,
Congressman Ron Paul, R-Texas, is promoting his bill to completely
withdraw from the U.N. (HR1146). Between these two extremes, elected
officials are struggling with what to do about the U.S.-U.N.
relationship amid the turmoil of Kosovo and the changing ambitions of
the United Nations.
Congress decided to withhold payment to the U.N. originally, in order
to force the U.N. to reform its management, spending, and accountability
procedures. The money leverage worked. Maruice Strong was designated by
Kofi Annan to be the Executive Coordinator of U.N. Reform. He has made
administrative reforms, which Richard Holbrooke acknowledged during his
Senate confirmation hearings. Holbrooke says it is essential that the
U.S. pay its debt to the U.N. to “restore our influence” in order to
“achieve meaningful reforms for a more streamlined, more effective U.N.
Ron Paul, and a growing number of conservative Congressmen, realize
that the reforms being made by Maurice Strong are doing much more than
making the U.N. more efficient. The reforms are transforming the U.N.
into the seat of global governance, precisely as was recommended by the
Commission on Global Governance (CGG) in its 1995 report, Our Global
The Kosovo situation exemplifies the “reform” in the U.N. which
changes its basic mission from one of providing security to its member
nations, to providing security for the people within the sovereign
borders of its member nations. The Kosovo adventure is the first time in
history that the U.N. has invaded a sovereign nation to provide security
of people. Its charter specifically prohibits intervention in civil
strife within a nation, and allows intervention only in conflicts
But it was not the U.N. It was NATO that went into Kosovo.
While technically correct, NATO simply acted as the surrogate for the
U.N., because Russia threatened to veto U.N. action. When NATO invaded,
also in violation of its charter, Russia decided to get in line and let
the U.N. take charge of the situation and of NATO.
The objective, the strategy, and the incredibly skillful manipulation
of the leaders of the international community, rest squarely on the
shoulders of the Clinton/Gore administration. Strobe Talbott, perhaps
more than Madeleine Albright, is the primary architect of the events
that have resulted in the implementation of this gargantuan shift in
But this is only one of many “reforms” being undertaken by Maurice
Strong, in compliance with the recommendation of the Commission on
Global Governance, of which Strong was a member. Consolidation of the
U.N. financial mechanisms under a single administrative department of
the U.N. is seen as a necessary step before global taxation can become a
A permanent standing army under the day-to-day command of the U.N.
Secretary General is another recommendation of the CGG. NATO has now
become the nucleus of that army, and Kosovo is its first assignment.
The International Criminal
Court, called for by the
CGG, was created last July in Rome, and is now being organized and
staffed. While it was created to prosecute the likes of Milosevic, its
creators fully intend for it to eventually prosecute violators of all
international law, including environmental and social law.
The U.N. dues controversy in Congress should raise the level of
debate to embrace all the reasons why the United States should
reconsider its involvement with the U.N. Other extremely important
recommendations of the CGG are being implemented and the decision
Congress is about to make can have profound impact on the outcome.
The CGG recommendation to remove veto power from the permanent
members, and to end permanent member status could be facilitated by the
compromise deal passed by the Senate. Should the House pass the measure,
the U.S. and Japan would be paying the same amount. The U.S. has a
permanent seat on the Security Council; Japan does not. The inequity
provides an excellent opportunity for the reformers to build a case for
removing permanent status and veto power from all permanent members of
the Security Council.
Failure by the Congress to pay the U.N. dues could amount to defacto
withdrawal from the U.N. According to the Boston Globe (Tom Raum, June
23), the U.S. will lose its vote in the General Assembly unless at least
$250 million is paid by December.
Perhaps the deciding factor in the congressional decision to pay or
not to pay will come down to raw politics. Failure to pay will
undoubtedly be blamed on the Republicans by the Democrats. Are the
Republicans ready and willing to elevate this issue in an election year?
Campaign ads showing refugees streaming in and out of Kosovo will be
blamed on the Republicans. Natural disasters, including pictures of the
devastation from hurricane Mitch, will be blamed on the Republicans who
oppose the U.N.’s multi-billion dollar global warming campaign. The
civil wars that rage throughout Africa will be blamed on the Republicans
who stripped the U.N.’s ability to act. Starving people from all over
the world will be deposited in the living rooms of America throughout
the campaign season — all compliments of the nasty people who would not
fund the wonderful efforts of the U.N.
Politics, unfortunately, will dampen the much-needed debate about the
appropriate role of the U.N. The United States is driving the U.N.
agenda with appointees of the Clinton/Gore administration. Congress can
stall, delay, and perhaps slow the implementation of U.N. reform, but
only the American people can change the quality of representation the
United States sends to the U.N.
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