The United Nations has been headquartered in New York City since 1952, hosting sessions, naming commissions, passing resolutions and generally not accomplishing much in the way of fostering world peace – or even regional peace in places like the Middle East or Africa.

The organization has grown from 51 member states or countries to 193 in 2017 from all seven continents, but the United States remains its largest source of support.

The U.S. contributes the maximum amount allowed – 22 percent of the U.N.’s budget, more than double that of the next largest contributor, Japan, at less than 10 percent. An additional 6 percent surcharge is assessed for the “privilege” of being a member of the organization’s Security Council.

By comparison, Germany contributes only 6.3 percent, Russia 3 percent and Saudi Arabia 1.1 percent.

In total, the U.S. spends around $10 billion annually on the U.N.

That’s “billion” with a “B.”

All that may be about to change as President Trump has given notice to the State Department to begin looking for ways to cut that number by half.

At a March 9 meeting at the U.N., some member states were told by U.S. diplomats to “expect a big financial restraint” on American spending in the near future.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said he believes the reductions could take place over a period of three years and sources in the administration say he has the discretion to develop a plan to phase in the cuts over time.

The Trump White House is preparing its first budget, which will reflect proposed cuts to departments with the State Department itself standing to lose up to 37 percent of its budgeted funding in order to partially fund a $54 billion investment in the nation’s military and defense spending.

Richard Gowan, a U.N. expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said the cuts would create “chaos” and leave “a gaping hole that other big donors would struggle to fill.”

The U.S. contributed $1.5 billion, more than 25 percent, of the U.N.’s refugee agency’s budget in 2016, and Gowan says the loss of that money, along with other U.S. funding for humanitarian agencies like the World Food Programme, would lead to, “breakdown of the international humanitarian system as we know it.”

Perhaps it is time for the U.S. to follow President Trump’s plan to “Make America Great Again” and concentrate on the needs of our own people by spending that $10 billion at home.

 

 

 
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