The U.S. Should Leave the U.N.
Occupying a tall building overlooking the river in one of the most expensive areas in New York City is a bloated, unaccountable, and ineffective organization that robs the American taxpayers without their consent or approval.
The United Nations was created with a mission of “maintaining international peace and security” following the horrors of the Second World War. Fortunately, no conflict of such a magnitude has happened since, but this is not a testament so much to the success of the United Nations as it is to the success of globalization. In addition, the American taxpayers pay billions of dollars a year to this supranational organization consisting of officials the American public has neither elected nor asked for, with little to show for all this money. The taxpayers who pay the UN’s budget do not have a say in where the money goes, and any American, if asked, would be hard-pressed to come up with any solid achievements of the UN. It is high time that America’s role in the UN be reevaluated. The taxpayers should not have to pay to fund yet another useless agency.
The United States pays about 22% of the annual UN budget, a figure staggeringly high in the face of the $5.4 billion budget that the agency requires over two years. But this is only a small part of the picture; the US also pays for other operations run by the UN, the biggest of which is peacekeeping. Currently, the UN has 110,000 peacekeepers stationed in 15 countries around the world, most of them in Africa. This year alone, the United States has paid $2.2 billion in peacekeeping efforts. It is increasingly unclear why the taxpayers should pay this. Rising sentiment in the US has made most Americans weary of being the world’s policeman, and with little desire left to meddle in conflicts outside their own borders. Asked today if they support international missions with no clear goal in mind that has little to do with them directly, most Americans would not contribute a penny to them. It is unfair then to seize their tax dollars for exactly these purposes.
In addition to the monetary concerns, Americans should be disturbed by the lack of accountability within the UN. Officials at the agency are not elected, meaning they have nobody to answer to when the UN fails to do something, and the agency has failed to do anything on an unfortunate number of occasions – the civil war in Sri Lanka, child prostitution by UN peacekeepers during the 1990s, and the Rwandan genocide, to name just a few. For an organization with a mandate of peace and security, it has done shockingly little. An elected official who failed on such a scale would be voted out of office at the first opportunity. Yet UN officials continue to enjoy their cushy jobs with no serious repercussions. Above all else, this should alarm Americans. Their hard-earned money is going to an organization with absolutely no incentive to do the right thing and no consequences when its people behave badly.
The UN’s supranational nature undermines the very foundation of American democracy. In a recent move to make good on a campaign promise, President Trump announced the formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s true capital, as well as moving the American embassy there. The UN wasted no time in strongly condemning the United States for this action, voting 128-9 in condemnation. US Ambassador Nikki Haley also wasted no time in telling the agency that it has no business telling the US how to conduct itself, and that this country “will not be lectured to by countries that lack any credibility when it comes to treating both Israelis and Palestinians fairly.” Ambassador Haley has it right that an agency full of unelected officials has absolutely no business telling elected American officials what they can or cannot do. The American public chooses its representatives to fulfill its wishes. That is the nature of a democratic nation.
For a while now, many politicians and voters have been disillusioned about the increasing reach of the United Nations. In the wake of the anti-Israel vote this month, President Trump announced this week that the US would cut its funding to the UN by 25%, leaving open the possibility for further cuts in the future. America does not need the agency to do good around the world; there exist many charities to help developing countries in education and healthcare that American taxpayers can choose to contribute to. America is the most charitable nation in the world, and it does not need a bloated bureaucracy to help people outside it borders. President Trump is on the right track. The UN’s lack of accountability, inefficiency, and exploitation of the American taxpayers must end.
Cutting funding is a good first step, but the ultimate goal should be withdrawal from the agency entirely. The world will be better off.