By Robert F. Sanchez, JMI Policy Director
When politicians are holed up in the White House haggling over trillions of dollars and a looming deadline to raise the debt ceiling, a chance to save a mere $7.9 billion over the next five years may seem trivial indeed. Even so, there may be good reasons for Congress to consider a suggestion by the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste. CAGW says the federal government could save that amount by trimming its monetary support of the United Nations – not totally, mind you, but by a relatively modest 25 percent.The U.S. taxpayers have long been the U.N.’s principal financial supporters. Currently the U.S. supplies 22 percent of the organization’s general budget and about 27 percent of its peacekeeping budget. For the current fiscal year, the Obama Administration sought $516.3 million for the general budget and some $2.182 billion for the peacekeeping missions. That’s not all of it, though. U.S. taxpayers also provide money for other U.N. entities. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget tallied the total U.S. support of U.N. activities in FY 2009 at $6.347 billion or more, and the tab continues to rise.What are we getting for the allocation to the U.N.’s general budget, which supports an enormous bureaucracy in New York City, Geneva, and other locales? Perhaps the best answer comes from former U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who once declared that “perhaps half of the U.N. work force does nothing useful.”Granted, some U.N. agencies, despite an admixture of bureaucratic waste, do perform some useful work – especially those agencies devoted to combating epidemics, resettling refugees, feeding hungry people, and dispensing aid in places where the U.N. flag is more welcome than the national flags associated with the local populace’s former colonial rulers. Unfortunately, other U.N. agencies are pushing radical agendas – censorship; constant condemnation of Israel; climate change orthodoxy; imposing worldwide standards for curricula in government schools; and centralized planning with extreme forms of population control to achieve “sustainability.” These kinds of initiatives ought to be worrisome to all liberty-loving people.Then there are the U.N.’s laughably hypocritical activities. For instance, the new President of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament is … North Korea. Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council include a roster of noted abusers of human rights – among them, China, Congo, Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. In a token show of selectivity, Libya has been temporarily suspended from this council pending a determination of which kind of oppressive regime will emerge from the chaos in Tripoli.The Obama Administration has just announced that it’s suspending – and possibly cancelling altogether — $800 million of the $2 billion in military aid that it was scheduled to send to Pakistan this year. The U.S. action is intended to send a stern message of displeasure with Pakistan’s failure to act against terrorists operating with impunity from within its borders, some of them evidently with help from elements within Pakistan’s armed forces and intelligence service.Maybe it’s also time to send the United Nations a message: In a world that could use an effective force for peace, U.S. taxpayers are growing weary of sending their precious dollars to fund the U.N.’s dysfunctional combination of fecklessness, hypocrisy, corruption, and waste.