Guest essay by Eric Worrall
EXCLUSIVE White House Seeks to Cut Billions in Funding for United Nations
U.S. retreat from U.N. could mark a “breakdown of the international humanitarian system as we know it.”
State Department staffers have been instructed to seek cuts in excess of 50 percent in U.S. funding for U.N. programs, signaling an unprecedented retreat by President Donald Trump’s administration from international operations that keep the peace, provide vaccines for children, monitor rogue nuclear weapons programs, and promote peace talks from Syria to Yemen, according to three sources.
The push for such draconian measures comes as the White House is scheduled on Thursday to release its 2018 budget proposal, which is expected to include cuts of up to 37 percent for spending on the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign assistance programs, including the U.N., in next year’s budget. The United States spends about $10 billion a year on the United Nations.
The cuts would fall heaviest on U.N. programs, like peacekeeping, UNICEF, and the U.N. Development Programme, that are funded out of the budget of the State Department’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs. It remains to be seen whether other U.N. agencies popular with Congress, like the World Food Programme and U.N. refugee operations — which are funded out of separate accounts in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the State Department, respectively — will get hit as hard. But one source tracking the budget proposal said the Trump administration is considering cuts of up to 36 percent on humanitarian aid programs.
The United States has to pay just over 22 percent of the U.N.’s $2.5 billion administrative budget. Additionally, Washington pays billions of dollars for peacekeepers and helps underwrite a swath of other programs that fight hunger, settle refugees, and battle climate change.
There are no details of specific cuts to UN Climate Change programmes, but it seems likely they will be cut.
My question – why not cut 100%? How does anonymising aid money through the UN bureaucracy benefit US taxpayers? If a country wants to receive the generosity of United States, say to help with resolving a crisis, the leader of that country should appeal in public, in person to President Trump, so the whole world knows where the aid money is coming from.