Despite all of the commotion about Comey’s testimony and the Russian Investigation, the world will continue to spin, governments will continue to operate, and Anthony Weiner will continue to use his phone camera for purposes unintended by the manufacturer. Among all of the media hype around that investigation, it seems that discussion on the 2018 Budget Proposal have been lost in the Comey-shuffle.
Some of the changes to the budget will save the country money, some of the changes could dirty the already murky name of the United States. I will not bore you with all of my opinions on that budget proposal, but I did want to bring one issue to your attention. In the budget proposal, serious cuts were made to the funding that the U.S. provides for the United Nations(UN).
Along with a new President, the transfer of power after the 2016 election brought discussions surrounding the virtues of the UN. There are those that fear the idea of an overarching world government, those that are critical about what power the UN actually has, and other critics that think that the structure of the UN needs to be re-evaluated. These are all valid points, but do not appreciate the true value that the UN provides for all of its member states.
All arguments aside, the UN provides a channel of communication for all of the member states of the world. This channel allows delegates to debate the issues that face their individual countries, as well as, the issues that face the world in a constructive and respectful way. Before this channel was established, small indiscretions could lead to full-scale war; a ‘fight now, ask questions later’ kind of mentality was much more prevalent. Through the UN, these disagreements can reach peaceful agreements and treaties that preserve the safety of the member states’ citizens, as well as draft long-term resolutions that align the economic, political, and humanitarian goals of those countries.
Not only does the United Nations provide that channel of communication, but it also helps to address humanitarian concerns and develop sustainable economies in underdeveloped countries. According to the United Nations Foundation(UNF), UN committees and organizations are responsible for over 45% of the vaccinations that have been issued to children all around the world. This kind of aid provides the safety that children, born in unfortunate circumstances, need in order to survive and thrive in their country.
The UN is also responsible for the 2030 agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that seek to alleviate poverty and provide opportunity for all of the people of the world. By building up the other economies of the world, we establish new markets and trading partners that allow us to expand our National Income. Not recognizing this potential, shows the short-term, narrow-minded thinking of many representatives. If we are to remain the most influential nation in the world, which seems very important to many people, the elected officials need to start thinking past their term.
Lastly, a complaint expressed by many Americans, in regards to international policy, is that the United States should not have to be the world police, deploying military support for every country that is, or could become, part of an active conflict. The UN Peacekeepers take some of this burden off of the U.S. According the U.S. State Department, it costs $2.1 million dollars to deploy each military troop to an active war-zone. For the Peacekeepers, according to the UNF, it costs only $70,000. To say that the UN is not effective at solving issues of the world, is quite hypocritical when looking at the inefficiency of the U.S. Congress in passing any bills of substance. In order to decrease our military presence in certain countries around the world, the U.S. must be able to delegate and accept the help of other actors. And on the flip side of this, it is up to the UN, and other member states, to deploy their troops effectively, and not turn their heads when the need for action is upon them.
The UN is something that is necessary for successful diplomatic, if not to better the people of the world, at least to provide all countries a neutral place to debate the problems that face their world. By pulling U.S. funding from the UN, we show the rest of the world where our priorities lie and undermine any influence that the UN has. The U.S. government needs to save face with the world, and return full funding to the 2018 Budget Proposal before lawmakers pass legislation regarding the budget. The U.S. cannot say that it is a nation of virtue, if we reject every chance that allows us to show that virtue. It is time to establish a new generation of politics, a Millennial Phoenix — so to speak.