The Obama administration has a love affair with the United Nations, which it has elevated to center stage of its foreign policy of “engagement” – a euphemism for appeasement. Obama has promised to address America’s “priorities” in the UN and warned that not following “the United Nation’s demands” (sic) would make “all people less safe.”
Neither Obama nor his current ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has demonstrated any tangible evidence of pressing for meaningful reforms in the dysfunctional world body. The United States continues to contribute nearly a quarter of the UN’s total budget – far too much. Removing any leverage that we had for insisting on more transparency and accountability in the bloated, corrupt UN bureaucracy, Obama decided to pay up all past amounts owed – hundreds of millions of dollars in arrears accumulated between 2005 and 2008. His administration has also opposed imposing conditions on payment of UN dues and pledges of voluntary contributions going forward.
Moreover, the Obama administration decided that the United States should join, and thereby legitimize, perhaps the most morally bankrupt UN body of all – the radical Islamic-dominated United Nations Human Rights Council. This grossly misnamed organization counts among its members Libya, Saudi Arabia, China and Cuba. Now the United States is sitting alongside them, while they ram through resolutions, subsequently adopted by the UN General Assembly, which declare that defaming Islam is a violation of international law. When it isn’t busy passing resolutions seeking to suppress freedom of speech, the council spends most of its time persecuting Israel for defending itself against terrorist attacks.
The United Nations is also planning to rub salt in the wounds of Americans observing the 10th anniversary of the 9⁄11 attacks next year. While our nation remembers the nearly 3,000 innocent people who perished on September 11, 2001, dignitaries from all over the world will be assembling at the UN’s New York headquarters next September to mark the 10th anniversary of the Durban Conference on Racism, which was hijacked by the radical Islamists and other enemies of the United States and Israel.
The U.S. delegation meekly protested and voted no on the Yemen-sponsored resolution to hold the Durban conference in New York next year, which passed 121 to 19 with 35 abstentions. But the UN dues we pay will be used to help subsidize this hate fest against Israel and Western democracies, not to mention all of the additional expense the federal and local governments will be incurring on security.
But wait. Help may be on the way from the incoming Republican chairwoman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who vowed:
I plan on using U.S. contributions to international organizations as leverage to press for real reform of those organizations, such as the United Nations.
As for the Human Rights Council, which Rep. Ros-Lehtinen has described as an asylum run by the inmates, she will hopefully use her power to derail the Obama-supplied gravy train. The incoming House Foreign Affairs committee chairwoman has indicated as much when she warned that she would not hesitate “to call for withdrawal of U.S. funds to failed entities like the discredited Human Rights Council if improvements are not made.”
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen knows a phony, corrupt organization when she sees one, which explains the “C” rating she received this year from an advocacy group that foolishly promotes U.S. engagement with and support for the UN. Thankfully, she will be replacing Democratic Rep. Howard Berman (Calif.),who got an “A-plus” from the same advocacy group. This is one marking system that makes an “F” the right grade to strive for.
In a refreshing departure from the Obama policy of unconditional negotiations with the rogue state of Iran and kid glove treatment of Syria and North Korea, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said:
My worldview is clear. Isolate and hold our enemies accountable, while supporting and strengthening our allies. I support strong sanctions and other penalties against those who aid violent extremists, brutalize their own people, and have time and time again rejected calls to behave as responsible nations. Rogue regimes never respond to anything less than hardball.
Hopefully, with the Republicans in the majority in the House, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen will resubmit and successfully push through her UN Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act, which received the support of 106 co-sponsors in this Congressional session; all Republicans.
This bill would withhold non-voluntary U.S. contributions to the regular budget of the United Nations unless the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that 80 percent of the total regular budget of the United Nations is apportioned on a voluntary basis. It would also withhold non-voluntary U.S. contributions to any UN human rights treaty monitoring body or committee that was established by a convention or a covenant to which the United States is not party.
Furthermore, the bill would withhold U.S. contributions to the United Nations Human Rights Council until the Secretary of State certifies to Congress that the Council does not include, for example, a member state subject to Security Council sanctions, a member state which the Secretary has determined is a government that has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism or a member state which the president has designated as a country of particular concern for religious freedom. Aside from pressing for operational and budget reforms at the UN, the bill would the direct the president to use U.S. influence at the United Nations to combat anti-Semitism at the United Nations.
Is that really so much to ask, or will Obama’s love affair with the United Nations continue to blind him to reality?
Finally, we will have an influential proponent for change at the United Nations that we can really believe in. Let’s see whether the Democratic-controlled Senate or President Obama will be foolish enough to resist.
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.