On Jan. 25, the New York Times reported that they had obtained a draft executive order that proposed large cuts from the U.S. federal budget that would affect several international organizations, chief among those, the United Nations.
While the Trump administration has denied that there are executive orders forthcoming on funding for international organizations, they are looking at ways of reviewing the support that is provided to the United Nations.
So what exactly is the United Nations and how does the United States play a role? According to UN.org, the international organization has five major goals: maintain international peace and security, protect human rights, deliver humanitarian aid, promote sustainable development, and uphold international law. To achieve these goals, the UN is made up of 193 member states who contribute financially and vote on resolutions that seek to advance the mission of the UN.
To be a member of the UN, nations must make a mandatory contribution that pays for many UN programs as well as administrative costs. In addition, nations may make voluntary contributions as well. While the voluntary donations have no official effect on decision making at the UN, many leadership positions of UN programs go to the country with the highest donations. (Those interested in learning more about the U.S.’s relationship with the UN should check out Unvanquished by Boutros Boutros-Ghali.)
The leaked executive order reveals that Trump wants to cut voluntary funding to the UN by 40 percent and also seek ways to reduce our mandatory contribution.
These types of cuts would be detrimental to many of the programs that the UN offers to countries and communities around the world. While I understand the need to cut the federal budget in some areas, foreign aid is not the place. Both bilateral and multilateral foreign aid only accounts for just 1 percent of the federal budget.
Recently, some have even called for the U.S. leaving the United Nations, which to me, seems like a terrible idea. Like it or not, we are living in a more global society. If we, as a nation, want to remain a player on the global stage then we have to play the same game as everyone else. We need to have our voices heard at every level or organization: local, national, and international. Without the United Nations, our collective voice gets smaller.