Revolting: Republicans Now Want to Blackmail UN Into Doing Their Bidding

 If "moving to another continent" is your contingency plan should the present incarnation of Republicans gain more power, think again: House Republicans are set to introduce a bill that would use the US contribution to the United Nations budget (20 percent of it) as leverage to force the organization to change how it operates, reports Bloomberg. Blackmail. Just when you thought it couldn't get more disgusting:

The bill by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, would require the UN to adopt a voluntary budget model in which countries selectively fund UN agencies rather than according to a set formula. It would end funding for Palestinian refugees, limit use of U.S. funds to only purposes outlined by Congress and stop contributions to peacekeeping operations until management changes are made.

The legislation represents the leading edge of Republican moves against the world body at a time when the Obama administration is increasingly building its foreign policy around multilateral institutions, making the alliance-based approach central to its stance on Libya.[...]

Ros-Lehtinen’s aim in shifting the UN budget to a voluntary system is to encourage competition for funds and therefore elicit more effective performance from UN agencies, said a House aide familiar with the legislation. He wasn’t authorized to speak on the record.

The bill’s timing runs counter to the emergence of the administration’s “Obama Doctrine” of working with others to address international issues, particularly those that don’t pose an immediate security threat to the U.S., said Jeffrey Laurenti, a UN analyst at the Century Foundation, a New York-based economic, political and social research foundation.

“After two years of the closest and most productive cooperation in decades at the UN between Washington and the rest of the international community, it is hard to understand why Republicans in the House of Representatives are determined to poison the well,” Laurenti wrote in a blog post yesterday.

Of course, this wouldn't have anything to do with the Republicans' recent tactic of trying to sabotage anything the President tries to do, as a strategy to win 2012? Maybe. It's also in line with their disdain for government funding of any program that actually helps people. Bloomberg reports that the bill would cut 10 percent of US funding for "peacekeeping operations, which are assessed based on each member nation’s relative share of the global economy."

Obviously, the bill won't pass—the Senate and the President will make sure of that—making it another symbolic waster of time and taxpayer money put forth by Republicans. But if it did, it would obviously have disastrous effects on the country's relations with the UN. 

Groups that promote strong U.S.-UN relations, such as the Washington-based Better World Initiative, said the bill would undermine U.S. influence at the UN.

“We are hard-pressed to find a moment in history where the UN has had a greater role in promoting American interests,” said Executive Director Peter Yeo in an e-mail. The bill would “severely erode America’s leadership role at the United Nations and undermine our nation’s security.”

Just another day in America, 2011. 

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at August 30, 2011, 4:59am

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