The 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly opens on Tuesday. The following week heads of state and diplomats from around the world will gather in New York and the U.N. headquarters for the General Assembly meeting. Here is what you can expect from the annual party: “commitments” for countries to keep working on the pressing issues of our time, but without any accountability or substance to the compacts.
The United States provides 22 percent of the United Nation’s operating budget and 25 percent of its peacekeeping budget, yet we have little to show for it. So, to mark the opening of this year’s General Assembly, let’s review some of the failures of the United Nations from the last few years.
First, the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty. In 2009, the United Nations set out with the lofty goal of reducing international arms trade to promote international and regional peace. The result? The 2013 United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. But, instead of targeting illicit international arms trade, the treaty infringes on American sovereignty and our Second Amendment rights and would hinder our ability to aid our allies. Despite the Senate sending a strong message that it would not be ratified, President Obama had Secretary Kerry sign it anyway. Thankfully, President Trump withdrew the United States from this treaty in April.
Secondly, U.N. missions fail to meet their desired objectives time after time. The 1978 U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon was created to help the government of Lebanon restore authority within its borders. The effect? The Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah is stronger, despite the fact the United States funds 25 percent of the peacekeeping budget -- and that is a decline from previous levels.
Finally, you can’t talk about the failures of the U.N. without talking about Climategate. Each year, the meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that the U.N. is more interested in advancing a specific policy agenda than scientific integrity, especially after Climategate-the scandal that revealed climate scientists manipulated data to “hide the decline” they were seeing in global temperatures to support their global warming agenda.
I’ve regularly sounded the alarm that the IPCC needed to make significant reforms to its scientific process but was ignored while the organization and Obama administration blindly accepted their findings to impose dozens of flawed, unilateral regulations that held U.S. businesses to an impossible standard while giving a free pass to major polluters like China and India. The damage was significant, and we’re still fighting to undo some of those regulations.
The good news is that we’re starting to change things around under President Trump. For years, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) systematically and unjustly targeted our partner Israel, subjecting them to countless resolutions of condemnation for doing nothing more than defending themselves. All the while — and despite numerous reform efforts — the UNHRC remained silent on the egregious violations of member states such as Venezuela and China.
Last June, President Trump and Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations, stood up for Israel in the face of the United Nations hypocrisy and withdrew our membership from the UNHRC. President Trump recognized that we couldn’t make progress on global human rights while we were hamstrung by a biased organization.
How did the UNHRC respond? They passed a resolution criticizing President Trump for moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, action President Trump took in accordance with U.S. law.
But there is more to be done. President Trump has successfully encouraged our NATO allies to step up their burden-sharing efforts over the last few years. It’s time to demand the same at the United Nations.
President Trump has started this process by making sure the United States is no longer a blank check, but we also need our allies and partners to step up and increase accountability. Fortunately, I’m confident that President Trump and newly-confirmed Ambassador Kelly Craft can get the job done.