U.N. Dues Could Be Put To Better Use

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Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth has introduced a bill on U.S. dues to the U.N. that he hopes will prompt serious discussions about U.N. reforms.

The time is right. We still have young men and women in Iraq. They are still in danger.

"The outrages (of the U.N) are not limited to the meltdown over Iraq. Cuba began its recent crackdown on dissidents as it was elected to a new three-year term on the U.N.'s human rights commission. That commission is being chaired by Libya, and includes some of the worst abusers of human rights in the world, including Vietnam, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Zimbabwe," Hayworth said in a release about the bill.

His bill would reduce the U.S. contribution to the organization by more than $240 million annually, but would not affect our payments for U.N. peacekeeping operations, voluntary programs and membership organizations. It would limit the U.S. to paying no more than the largest assessed contribution of any of the other four permanent, veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council.

Under current law, the U.S. contribution is fixed at 22 percent of the regular budget, or $341 million for the current year, according to Hayworth's release. With the revised formula being suggested by the congressman, we would pay $100 million annually, matching that of France, the second highest contributor.

"Our veto power should cost no more than that of any other permanent members, China, France, Russia, or the United Kingdom ... The current dues arrangement is particularly objectionable when you consider that each of the other permanent members of the Security Council regularly vote against U.S. proposals," Hayworth said.

According to State Department records of Security Council votes in 2002, China voted against the U.S. position on issues of importance 80 percent of the time; Russia opposed the U.S. 78 percent of the time; followed by France and the U.K. at 50 percent.

In the grand scheme of the U.S. budget, a savings of $240 annually may not be much, but it is certainly money that could be redirected to internal concerns, such as forest health.

Hayworth is currently seeking co-sponsors for his bill. We need to write to the entire Arizona delegation in Washington, and to the legislators representing the states from which we migrated, and urge them to support Hayworth's proposal.

We may be the one remaining true superpower in the world, and that carries super responsibilities, but those responsibilities don't need to include supporting an agency that so rarely supports our position.

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