Slashing US dues to UN a step backward

Passing a Republican-proposed bill that would slash US dues to the UN bodies that back Palestinian statehood would be a step backward for Washington, says David Shorr from the Stanley Foundation.

It does not make sense, Shorr argued, to punish the institution for the politics that take place there.

On Tuesday, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced legislation that would block US funds for any UN body that supports the Palestinian push for recognition.

The Obama administration is staunchly opposed to the bill, saying it would undermine Washington's international standing.

The legislation is reflective of the ideologically extreme positions that Republicans have taken. The bill reveals a problem with US domestic politics and foreign policy, Shorr said.

However, he is skeptical that the legislation will be passed.

There is a long way to go between proposing these ideas and having them actually take effect legislatively,” Shorr noted.

Ros-Lehtinen is also seeking to ban US contributions to the UN Human Rights Council, which she argued is a platform for anti-Israeli rhetoric.

Shorr warned against expecting the UN to prove its worth by only holding discussions and positions with which the US is agreeable.

The legislation would be a step backward, he warned, recalling that it was only recently that the US fell behind on its UN contributions and membership dues.

The proper way to look at the United Nations is as a venue, a location, where diplomacy and international politics take place,” he declared.

­Ramzy Baroud, editor of Palestine Chronicle, online news magazine and journal, says the Republicans “have made their fight against the UN” an important part of US foreign policy.

“The war on the UN has been launched for years and years, and it continues until today," he said. "US threats regarding the issue of cutting funds are very serious and very important."