NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Is The UN Even Necessary?

August 20, 1996

A growing number of critics are objecting to the United Nations' bloated bureaucracy, spiraling costs and quest for greater powers. They question whether the U.S. should even continue to participate.

  • They charge that the U.N. is being transformed from an institution of sovereign nations into a qusi-sovereign entity.
  • The U.S. contributes more than $3.5 billion to it each year -- money that flows to its hundreds of agencies, commissions, committees and subcommittees.
  • The budget for the secretary-general is $1 billion a year and the total cost of peace-keeping operations has grown from $230 million in 1988 to $3.6 billion in 1994 -- of which the U.S. share is nearly $1.2 billion.

Critics propose that if the U.S. continues to be a part of the organization:

  • A cut of at least 50 percent should be made in the U.N. bureaucracy, including the termination of unnecessary committees and conferences.
  • The secretary-general should be limited to a bare-bones budget of $250 million, and other UN activities should be funded on a voluntary basis.

Critics say the time has come for the U.S. to deliver an ultimatum: either the UN reforms quickly and dramatically, or the U.S. will end its participation.

Source: Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), "An Ultimatum for the UN: Reform or Die," Wall Street Journal, August 20, 1996.


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