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The betting at the United Nations, our Benny Avni tells us, is that the revolution in respect of the world body the being plotted by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen will never come to pass. Her scheme is, according to a dispatch at Politico, is to confront the “stew of corruption, mismanagement, and negligence” at Turtle Bay with a law requiring the United Nations to adopt what is called a voluntary budget model. The idea is that each country would choose how to direct the taxpayer funds it pays into the United Nations system. Its attraction is that it gets around the common protest met by those who would defund the world body entirely — “parts of it do some good.”
It seems that the mandarins at the United Nations are snickering that even if the Ros-Lehtinen measure were to pass the House it wouldn’t get through the Senate, and even if by some miracle it were to pass the Senate it wouldn’t get past President Obama, who, the United Nations seems to have concluded, will be president forever. All of which would be double the reason to congratulate Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen on her demarche, which, according to the dispatch of Politico, is due to be unveiled this week by the congresswoman from Florida.
We comprehend that Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen’s United Nations bill will be uphill sledding. The dream of world government that caught fire at Lake Success is, for many, a hard one to let go of. That is the only thing that can explain the fact that the United States is paying anything at all into the United Nations. The world body that ushered the State of Israel into existence, creating the homeland in which the Jews would be redeemed, has turned into an engine of the movement to isolate, and even destroy, the state it created. That is but one of its many disappointments.
Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen’s idea of member states being able to direct how their funding to the United Nations is to be targeted isn’t entirely new, as Mr. Avni pointed out in his dispatch yesterday. What is new is the emergence of Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen as major power on the Hill. This is something to be marked by the United Nations. Feature what happened in respect of Cuba. For a while before the 2008 elections, it looked as if America’s embargo on the communist regime would be eased. Then voters handed control of the Congress to the Republicans, Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen emerged as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations. The entente with Cuba was stopped colder than a mackerel.
Newsmax, in a dispatch yesterday, notes that Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen’s pending bill is an “updated version” of the United Nations Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act, which she first introduced in 2007. Politico characterizes Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen’s “leverage for change at the U.N.” as stemming from the “large amount of the international body’s budget that the American taxpayer has traditionally been responsible for.” It notes that America pays 22% of the U.N.’s regular operations budget and is assessed 27% of the peacekeeping budget, all totaling something like $3.35 billion in 2010. Our own instinct here is that Congress would best take a cue from Teddy Roosevelt’s line about walking softly and carrying a big stick. The United Nations plutocrats will take the Congress seriously when Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen wins passage of her reform.