Count on Trump to reverse course and put America first. It’s even worth asking whether the United States should withdraw from the organization entirely, as veteran journalist and UN watchdog Claudia Rosett urges in her new book “What To Do About the U.N.”
Reform should start with peacekeeping. The UN Security Council has exclusive authority to approve these missions. There have been more than 50 in hotspots around the world since 1990. The United States has a Security Council veto, but too often it has failed to use it to prevent wasteful missions or redirect them to better purposes. UN forces can only go into a country if its government consents, which means peacekeepers stay for years to prop up dictatorships that have little local support. Otherwise they’re kept out altogether.
Even worse, UN forces have become notorious for raping women and children. Peacekeepers sent to the Central African Republic were accused of raping more than 100 girls in one community. Four of the girls were allegedly tied up and forced to have sex with a dog. Amnesty International for years has been drawing attention to these sexual crimes and their pervasiveness. Sexual assaults by UN personnel have been documented in Bosnia, Burundi, Cambodia, Congo, Guinea, Haiti, Kosovo Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Mali and Sudan.
Are all peacekeeping missions futile? No, but the United States should impose more ethical oversight and clearer definitions of purpose before bankrolling them.
In Lebanon, Rosett reports, UN peacekeeping forces regularly turn a blind eye as Hezbollah terrorists truck in weapons intended for use against Israel. That’s just one reason Trump’s healthy skepticism of the United Nations is welcome news for Israel. When a UN affiliate released a report last week charging Israel with operating an “apartheid state” to victimize Palestinians, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley demanded its retraction — and succeeded.
The Trump administration’s unequivocal support for Israel at the United Nations is a stark improvement over President Barack Obama’s decision to sit on his hands last December, when the UN denounced Israel’s West Bank settlements. (Even worse, the Obama administration may have facilitated the anti-Israel resolution.)
Before taking office, Trump dismissed the United Nations as “just a club for people to get together, talk, and have a good time.” In fact, it’s much worse than that, and the president’s budget shows he’s ready to shake things up.
Our new president knows that self-styled global do-gooders exploit American generosity while sacrificing American interests. He’s having none of it.
Though we are the UN’s largest backer, the organization has ignored the real threats to US security. It has done nothing to halt Islamic terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS, instead ginning up false claims against Israel.
Better to spend US dollars fortifying our own defense capabilities rather than on UN peacekeeping boondoggles around the globe.
Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.