Unfortunately for American citizens, the United States is the world’s sugar daddy. Nations of all kinds have relied upon our humanitarian, economic, and military assistance for decades, while doing next to nothing to stand on their own. It’s rather enraging, but it’s made worse when these same folks routinely bite the hand that feeds them.
When it comes to the United Nations, the US not only disproportionately funds it and the participating nations, but it’s also one of the most heavily criticized members. Adding to the disrespect is that more often than not, the international body sides against the US. Trump has recognized the fecklessness of the UN, having threatened to cut funding on occasion. But after continued betrayals, the president’s decided that since threats aren’t getting the message across, it’s time to start showing he’s serious.
As reported at Breitbart, the Trump administration told the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Tuesday that the US will be shaving down its annual contribution to the agency by several tens of millions.
While the president has heeded the sage advice of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, who wanted him to go ahead and deliver part of the usual payment rather than cut it altogether, the remaining $65 billion is being withheld “for future consideration.”
“There is a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of UNRWA, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded,” a State Department official said. The same official said that the intent is to encourage “burden-sharing” by the many free-loading UN members.
“The United States has been UNRWA’s single largest donor for decades. In years past, we contributed some 30 percent of UNRWA’s total income,” he said.
“Without the funds we are providing today, UNRWA operations were at risk of running out of funds and closing down. The funds provided by the United States will prevent that from happening for the immediate future.”
A big reason UNRWA is being targeted for cuts specifically is their work with Palestinians “refugees,” about which there have been years of debate over the definition. Earlier in the month, UNRWA refused to give a number when asked to provide an accurate estimate of the total number of Palestinian “refugees.”
Their lack of a response came in the aftermath of a Lebanese census that estimated the number to be one-third of UNRWA’s 500,000 claim.
UNRWA runs camps and projects for Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. On its website, the agency claims “5.1 million refugees” are “covered by our protection mandate,” which includes the 500,000 it claims are in Lebanon.
The UN agency defines a Palestinian “refugee” in a manner that is different from all other refugees worldwide. The international body has another agency, the UNHRC, which ministers to the world’s refugees other than Palestinians. Only Palestinian “refugees” have a separate agency — UNRWA.
The UNHRC has a concrete definition of what a refugee is: “A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.”
UNRWA, however, has an incredibly broad definition of what constitutes a Palestinian refugee. Regardless of UNRWA’s misappropriation of funds and dubious mission, the reality is that the UN and its members have been riding America’s coattails for far too long. It’s about time they take some responsibility for themselves and the brave new world that so many of them talk about an envision. It’s time they put their money and actions where their mouths have been these past few decades.