It is remarkable that lawmakers in Washington are considering slashing our financial commitments to multilateral institutions such as the United Nations with so much ongoing global turmoil. Withholding funds from the United Nations would fail to reap significant savings, make it more difficult for our nation to lead, and seriously undermine our highest foreign policy and national security priorities.
And yet many Republicans hammer away at the importance of cutting—or at least condi- tioning—our financial contributions to the United Nations. They are afraid our continued engagement with the organization will lead to a diminished American sovereignty or they see cutting funds as a tool to press for greater reform within the organization.
But those arguments don’t make sense. History shows that robust U.S. engagement is actually the best way to reform the institution. Ironically, cutting funds now also means we are shifting our obligations onto future generations since U.N. membership still requires dues even if Congress cuts the budget. Restricting U.S. support for the United Nations ultimately has a much higher price tag than it does savings as doing so substantially decreases our political legitimacy while costing America money and jobs.
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