Skip to comments.The U.S. Should Withdraw from UNESCO
Posted on 10/25/2012 7:28:03 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Last fall, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) granted membership to the Palestinian Authority. President Obama then stopped all U.S. financial contributions to UNESCO, as required by U.S. law.
This didn't sit well with UNESCO director general Irina Bokova. Earlier this month, she ramped up her campaign to get the U.S. to change its law --- in order to get American dollars flowing her way once more.
Bokova argues that UNESCO is a valuable voice for integrity and moderation. To cut its funding is not only improper, she says, but an act that threatens programs vital to U.S. interests.
Yet a close look at some of the examples offered by Bokova reveals that UNESCO is often superfluous or merely convenient rather than critical. Worse, the organization has made a number of poor decisions in recent years, decisions that undercut UNESCO’s claims to be a voice of moderation, ethical standards, and human rights.
Bokova also makes a plea for sympathy, claiming that the funding cutoff was “very unexpected.” In reality, the fact that acceptance of the PA would force the U.S. to stop funds was much discussed weeks before the final vote on October 31, 2011. (See here and here, for example.) Indeed, when asked about it on October 5, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answered, “We are certainly aware of strong legislative prohibition that prevents the United States from funding organizations that jump the gun, so to speak, in recognizing entities before they are fully ready for such recognition.” In subsequent weeks, the administration made UNESCO and the other member states well aware that the law allowed no wiggle room: Funding would be suspended if UNESCO granted membership to the Palestinians.
Earlier this year, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Brad Sherman (D., Calif.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, reiterated the rationale for the law in a bipartisan letter to Secretary Clinton:
This U.S. position and the ensuring U.S. laws were vital in successfully derailing attempts . . . to seek de facto recognition of a Palestinian state from the UN via the granting of membership to “Palestine” in UN agencies. . . .
A UN body that acts so irresponsibly — a UN body that admits states that do not exist — renders itself unworthy of U.S. taxpayer dollars. . . .
Weakening U.S. law, on the other hand, would undermine our interests and our ally Israel by providing a green light for other UN bodies to admit “Palestine” as a member.
Bokova is right about one thing, however. It is inappropriate for the U.S. to maintain UNESCO membership while simultaneously prohibiting all funding to the organization. This leads to an accrual of arrears, creates budgetary uncertainty for UNESCO, and may fuel false hopes in Bokova and others that U.S. funding will be forthcoming. The U.S. should address these issues by withdrawing from UNESCO.
— Brett D. Schaefer is the Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs at the Heritage Foundation.
Nothing the UN does is vital to US interests. Get out now and cut all funding
Reagan got us out of it and pandering Bush Jr. got us back into it. Idiot!!
Better yet, since the UN is nothing more than a VIP lounge for dictators and tyrants, throw the bums out. Even though te UN campus is an excellent example of mid-20th century architecture, tear it all down and sell the site to Donald Trump for $1. Let him negotiate with the Mohawks and the NFL to put up a casino and stadium so we can bring the Giants and Jets back to NYC were they belong.
Brett/NR, why limit getting out to UNESCO, get out of the d*** UN!
Not just that but kick the UN out of NY and send them some were else.
Think of all the money they would bring to Sudan if the headquarters were based there.
UNESCO has been a Communist/Soviet controlled office since the inception of the UN. Alger Hiss was the “designer” of the UN and it’s offices
The UN and its’ agencies depend upon member contributions but no member can request an audit of spending without agreement from both the UN Administration and the UN General Assembly.
I remember the infamous “Oil for Food” run by the UN for the benefit of Iraq’s Sadam Hussein and his cronies with a nice ‘facilitation’ fee going to such stalwart fellows as the UN program administrator and the son of the then UN Secretary General.
Sorry UNESCO, not interested! And while on the subject of the UN, this is why there should be no financial transaction fees or carbon taxes going to the UN. The end results will be corruption and a constant drumbeat for more and more. The UN would be the camel sticking his nose into the tent.
Too many letters in the title. Just get out of the UN and all those little niggling program$ go away.