In keeping with his campaign promise to have the United States foot less of the bill for multinational organizations such as NATO and the United Nations, President Donald Trump has directed the State Department to cut U.S. funding of U.N. programs by more than 50 percent, according to a report by Foreign Policy.
This drive for serious budget cuts arrives as the White House is set to release its 2018 topline budget proposal on March 16. The budget proposal is expected to contain a 37 percent reduction to the budgets for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development.
The full extent of President Trump’s proposed cuts to the U.N. is unknown.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has proposed phasing in the biggest cuts over the next three years. A source close to the administration indicated that Tillerson has discretion as to how to best implement the budget cuts.
Approximately $10 billion per year is spent by the U.S. on the U.N. The areas of the U.N. that stand to be most affected by the budget cuts are peacekeeping, UNICEF and the U.N. development program. These programs and functions are funded by the State Department’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs.
It is unclear how programs funded by the Department of Agriculture, such as the World Food Programme and U.N. refugee operations, would be affected.
Foreign Policy stated that the potential cuts to U.N. funding have been confirmed by three sources, one of whom indicated that funding of humanitarian aid programs would be slashed by more than one third.
Word of the expected U.S. funding cuts has reached U.N. officials, and they are very worried.
Stating that the funding reductions would create “chaos” if true, Richard Gowan, U.N. expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations told Foreign Policy: “[It would] leave a gaping hole that other big donors would struggle to fill.” He pointed out that last year the U.S. provided about 37% of the U.N. refugee agency’s $4 billion budget.
Furthermore, Gowan stated, “Multiply that across other humanitarian agencies like the World Food Programme and you are basically talking about the breakdown of the international humanitarian system as we know it.”
The Trump administration had put the U.N. and interested parties on notice in February when they indicated that President Trump’s budget proposal would include $54 billion in spending cuts. The funds cut would then be used for an equal increase in U.S. defense spending.
Cuts to spending on multinational organizations where the U.S. has been played for a sucker by paying a disproportionate amount of the bill. An increase in military spending to ensure international bad actors know the U.S. is more than capable militarily to deal with any fight.
Once again, President Trump is proving that his campaign promises were not just talk. The country will be safer, and more prosperous, under his guidance. Under his watch America comes first.
What do you think of the large proposed cuts to U.N. programs? Share your opinions in the Comments section.