The United Nations sounded the alarm over the U.S. Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposed by the Trump Administration on Wednesday, declaring that if approved, the budget would render key United Nations operations ‘impossible’.
The budget proposal, part of a sweeping plan to balance the budget within 10 years, has ‘targeted reductions’ across the federal government, combined with measures to ensure 3 percent economic growth to eliminate the federal deficit. Part of those targeted reductions includes about a third of U.S. diplomacy and aid budgets, and about $1 billion from U.N. peacekeeping, according to Reuters.
“The figures presented would simply make it impossible for the U.N. to continue all of its essential work advancing peace, development, human rights and humanitarian assistance,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The United States is the largest contributor to the United Nations, paying 22 percent of the overall $5.4 billion budget for the international organization, and 28.5 percent of its $7.9 billion peacekeeping allotment.
Trump has made his skepticism of international organizations like the U.N. part of his “America First” theme, levying sharp criticism of the ponderous bureaucracy and the “unfair” share of the burden the United States bears. But, similar to his previous criticism of NATO, he has not written off the U.N. as a whole.
“If we do a great job, I care much less about the budget because you’re talking about peanuts compared to the important work you’re doing,” Trump told ambassadors from the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council last month. Trump has proposed capping U.S. contributions to U.N. peacekeeping missions at 25 percent, saying “We need the member states to come together to eliminate inefficiency and bloat and make sure that no one nation shoulders a disproportionate share of the burden.”
The budget also recommends a 44 percent reduction in funding for international organizations that “work against U.S. foreign policy interests”
The budget as proposed by this week is by no means finalized, as it must be negotiated and approved by Congress. Although Republicans control both houses of Congress, there is no established consensus among Republicans, some of whom have voiced concern over the number of cuts, while still others say it is not enough. Democrats have indicated universal opposition to the proposal.
Image courtesy of the United Nations