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International Organizations

The United States belongs to dozens of multilateral organizations, from large and well-known organizations such as NATO, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the United Nations to relatively small niche organizations such as the Universal Postal Union and the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. The FY 2011 request for “Contributions to International Organizations” under the U.S. Department of State budget included line items for U.S. contributions to some fifty distinct international organizations and budgets. The decisions and policies of these organizations directly and indirectly impact U.S. foreign policy, security and commercial interests. The U.S. should use its influence in these organizations to ensure that American interests are protected.

Our Research & Offerings on International Organizations
  • Issue Brief posted July 5, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis NATO Summit 2016: The Alliance Must Deepen the NATO–Ukraine Partnership

    The upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw is an opportunity for the alliance to provide realistic and meaningful support to Ukraine. It has been over 28 months since Russia invaded Ukraine. Since that time, Russia has annexed Crimea, consolidated its position in the Black Sea, and created a frozen conflict in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s invasion has cost 10,000 lives and…

  • Issue Brief posted June 24, 2016 by Luke Coffey NATO Summit 2016: Why the Alliance Cannot Afford to Ignore Turkey

    With a focus on Russia’s actions in the Baltic region and Eastern Europe, the July NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland, offers an opportunity for NATO to re-focus on another area of recent Russian saber rattling, along Turkey’s borders. NATO needs to agree to a strategy that ensures that its southeastern flank remains secure and recognizes the vital role that Turkey plays for…

  • Issue Brief posted June 22, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis NATO Summit 2016: The Alliance Must Defend the Baltic States

    The July NATO summit in Warsaw offers an opportunity to focus on one of the most complex regions the alliance is obligated to defend: the Baltic States. NATO should think strategically and take long-term measures that include the eventual permanent basing of troops in the region, the establishment of a Baltic Air Defense mission, and a commitment to regular training…

  • Backgrounder posted June 21, 2016 by Daniel Kochis, Brian Slattery Iceland: Outsized Importance for Transatlantic Security

    The United States is a global power with global interests. These interests include ensuring that the sea lanes of the North Atlantic remain open to the flow of commerce and information, and that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) remains a bulwark that ensures peace and security for its member states. Iceland, one of the 12 original NATO members, has been an…

  • Issue Brief posted June 17, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis NATO Summit 2016: NATO Must Reaffirm Its “Open Door” Policy

    NATO has underpinned Europe and North America’s security for more than 67 years, so it is no surprise that many countries in the transatlantic region that are not already members want to join the alliance. NATO’s “open door” policy is critical to mobilizing Europe and its allies around a collective transatlantic defense. The U.S. should use the 2016 Warsaw summit in early…

  • Issue Brief posted June 16, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis NATO Summit 2016: Time for an Arctic Strategy

    The upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland, offers an opportunity for the alliance to finally focus on a region it has long ignored: the Arctic. Economic, oil and gas, and shipping opportunities are increasing in the region—as are Russian military capabilities. Even so, NATO does not have an agreed Arctic strategy. The U.S. should use the July summit to place the Arctic…

  • Issue Brief posted June 15, 2016 by Daniel Kochis, Luke Coffey NATO Summit 2016: Alliance Members Must Commit to Increased Defense Spending

    The July NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland, offers an opportunity for the alliance to build on commitments of the 2014 summit in Wales regarding defense spending and increased military capability. As an ally that has prioritized defense spending, Poland is a fitting host for the 2016 NATO summit. The U.S. should reverse its own defense cuts and find creative ways to press its…

  • Issue Brief posted June 14, 2016 by Luke Coffey NATO Summit 2016: Keeping Georgia on the Membership Track

    The early July NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland, offers an opportunity for the alliance to thank Georgia for its contribution in Afghanistan, congratulate Georgia on its military reforms, and lay the groundwork for deeper cooperation paving the way to eventual membership. The U.S. should continue to support Georgia’s NATO aspirations and ensure that the summit delivers a…

  • Issue Brief posted April 29, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis The 1997 NATO–Russia Founding Act Does Not Prohibit Permanent NATO Bases in Eastern Europe

    It is widely believed that in 1997, NATO promised Russia that it would not establish permanent military bases in any former Warsaw Pact countries that might someday become NATO members. This is in fact a myth that has been perpetuated by the Kremlin’s propaganda machine, as well as by the lack of diligent research and basic knowledge among commentators, politicians, and…

  • Issue Brief posted April 28, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis The Role of Sweden and Finland in NATO’s Defense of the Baltic States

    Militarily speaking, the three Baltic States—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—are isolated from other NATO members. It would be extremely difficult, but not impossible, for NATO to respond to an incident in the Baltic region without the acquiescence of non-NATO Finland and Sweden. Russia knows this—and exploits this weakness to its advantage. The U.S. must plan for any…

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  • Backgrounder posted August 18, 2009 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves The U.S. Should Not Join the International Criminal Court

    The idea of establishing an international court to prosecute serious international crimes--war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide--has long held a special place in the hearts of human rights activists and those hoping to hold perpetrators of terrible crimes to account. In 1998, that idea became reality when the Rome Statute of the International Criminal…

  • Backgrounder posted May 6, 1997 by Bryan T. Johnson The International Monetary Fund: Outdated, Ineffective, andUnnecessary

    Introduction Founded 53 years ago in the turbulent era of the 1940s to stabilize the world economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)1 has become outdated, ineffective, and unnecessary. Most of the economic conditions that led to the IMF's creation no longer exist; in addition, the Fund has failed to achieve most of its own newly defined roles, a preponderance…

  • Issue Brief posted October 17, 2014 by David S. Addington Ebola: U.S. Government Civilian and Military Assistance in West Africa

    The U.S. government has substantial efforts under way in West Africa to provide humanitarian assistance to combat the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease and thereby also help prevent the spread of Ebola elsewhere. U.S. government civilians under the direction of the U.S. ambassador, and U.S. military personnel under the Commander of the Joint Force Command (JFC), work…

  • Backgrounder posted January 4, 1988 by Juliana Geran The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization: Becoming Part of theProblem

    (Archived document, may contain errors) 626 January 4, 1988 THE U.N.'s. FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION BECOMING PART OF THE PROBLEM IN"RODUCIT0N This once more is testimony, as it was just a few years ago, to the failure of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization hungry. It has n ot done so, despite over $8 billion in outlays. The sad fact is…

  • Executive Memorandum posted April 10, 1997 by John Hillen Sunk In Helsinki: NATO After The Summit

    While Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin both proclaimed victory in their recent Helsinki summit, the NATO alliance may have been the loser. In fact, the future of NATO as the military alliance through which the United States protects its vital interests in Europe was greatly undermined by the Helsinki summit. U.S. negotiators made three major errors that…

  • Backgrounder on October 19, 1983 The U.S. and UNESCO at a Crossroads

    (Archived document, may contain errors) 298 October 19, 1983 TU US. AND UNESCO AT.A CROSSROADS Owen Harries INTRODUCTION The United States is conducting.what is officially described as a itfundamental reappraisali1 of its policy toward one part of the U.N. system, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organ ization It is…

  • Backgrounder posted August 26, 1986 by Stanley J. UNCTAD: Testing the Reagan Commitment to Third World Growth

    (Archived document, may contain errors) 530 I August 26, 1986 U.N. C'ONFERENCE ON TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT TO THIRD WORLD GROWTH I I T ESTING THE REAGAN COMMITMENT a 3 INTRODUCTION In several days, U.S. officials will be flying to Geneva to attend the 33nd meeting of the Trade and Development Board of the United Nations Conference on Trade and…

  • Lecture posted October 3, 2006 by Brett D. Schaefer The Status of United Nations Reform

    Produced by the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom(Delivered September 11, 2006) Sixty years ago, the United Nations was founded to maintain international peace and security, promote self-determination and basic human rights, and protect fundamental freedoms. Sadly, weaknesses in the organization have prevented it from fully realizing these high…

  • Backgrounder posted December 20, 1993 by Thomas P. No More Somali as: Reconsidering Clinton's Doctrine of MilitaryHumanitarianism

    (Archived document, may contain errors) No. 968 INTRODUCTION The United States has long been a great humanitarian nation. Throughout its history it has come to the aid of, distressed people worldwide. Increasingly, these humanitarian efforts have involved the U.S military, as when American servicemen helped cyclone victims in Bangladesh in 1991. Yet the most recent use of…

  • Backgrounder posted October 22, 1999 by Brett D. Schaefer Does U.S. Foreign Assistance Elicit Support for U.S. Policy? Not at the United Nations

    With President Bill Clinton's veto of the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill on October 18, 1999, Congress will be forced to consider foreign assistance appropriations again this year. Congress had included $12.7 billion in appropriations for foreign assistance and international organizations in this bill, nearly $2 billion less than the Administration had…

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  • Issue Brief posted October 17, 2014 by David S. Addington Ebola: U.S. Government Civilian and Military Assistance in West Africa

    The U.S. government has substantial efforts under way in West Africa to provide humanitarian assistance to combat the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease and thereby also help prevent the spread of Ebola elsewhere. U.S. government civilians under the direction of the U.S. ambassador, and U.S. military personnel under the Commander of the Joint Force Command (JFC), work…

  • Issue Brief posted July 2, 2014 by Romina Boccia The IMF Is Following the Obama Administration’s Playbook on the Federal Budget

    The International Monetary Fund’s report on its 2014 Article IV Consultation with the United States risks encouraging inaction by U.S. lawmakers on adopting structural entitlement reforms to control U.S. spending and debt growth. The IMF report suggests institutional budget reforms to “lessen fiscal policy uncertainty,” citing “recent experience of debt ceiling…

  • Issue Brief posted April 30, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves, James Phillips Palestinian Intent to Accede to 15 Treaties and U.S. Response

    President Mahmoud Abbas announced on April 1 that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will seek to join 15 international conventions and treaties. This is a new facet of the existing Palestinian policy of seeking international recognition by other governments and membership in international organizations to bolster claims of statehood absent a negotiated peace treaty with…

  • Issue Brief posted April 23, 2014 by Ana Quintana Crisis in Venezuela: UNASUR and U.S. Foreign Policy

    Earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress not to respond to the Venezuelan government’s deadly crackdown against the democratic opposition. Recent high-level talks between the Venezuelan government and select members of the opposition have led the Secretary to mistakenly believe that the crisis will soon end. Additionally, he urged Congress to avoid…

  • Issue Brief posted March 24, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer 11 Issues for Congress in the President’s FY 2015 International Affairs Budget Request

    President Barack Obama released his fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposal on March 4, 2014. Although much of the budget reflects long-standing programmatic and budgetary practice, there are 11 specific issues that Congress should address. The President’s FY 2015 budget request for International Affairs (IA) totals $50.01 billion, including a base budget of $44.1 billion…

  • Issue Brief posted February 26, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer U.S. Should Demand Increased Transparency and Accountability as U.N. Revenues Rise

    United Nations system revenues nearly tripled between 2002 and 2012 from nearly $15 billion to $41.5 billion. Cumulatively, the U.N. received more than $312 billion over that period. The U.S. has been and remains the U.N. system’s largest contributor, providing approximately one-fifth of total contributions on average annually over that period. Incomplete data make a…

  • Issue Brief posted December 20, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer U.S. Needs Financial Leverage to Hold Line on U.N. Budget

    The United Nations’ regular budget has grown reliably over the past six decades, with particularly sharp growth over the past decade. Last year seemed promising, as the initial U.N. regular budget for 2012–2013 was lower than the final expenditures for the previous biennial budget. However, that reduction was largely achieved through the negotiating gimmick of deferring…

  • Issue Brief posted October 19, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.S. Should Withdraw from UNESCO

    Last fall, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) granted membership to the Palestinian Authority. It did so despite clear warnings from Washington that this would necessitate an immediate freeze on all U.S. funding to the agency. Subsequently, President Obama stopped all U.S. financial contributions to the organization as required…

  • Backgrounder posted August 6, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer United Nations: Credits Owed Should Be Returned to Member States

    Abstract: For years, the United Nations has retained surplus appropriations for closed peacekeeping operations and credits owed to the U.S. from the Tax Equalization Fund. U.N. financial rules and regulations state that the U.N. should “surrender” these funds (reimburse or credit them toward related assessments) after a specified period. Instead, the U.N. has retained…

  • Issue Brief posted July 31, 2012 by Morgan Lorraine Roach, Brett D. Schaefer How the New African Union Leadership Should Improve the Organization

    For the African Union (AU) Commission, the election earlier this month of South Africa’s Home Affairs minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as chair offers a chance to address issues that have hindered the organization’s image and its impact on the continent. The new leader should provide leadership in pressing the organization to respond more effectively to the…

Find more work on International Organizations
Find more work on International Organizations