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  • Issue Brief posted August 21, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. The U.S. Must Uphold the Arms Trade Treaty’s Limits at the First Conference of States Parties

    The first Conference of States Parties (CSP) to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) will be held in Cancun, Mexico, on August 24–27, 2015. This CSP will establish the rules of procedure for this and all future CSPs, decide how to organize and fund the treaty secretariat, adopt procedures for the reporting mandated by the treaty, and perhaps begin the campaign to amend the treaty.…

  • Commentary posted August 19, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, Ambassador Terry Miller The UN Turns Its Economic Development Goals to Mush

    The United Nations is quite proud of its Millennium Development Goals - the criteria it uses to measure the success of economic development programs. In a 2013 report, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "modestly" stated that "Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history." Of course, this is vastly…

  • Commentary posted August 10, 2015 by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D. Why the Iran ideal increases the risk of war

    Let's cut to the chase: Does the Iran deal make war more or less likely? "No deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East," President Obama says. His critics disagree. They think it will make war more likely. So which is it? Let's break it down. First, the Iran agreement does not stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. It may slow it down, but in 15…

  • Issue Brief posted August 7, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson 2016 National Defense Authorization Act: Stuck on Compensation and Retirement Reform

    Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed versions of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The two chambers are now negotiating a final bill, but according to press reports, the negotiators are stuck on the details of a major military compensation and retirement reform proposal. Both chambers of Congress included a…

  • Commentary posted August 3, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Here's How to Fix U.S. Defense Policy

    It is January 2017. Welcome to the White House, Mr. (or Ms.) President. Your military is shrunk and worn out by war. The nation’s stature in the world stands diminished after years of lackluster statecraft. Americans are grumpy. The economy is not so hot. Plan on righting all that? Get yourself a defense secretary like Melvin Laird. This isn’t the first time America’s…

  • Issue Brief posted July 24, 2015 by James Phillips, Luke Coffey, Michaela Dodge The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Yes, There Is a Better Alternative

    The Obama Administration has argued that there is no better alternative to its controversial nuclear agreement with Iran. But rather than cutting off all paths to a nuclear weapon, as the Administration initially promised, the so-called Vienna Agreement only temporarily slows down Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapons capability and, in fact, protects the regime’s…

  • Backgrounder posted July 23, 2015 by Lisa Curtis U.S. Engagement Required: Afghanistan Must Avoid an Iraq-Style Breakdown

    This past year’s surprise success of the Islamic State (ISIS), which has put the future of Iraq in jeopardy, has prompted concern among U.S. policymakers that, as U.S. and coalition forces depart, Afghan forces could face a similar threat from the Taliban. While Afghanistan does not face the same Sunni–Shia sectarian divisions that have fueled the fighting in Iraq, the…

  • Commentary posted July 21, 2015 by Stephen Moore A tale of two U.S. economies

    I’m asked seemingly every day if America is the next Greece or Detroit or Puerto Rico – and the answer is an unequivocal no. The U.S. economy – especially the private sector – is structurally very healthy. That wasn’t the case on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, when American companies and households were leveraged up to their eyebrows. What’s different…

  • Issue Brief posted July 20, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. The Failings and Structural Irrelevance of the U.N.’s Small-Arms Process

    In 2001, the United Nations created the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA). The PoA is not a treaty. Rather, it is a political mechanism for encouraging voluntary cooperation. On June 1–5, 2015, the Second Meeting of Governmental Experts (MGE2) under the PoA was held in New York…

  • Commentary posted July 9, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Missiles And The Morning Calm: Get Ready For The Next Wave Of Trouble With North Korea

    While the White House winds up its deal on the future of Iran’s nuclear program, angst abounds in U.S. national security circles. Contributing to the anxiety over how the Tehran regime will act in the future is knowledge of how the Pyongyang regime has acted in the past. For years, the North Korean government dabbled in deals and threats, stringing along the…

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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…

  • Issue Brief posted July 16, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer U.S. Should Rein in Lavish U.N. Salaries

    The International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) is currently meeting to recommend changes to the salaries and benefits for more than 80,000 United Nations employees and 14 other organizations participating in the United Nations common system.[1] The ICSC calculates that U.N. employees in the professional and higher grades in New York earn a net remuneration (take-home…

  • Issue Brief posted July 22, 2013 by Bruce Klingner North Korean–Cuban Arms Shipment Shows Need to Tighten Sanctions

    Even by North Korean standards, the story was odd. To a world used to North Korean exports of weapons, the seizure of a North Korean ship carrying arms from Cuba was unique. Pyongyang’s attempted transshipment of antiquated weapons revealed much about the North Korean regime. First, Pyongyang clearly continues to violate multiple United Nations Security Council (UNSC)…

  • Backgrounder posted March 5, 2015 by Steven Groves The U.S. Should Oppose the U.N.’s Attempt to Ban Autonomous Weapons

    As many as 40 nations are currently developing military robotics.[1] Indeed, some weapons already in use may be considered “autonomous” (or may be easily modified to be autonomous). These include Raytheon’s Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), a “rapid-fire, computer-controlled, radar-guided gun system” designed to destroy incoming anti-ship missiles;[2] Israel…

  • WebMemo posted August 13, 2010 by Brett D. Schaefer U.S. Funding of the United Nations Reaches All-Time High

    The source and amounts of all U.S. funding to the myriad number of organizations affiliated with the United Nations are difficult to track accurately. This difficulty prompted Congress to pass legislation requiring the Administration to report annually on U.S. contributions to the U.N. A recent report to Congress by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on all U.S.…

  • Commentary posted October 5, 2011 by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D. Time to Rein in the Bloated, Unaccountable United Nations

    American taxpayers contributed a staggering $7.7 billion to the United Nations system in 2010, including 22 percent of the world bodys regular budget. In fact, the United States pays more than all the permanent members of the Security Council combined, 13 times more than Russia and seven times more than China. It is natural therefore that Washington should expect value in…

  • Backgrounder posted February 3, 2010 by Brett D. Schaefer Time to Rein in the U.N.'s Budget

    Abstract: Since the 2000-2001 biennial budget, the U.N. regular budget has more than doubled, reflecting the U.N.'s failure to adopt reforms to reduce waste, prevent mismanagement and corruption, and increase efficiency. In December 2007, the General Assembly broke with a 20-year tradition of adopting budgetary decisions only by consensus by approving the 2008-2009…

  • Commentary posted June 16, 2014 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. The U.N.’s Biennial Surreptitious Gun-Control Conference Begins

    The “Programme of Action” — which starts its fifth biennial meeting in New York today — is a classic U.N. institution, in that it manages to combine a complete lack of substantive accomplishments with sinister intentions. Commonly and mercifully abbreviated as the PoA, it’s properly the “Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small…

  • Commentary posted September 10, 2014 by Anthony B. Kim, Brett D. Schaefer Why are we aiding countries that oppose U.S. priorities at the United Nations?

    Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick was frustrated. Countries happily took American foreign aid, but then blithely opposed U.S. initiatives and priorities in the United Nations. They took U.S. aid for granted because previous opposition hadn’t affected U.S. aid decisions and, instead, yielded to pressure from other countries to present regional solidarity and overwhelmingly…

  • Issue Brief posted November 26, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer U.S. Should Lead Effort to Arrest Excessive U.N. Pay

    Pay of United Nations professional and higher level staff has risen sharply over the past few years in comparison to equivalent positions in the United States federal civil service. U.N. pay is supposed to be based on those of equivalent U.S. civil servants. The discrepancy has arisen, in part, because U.S. pay has been frozen in response to America’s budgetary crisis…

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  • Issue Brief posted August 21, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. The U.S. Must Uphold the Arms Trade Treaty’s Limits at the First Conference of States Parties

    The first Conference of States Parties (CSP) to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) will be held in Cancun, Mexico, on August 24–27, 2015. This CSP will establish the rules of procedure for this and all future CSPs, decide how to organize and fund the treaty secretariat, adopt procedures for the reporting mandated by the treaty, and perhaps begin the campaign to amend the treaty.…

  • Issue Brief posted July 24, 2015 by James Phillips, Luke Coffey, Michaela Dodge The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Yes, There Is a Better Alternative

    The Obama Administration has argued that there is no better alternative to its controversial nuclear agreement with Iran. But rather than cutting off all paths to a nuclear weapon, as the Administration initially promised, the so-called Vienna Agreement only temporarily slows down Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapons capability and, in fact, protects the regime’s…

  • Issue Brief posted July 20, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. The Failings and Structural Irrelevance of the U.N.’s Small-Arms Process

    In 2001, the United Nations created the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA). The PoA is not a treaty. Rather, it is a political mechanism for encouraging voluntary cooperation. On June 1–5, 2015, the Second Meeting of Governmental Experts (MGE2) under the PoA was held in New York…

  • Backgrounder posted June 11, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.S. Should Push for Fundamental Changes to the United Nations Scale of Assessments

    Every three years, the member states of the United Nations negotiate how to apportion the expenses of the U.N. regular budget and the peacekeeping budget. These negotiations center on the U.N. “scale of assessments,” which assigns a specific percentage of the budgets to each member state, broadly based on its capacity to pay as calculated from its gross national income…

  • First Principles Series Report posted June 2, 2015 by Justin D. Lyons Champion of Liberty: Winston Churchill and His Message to America

    2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston S. Churchill. Dwight D. Eisenhower, fortified by memories of long association and collaboration with Churchill through cataclysmic events, wrote a remembrance for National Geographic: “When Sir Winston Churchill died on January 24, 1965, full of years and honors, the entire world quickened with emotions of grief…

  • Issue Brief posted May 28, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Declines in National Reporting Reveal Failure of U.N.’s Programme of Action on Small Arms

    In 2001, the United Nations created the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA). The PoA is not a treaty. Rather, it is a political mechanism for encouraging voluntary cooperation. On June 1–5, 2015, the Second Meeting of Governmental Experts (MGE2) under the PoA will be held in New…

  • Issue Brief posted May 13, 2015 by Grace Melton At U.N., Radicals Regret Lack of “Progress” and Seek to Feminize Post-2015 Development Agenda

    Against the backdrop of ongoing negotiations over the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), delegates and activists from around the world met at the U.N. headquarters in New York last month for the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which this year commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women that was held in…

  • Backgrounder posted April 20, 2015 by Bruce Klingner Respond Cautiously to North Korean Engagement Offers

    In what is now something of an annual rite on the Korean Peninsula, 2015 dawned with perceived signals of North Korea’s supposed desire to resurrect diplomatic ties with the United States and South Korea. Although these signals were met with predictions of another inter-Korean summit, Pyongyang’s offer to refrain from nuclear tests in return for a freeze on allied…

  • Issue Brief posted April 16, 2015 by Steven Groves U.N. Conference Debating a Ban on Autonomous Weapons: Understanding Key Issues

    This week, a ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) is being debated at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva. The U.S. delegation has been non-committal on such a ban, and U.S. policy currently permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to pursue the development of LAWS in a responsible manner. At the conference, the United States should…

  • Issue Brief posted April 10, 2015 by Olivia Enos North Korea Should Be Held Accountable for Persecuting Christians

    In February 2014, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) confirmed the world’s worst fears: North Korea is guilty of crimes against humanity.[1] In addition to the atrocities committed by the Kim regime, the report found that “there is no effective freedom of religious belief in the…

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Find more work on United Nations