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  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Commentary posted April 20, 2015 by Steven Groves Will the Obama administration agree to ban 'killer robots'?

    They're known as "lethal autonomous weapons systems," or LAWS, although some people prefer the catchier term "killer robots." Either way, representatives from around the world recently gathered in Geneva to debate an important question: Should they be banned from the battlefield? What are LAWS? No one can seem to agree on a definition, but basically they are weapons…

  • 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…

  • Commentary posted May 8, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer UNESCO: Not Exactly Indispensable

    Last fall, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, granted membership to the Palestinian Authority, which is not a state. It did so despite clear warnings from Washington that this would entail an immediate freeze on all U.S. funding to the agency. After the vote, President Obama rightly followed through, as required by U.S. law. …

  • Commentary posted March 18, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer A Bad Quarter for the U.N.

    This year, United Nations officials have spent a lot of time in Washington meeting with administration officials and Congress, trying to defend their funding from sequestration and the threat of other cuts. Small wonder they are concerned: The U.N. has had a rough 2013. On international peace and security, human rights, and issues of management and accountability, the…

  • Commentary posted January 9, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer No ‘Partial Funding’ for UNESCO

    Despite objections and warnings from the Obama administration, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) granted full membership to the Palestinian Authority in 2011. That decision ran afoul of two U.S. laws, passed in the early 1990s, that prohibit U.S. funding for any U.N. organization that grants membership to the Palestine Liberation…

  • Commentary posted June 7, 2012 by Edwin Meese III Law of the Sea Treaty No Better Today Than During Reagan Years

    President Ronald Reagan so strongly opposed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that he didn't just not sign the treaty. He very publicly refused to sign it. He also dismissed the State Department staff that helped negotiate it. And in case anyone didn't get the message, he sent special envoy Donald Rumsfeld on a globe-trotting mission to explain his…

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  • Issue Brief posted November 17, 2016 by Brett D. Schaefer Eleven Priorities on International Organizations for the Trump Administration

    President Donald Trump will have a number of high-priority issues on his desk when he enters office. Although the Obama Administration has pursued some laudable goals in the United Nations and its affiliated organizations, a large number of its policies are counterproductive and should be reversed or revised. Policies to Continue and Strengthen The Obama Administration…

  • Lecture posted September 1, 2016 by Mike Lee Recovering the Senate’s Rightful Role in Foreign Affairs

    I’m honored to be here today to talk about the new climate-change deal President Obama is pursuing, the dangers it poses to the American energy sector and to U.S. sovereignty, and what Congress can and should do about it. Conference of Parties In a few weeks Paris will host the latest round of climate-change negotiations—what’s called the “Conference of Parties”—under…

  • Backgrounder posted August 11, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Chinese Foot-dragging on North Korea Thwarts U.S. Security Interests

    North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, held in January 2016, paradoxically triggered a stronger international response than any of its first three. Although this latest test was not significantly larger than its previous ones, it did result in an international consensus that stronger, more comprehensive sanctions must be imposed on North Korea for its serial violations of its…

  • Backgrounder posted August 3, 2016 by Brett D. Schaefer United Nations Peacekeeping Flaws and Abuses: The U.S. Must Demand Reform

    As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and the largest contributor to the U.N. peacekeeping budget, the United States has extraordinary authority over the approval and parameters of those operations, and a responsibility to ensure that the missions are effective, and that peacekeepers uphold the highest standards of conduct. The unprecedented pace,…

  • Backgrounder posted June 9, 2016 by Nicolas Loris, Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves The U.S. Should Withdraw from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

    On April 22, 2016, the United States, along with over 170 other nations, signed the Paris Agreement on climate change. Negotiated in December 2015, the agreement contains both binding and non-binding commitments intended to combat global warming by shifting the global energy economy away from the use of natural resources such as coal, natural gas, and oil, and toward…

  • Issue Brief posted June 1, 2016 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. U.S. Goals at the 2016 Meeting 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 6–10, the Sixth Biennial Meeting of States (BMS6) under the PoA will be held in New York City.…

  • Backgrounder posted April 13, 2016 by Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris, David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. Consequences of Paris Protocol: Devastating Economic Costs, Essentially Zero Environmental Benefits

    During the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, President Barack Obama met with world leaders from around the globe to discuss plans to combat climate change. The general consensus from the summit was that the use of natural resources, such as coal, oil, and natural gas—which provide 80 percent of the world’s energy needs—should be avoided. Furthermore,…

  • Issue Brief posted April 7, 2016 by Olivia Enos, James Phillips Next Steps for Addressing ISIS Genocide

    On March 17, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had committed genocide against Yazidis, Christians, and Shiite Muslims in Iraq and Syria.[1] The State Department’s decision to label ISIS acts as genocide came on the heels of a “sense of Congress” resolution, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives March 14,…

  • Special Report posted April 7, 2016 by Steven Groves A Manual Adapting the Law of Armed Conflict to Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

    On April 11, 2016, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) will hold a week-long meeting on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) in Geneva.[1] Previous meetings were held in 2014 and 2015 to discuss the legality of LAWS under the law of armed conflict (LOAC) and international human rights law.[2] Some nations that attended these meetings, as well as all…

  • Backgrounder posted March 15, 2016 by Steven Groves The Paris Agreement Is a Treaty and Should Be Submitted to the Senate

    From November 30 to December 12, 2015, the Obama Administration was well represented at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris. The President attended the opening of the conference, and in his speech to the assembled delegates characterized COP-21 as a "turning point" when "we finally…

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Find more work on United Nations