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  • Commentary posted January 15, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. No, Senate Republicans Aren’t Blocking Reasonable Treaties

    Those nasty Republicans are at it again. Dennis Jett, former U.S. ambassador to Mozambique and Peru, writes in The New Republic that GOP senators are blocking “even the most reasonable international treaties.” As opposed, apparently, to that mythical entity, the domestic treaty. The ambassador proclaims the virtues of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which will somehow…

  • Issue Brief posted January 12, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, James Phillips Provocative Palestinian U.N. Actions Require Strong U.S. Response

    The U.S. has provided billions of dollars in assistance to facilitate peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Despite America’s financial support and its repeated diplomatic efforts, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has demonstrated little serious interest in negotiating a peace agreement that recognizes Israel’s right to exist, commits the Palestinians to…

  • Commentary posted January 2, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Israel Signs the Arms Trade Treaty: Unhelpful Appeasement for Implacable Enemies

    Last Thursday, Israel signed the U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a treaty that supposedly prevents nations from arming terrorists and mass murderers. But in reality, the treaty’s advocates spend most of their time vehemently criticizing Israel, and, of course, the United States. Israel is understandably tired of the relentless criticism of the way it defends itself from…

  • Commentary posted December 19, 2014 by Stephen Moore The great Lima climate change shakedown

    The global warming brigades from around the world gathered last week at a United Nations climate change conference in Lima to save the planet. The nations from across the planet were supposed to link hands and all would agree to slash their green house gas emissions. Instead the conference was a complete dud. That might be putting it charitably. The BBC described the…

  • Commentary posted December 12, 2014 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. FiveThirtyEight Gets Land Mine Data Wrong and Makes It Look like a Bad Treaty Is Working

    Last week, FiveThirtyEight’s Brittany Lyte wrote that casualties caused by land mines fell 25 percent in 2013, to 3,308, the lowest level on record, supposedly because of increasing compliance with the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. But the decline may not exist – and if it does, that treaty, which President Obama is trying to get the U.S. to comply with, can’t have…

  • Commentary posted December 3, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Ambassador Terry Miller Argentina's Debt Crisis: Country Turns to UN to Avoid Accountability

    Defaulting on sovereign debt is never a good strategy.  Just ask Argentina. The South American nation has defaulted 10 times—most recently this summer—on its international obligations and has experienced sharp economic decline as a result. In the early 1900s, Argentina ranked among the world’s top 10 in per capita income. By 2012, it had fallen to 55th. Rather than…

  • Commentary posted November 18, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer Who Needs UNIDO?

    The United States did something highly unusual 18 years ago. It withdrew from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The move came after lengthy assessment concluded that UNIDO lacked a clear purpose and was generally ineffective. What made the action all the more remarkable was that it was done at the direction of Democratic President Bill…

  • Issue Brief posted October 29, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.S. Should Not Rejoin the United Nations Industrial Development Organization

    The United States withdrew from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 1996 after concluding that the organization lacked a clear purpose and was generally ineffective. With support from the Clinton Administration, Congress refused to pay arrears that the organization claims are owed by the United States. Since this decision, UNIDO has…

  • Commentary posted September 30, 2014 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Obama's UN Speech Reveals Why Arms Trade Treaty is so Dangerous

    Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, President Obama said that all nations “must meet our responsibility to observe and enforce international norms.” What he meant by that wasn’t exactly clear, starting with what those norms are, and who gets to define them. But that kind of thinking on the president’s part is precisely why the United Nations Arms Trade…

  • Commentary posted September 26, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer Obama Reveals America’s Greatest Threat is Climate Change. Really?

    At the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday, President Barack Obama offered a stunning -- in fact, deeply disturbing -- insight into his views on threats to the United States and the American people. According to Obama, “For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week -- terrorism, instability, inequality, disease -- there’s one issue that…

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  • Backgrounder posted June 23, 2011 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.S. Should Pursue an Alternative to the U.N. Human Rights Council

    Abstract: The U.N. Human Rights Council has failed to consistently fulfill its mandate to hold governments accountable for violating basic human rights and fundamental freedoms and to promote and protect human rights. Two years of U.S. membership on and engagement with the council have not significantly improved its performance. Rather than continuing to expend finite…

  • Issue Brief posted January 12, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, James Phillips Provocative Palestinian U.N. Actions Require Strong U.S. Response

    The U.S. has provided billions of dollars in assistance to facilitate peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Despite America’s financial support and its repeated diplomatic efforts, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has demonstrated little serious interest in negotiating a peace agreement that recognizes Israel’s right to exist, commits the Palestinians to…

  • Testimony posted December 1, 2010 by Steven Groves Women’s Rights Are Human Rights: U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

    Hearing before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law November 18, 2010 Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee: Thank you for inviting me to testify before you today regarding the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). …

  • Issue Brief posted September 17, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer, Anthony B. Kim Thirty Years of Voting in the U.N. General Assembly: The U.S. Is Nearly Always in the Minority

    Congress has been concerned for decades that countries receiving American foreign aid often oppose U.S. initiatives and priorities in the United Nations. A State Department annual report on the voting practices in the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA), mandated by Congress since 1983, shows that in the past 30 years voting coincidence with the U.S. surpassed 50 percent only…

  • Backgrounder posted April 18, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer U.S. Must Demand Transparency and Accountability in Appointment of Top-Level U.N. Officials

    Under the tenure of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the number of the highest-ranking U.N. officials has increased by an average of 35 percent (a 47 percent increase in New York and a 27 percent increase elsewhere). This expansion of top-level officials is troubling for a number of reasons, including lack of transparency in the nominating process,…

  • Commentary posted December 19, 2014 by Stephen Moore The great Lima climate change shakedown

    The global warming brigades from around the world gathered last week at a United Nations climate change conference in Lima to save the planet. The nations from across the planet were supposed to link hands and all would agree to slash their green house gas emissions. Instead the conference was a complete dud. That might be putting it charitably. The BBC described the…

  • Lecture posted February 14, 2011 by Brett D. Schaefer The Role and Relevance of Multilateral Diplomacy in U.S. Foreign Policy

    Abstract: Multilateral diplomacy is challenging. The dynamics are often more complex than bilateral negotiations because there are many more players. But while policies and venues may change, the role of diplomacy—to advance and promote the foreign policy objectives of the United States—is constant and does not change when the diplomacy is multilateral rather than…

  • Backgrounder posted May 1, 2008 by Steven Groves The U.S. Should Reject the U.N. "Responsibility to Protect" Doctrine

    The "responsibility to protect" (R2P) doctrine outlines the conditions in which the international community is obligated to intervene in another country, militarily if necessary, to prevent genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other atrocities. Despite its noble goals, the United States should treat the R2P doctrine with extreme caution. Adopting a doctrine that compels the…

  • Backgrounder posted June 18, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer The Window of Opportunity to Overhaul the U.N. Scale of Assessments Is Closing

    Abstract: This month the U.N. Committee on Contributions is meeting to review the U.N. scale of assessments, which apportions the expenses of the regular budget and, by extension, the peacekeeping budget. Under U.N. rules, the budget is passed by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly, even if those countries pay only a small fraction of the expenses.…

  • WebMemo posted November 8, 2010 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.N. Should Pay What It Owes the U.S. from Its Tax Equalization Fund

    The United Nations reported that, as of December 31, 2009, it was holding nearly $180 million owed to the United States from the U.N.’s Tax Equalization Fund (TEF). The report indicated that the U.S. had not been repaid because it had failed to instruct the U.N. on how it wished to dispose of those funds. The U.S. mission should demand that the excess assessments on the…

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  • Issue Brief posted January 12, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, James Phillips Provocative Palestinian U.N. Actions Require Strong U.S. Response

    The U.S. has provided billions of dollars in assistance to facilitate peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Despite America’s financial support and its repeated diplomatic efforts, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has demonstrated little serious interest in negotiating a peace agreement that recognizes Israel’s right to exist, commits the Palestinians to…

  • Issue Brief posted October 29, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.S. Should Not Rejoin the United Nations Industrial Development Organization

    The United States withdrew from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 1996 after concluding that the organization lacked a clear purpose and was generally ineffective. With support from the Clinton Administration, Congress refused to pay arrears that the organization claims are owed by the United States. Since this decision, UNIDO has…

  • Issue Brief posted September 22, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer A U.S. Agenda for the 69th Session of the U.N. General Assembly

    The 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) officially opened on September 16. The early part of the UNGA session, generally highlighted by a high-level summit and the theatrics of the General Debate featuring speeches by most of the world’s leaders, garners a great deal of media attention that quickly falters once the real grind of the session begins.…

  • Issue Brief posted July 23, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Ambassador Terry Miller U.N. Repeating Past Mistakes in New Sustainable Development Goals

    The United Nation General Assembly is poised to adopt a new set of development criteria called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this September.[1] The SDGs are intended to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that expire at the end of 2015. Like the MDGs, the SDGs will involve a number of objectives that will be used by the U.N. to guide and measure…

  • Backgrounder posted June 26, 2014 by Steven Groves Accession to Convention on the Law of the Sea Unnecessary to Advance Arctic Interests

    Much has been said in recent years about a “race” or “scramble” to secure resources in the Arctic Ocean as polar ice recedes, inevitably leading to conflict in the region. But reality paints a very different picture. Over the past decades, Arctic nations have worked together to advance their shared goals for the region, and relations among the United States and other…

  • Issue Brief posted June 13, 2014 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. U.S. Participation in the U.N.’s “Programme of Action” on Small Arms and Light Weapons Is Not in the National Interest

    The fifth biennial meeting of the U.N. “Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects” (PoA) will be held on June 16–20, 2014. The PoA includes a range of commitments on which participating nations have agreed to report. It is not a treaty but, in theory, a mechanism for encouraging voluntary…

  • 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 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 March 11, 2014 by Steven Groves, Brett D. Schaefer Human Rights Committee’s Review of U.S. Record: Things to Watch For

    On March 13–14, a U.S. delegation will defend America’s human rights record before the Human Rights Committee (HRC), the treaty body that monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The delegation should expect harsh criticism from the HRC, whose members regularly accuse America of committing gross violations of human rights.…

  • 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…

Find more work on United Nations
Find more work on United Nations