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  • Issue Brief posted April 4, 2014 by Charlotte Florance, Brett D. Schaefer Lord’s Resistance Army: Questions on Increasing Troops to Fight Joseph Kony’s LRA

    The Obama Administration announced on March 23 that additional U.S. forces and assets will be deployed to reinforce the joint U.S. and African Union Regional Task Force (AU-RTF) tracking Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). There is no question that Kony and the LRA have committed terrible atrocities and that purging Africa of Kony and the…

  • 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 21, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, James L. Gattuso, Paul Rosenzweig, David Inserra Important Work to Be Done Before the U.S. Relinquishes Stewardship of ICANN

    The Department of Commerce announced on March 14 that it will give up its last bit of control of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 2015. As is often the case with government decisions announced late on a Friday, this decision is controversial. The U.S. has exercised light oversight of ICANN since it established the organization and…

  • 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…

  • Commentary posted February 11, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves The U.N. Preaches to the Vatican

    The international “smart set” regularly chastises the United States for not ratifying the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). One need only look to a recent report by the CRC’s treaty committee for full justification of U.S. reticence. Human-rights “experts” on U.N. treaty bodies like the Committee on the Rights of the Child often take liberties with…

  • Issue Brief posted January 22, 2014 by Charlotte Florance, Brett D. Schaefer The United States Should Be More Assertive in South Sudan

    South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, is embroiled in a conflict that began as a political dispute but has been intensified by pre-existing ethnic tensions. The number of casualties and refugees is straining government and international humanitarian efforts. If the situation deteriorates further, investments made by the U.S. and the international community will be…

  • Issue Brief posted January 15, 2014 by Charlotte Florance, Brett D. Schaefer U.S. Response to Chaos in the Central African Republic

    Chaos in the Central African Republic (CAR) threatens stability beyond its borders. Lawless spaces allow extremist groups to operate more freely. Uncertainty has been amplified by the abrupt resignations of interim President Michel Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiengaye. While the U.S. has little direct interest in CAR, instability in the region and the possibility…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Issue Brief posted November 19, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer U.N. Human Rights Council: A Flawed Body That Should Be Replaced

    The United Nations held elections on November 12 for 14 Human Rights Council (HRC) seats for 2014. Based on the election results, the number of free countries will climb to a slim majority. However, a number of countries with poor human rights records continue to be elected to the body. The lack of meaningful membership standards is a key reason behind the HRC’s poor…

  • Backgrounder posted November 12, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer Haiti Cholera Lawsuit Against the U.N.: Recommendations for U.S. Policy

    A U.S. nongovernmental organization recently filed a lawsuit against the United Nations seeking compensation on behalf of victims of a cholera outbreak in Haiti, and at least $2.2 billion in funding to eradicate cholera. Evidence compiled since 2010 strongly indicates that U.N. peacekeepers were the source of the cholera and, due to negligence or deliberate disregard,…

  • Commentary posted October 28, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer Americans Don't Really Think the U.N. Does a Good Job

    For the second time in 2013, the Better World Campaign (BWC) has released polling results that purport to show Americans strongly support the United Nations. The most recent poll, conducted October 5–10, finds that “the UN’s image is the highest it has been since April 2010 with a comfortable majority [60%] of voters saying they have a favorable opinion of the United…

  • Commentary posted October 12, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer The Holy See Belongs in the U.N.

    The standing of the Holy See at the United Nations is under attack. In a September 30 column in the Washington Post, Jon O’Brien, the president of Catholics for Choice, lambastes the Vatican for not supporting homosexuality and abortion in international forums. At the U.N., he complains, the Holy See is “allowed to masquerade as a state and impose the narrowest…

  • Issue Brief posted September 27, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer International Affairs Budget Needs Stronger Congressional Scrutiny

    Appropriations for all or part of fiscal year (FY) 2014 are expected to be adopted under a continuing resolution (CR). This practice keeps the government funded, but it fails to resolve stark differences between the Obama Administration, the Senate, and the House over funding for the international affairs budget, which includes the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for…