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  • 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…

  • Testimony posted May 6, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer Key Issues of U.S. Concern at the United Nations

    Testimony before Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy, and Environmental Policy Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate May 6, 2015 Brett D. Schaefer Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs The Heritage Foundation My name is Brett Schaefer. I am the Jay…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Backgrounder posted April 7, 2015 by Dakota Wood, Charlotte Florance, James Phillips Intervention in Libya: Lessons in Leading

    Weeds of the Arab Spring The Arab Spring undoubtedly changed the political, economic, and security landscape in the Middle East and North Africa. More than four years after the self-immolation of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi and the catalytic explosion of the event on social media among Arab youth populations, authoritarian regimes quickly came under fire,…

  • Issue Brief posted March 20, 2015 by Bruce Klingner The U.S. Needs to Respond to North Korea’s Latest Cyber Attack

    On March 17, Seoul accused Pyongyang of conducting a series of cyber attacks against South Korean nuclear facilities in December 2014.[1] South Korean prosecutors assert that North Korean hackers were responsible for repeated disclosures of information, including blueprints of South Korean nuclear reactors gleaned from cyber attacks, as well as threats to extort money and…

  • 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…

  • Backgrounder posted March 5, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, James Phillips Time to Reconsider U.S. Support of UNRWA

    The Palestinian Authority (PA), which was created by the Oslo peace process, has turned its back on negotiations with Israel and sought to pressure and delegitimize the Jewish state through the United Nations. Palestinian efforts to secure a one-sided Security Council resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal to the borders that existed before the 1967 Arab–Israeli War…

  • 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…