Just in case anyone thinks the folks at the UN don’t work long hours, check out the news on the UN General Assembly budget vote, held at 5:55 A.M. — on Saturday morning, no less — following “marathon talks that lasted through the night.” The result was the adoption of a record-busting $4.17 billion core budget for 2008-2009, passed by a vote of 142 to 1.
And who was that lone dissenting member state? You guessed it: as Mark Steyn has called it, America Alone.
Is that because 142 member states (including Belarus, China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Laos, Libya, Burma, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zimbabwe) are right? and America is wrong?
Or is it because the UN system is structured to encourage the mob of member states to treat American money as an all-you-can-eat buffet?
American taxpayers bankroll 22%, or $917 million of this whopping biennial core budget — by far the biggest contribution of any one member state — with just a handful of other countries, including Japan and a few from the European Union, accounting for the bulk of the remainder.
This is just the core budget, of course. The UN system-wide budget is about ten times the size (and for that, the U.S. foots an even bigger portion of the bill, or about 25%), thus likely to total well over $40 billion for the same two-year stretch. Though due to a UN system growing like kudzu, and just as impenetrable, the exact numbers are almost impossible to keep up with.
And does all this money go to make a better world? In a statement to the General Assembly, the U.S. ambassador for management reform, Mark Wallace, noted that this budget contains funding for a conference dubbed Durban II, “an event noxious to my country and a disgrace in the International Community.” That funding was approved 141 to one (yep, America alone) by the UN budget committee at 1:05 AM Saturday, just a few hours before the pre-dawn General Assembly vote. Details of that remarkable scene on Inner-City Press. (And then there is the usual roster of high-ticket UN endeavors entwined with the usual UN money and sex scandals, legitimization of tyrants, routine demonization of Israel and the U.S., and failure to stop the genocide of the hour).
Finally, there is the interesting spin in the UN press release headline about this budget vote, which offers no hint that the U.S. had good reasons for its dissent. Instead (also linked at the top of this post), from the UN we get “General Assemby approves nearly $4.2 billion UN budget despite US Opposition,” and from the New York Times (can anyone spot the difference?), we get “Despite U.S. Opposition, United Nations Budget is Approved.”