John Bolton is on his way out the door at the Untied Nations, even though he did a great job while there, at a time when more than ever we need a person in that position with the kind of backbone he possesses.
What do you think are the chances of an equally strong and capable replacement, considering that recently the Bush Administration is giving the appearance it is only too willing to fold its tents and slink away into the night on the UN front after the November election debacle? What chance does the United States have of a suitable replacement who won't simply bow to whatever pressures are applied at the sewage treatment plant on the East River?
I heard some pundits throwing around the names of some potential replacements on TV the last couple of days. I have to admit, I have never heard of most of them, and the people who did know them weren't talking in what I would call the most enthusiastic, favorable of tones.
While the concept behind the Untied Nations is valid, the fact is, we are nothing more than whipping boys for that organization, and we are paying to be treated like dirt by the very people who are making the most money off of our labors! The United States pays 22 percent of the annual UN operating budget and puts even more into voluntary payments for charitable missions around the world, as well as peacekeeping operations.
Yet, because the US withheld funding for programs that it disagrees with, all we hear about is how much we "owe!"
Guess who is right behind us in contributions? China the most populous country on earth? India, the second most populous country? Russia? How about Saudi Arabia, or Venezuela, or one of the other big oil producers?
Nope, right behind us, at more than 19 percent is Japan! Right behind the Japanese, with a big, big drop off, is Germany at more than 8 percent. Just beyond that you get Great Britain. See a trend here? The US, Japan and Germany alone pay more than 50 percent of the operating budget of the UN, while the overwhelming majority, some 128 countries, pay less than 1 percent IN TOTAL. All in all, the overwhelming bulk of the UN budget, more than 72 percent, is paid for by the top 8 contributors, all of which, right after the US and Japan are our European allies and Canada.
OK, I understand that some of the smaller developing countries are struggling and just don't have the money. But 128 out of 191? And what about the 55 countries that come between the top 8 and the bottom 128. Their contributions are piddling, and yet they spend a disproportionate amount of time criticizing us, and working against us.
I don't hold out much hope for our future in that organization, and frankly, I don't see why we continue to spend so much of our time and money there. Remember when the tidal waves (tsunamis) hit Indonesia two years ago, and the world was called on to help the millions of victims?
The US sent a task force including ships, aircraft and troops to help find, evacuate and care for the injured, feed the homeless and hungry and help with the rebuilding. The US public also sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the international relief effort, in addition to government contributions from the federal budget.
But what did we hear on the news? That because the US government, at OUR direction, is not set up to tax us to oblivion and doesn't have separate accounts for international charity, the US wasn't paying its 'fair share!'
We were the number one contributor when all sources were considered, but the big noises on the international criticism scene, aided and abetted as usual by the World Terrorist Media and its subsidiary the American Terrorist Media, didn't even count the millions of dollars each day it cost us to maintain a fleet and all its supporting units in that region!
This fair share stuff is a crock and it is far past time we dump it in the circular file where it belongs.
Do you know what the Business Council for the Untied Nations says about the US contributions? Get this:
The United States is assessed for the regular budget at the ceiling rate of 22 percent, which in 2006 was $423,464,855 of the total $1,924,840,250. This works out to be a contribution of about $1.42 per American citizen, according to 2006 census data. Japan, the second largest contributor to the regular budget at 19.47 percent, pays $374,727,900 or about $3.94 per citizen in comparison.
For the peacekeeping budget, the US is assessed 27 percent. In 2005, this amounted to about $1.28 billion, but by the end of 2005, the US still owed $521 million of that $1.28 billion to the UN for peacekeeping dues.
By 2005, the US owed $963.1 million in total to the UN in dues to the regular and peacekeeping budgets. At the same time, the US gave $8.7 billion to voluntary causes in 2003, the last year the UN released information on donations to programs funded in this manner.
Although the US does contribute a large share of the UN budget, one should consider this information in the context of World GDP (the total wealth produced on Earth). When GDP is measured by purchasing power parity (a method of calculation that looks at how much goods and services cost in different countries as opposed to exchange rates), the US takes in 20.9 percent of global GDP. If one divides the percent of US contribution to the UN budget by America's share of world wealth, the ratio is almost one-to-one. Other wealthy states contribute significantly more given their share of global wealth. For example, using the same formula as above: Japan: 2.9; Germany: 2.1; France: 1.8; UK: 2.2; Canada: 1.6; and Italy: 1.7. There are, however, nations that contribute much less, such as Russia: 0.4, and China: 0.2.
Enough, already. The Untied Nations has shown itself for decades now to be anti-Democracy, anti-American, and anti-Semitic. It has put some of its worst offenders on its human rights council which seems to have no agenda other than to blame Israel for everything and anything that is wrong in the world. If Israel hasn't done anything worthy of blame, the UN and its faux councils get the Associated Press and other members of the WTM to make something up.
Most Americans were fed up with this organization long, long ago. It is time for our politicians to get the message.
Either we get a replacement for John Bolton who is going to stand up for America's rights at the UN or it is time we start looking for a way to make a "graceful exit."
Welcome Back Tony Blair
It may just be coincidence but Tony Blair is due to visit the White House Thursday, a day after the Iraq Study Group released its long awaited report on what it thinks we should do in Iraq. Blair is the most stalwart of US allies, and unfortunately, to my way of thinking, is making what amounts of a farewell tour before leaving office.
The report came out earlier today and to the group's credit it did not advocate a cut and run plan, although much of what it did recommend sounded suspiciously like what President Bush has been saying for a long time now. The WTM, which attended a post-release press conference sponsored by the group, obviously wasn't too happy with the lack of criticism of the Bush Administration and immediately went on the attack, questioning why anyone should care what the group said. Interesting.
Considering that Great Britain has been alongside us step for step in both Iraq and Afghanistan Blair probably wants an update on Bush's plans, which stands to reason. I can only hope that Bush tells him we have but one plan, the one thing omitted by the Iraq Study Group, which is VICTORY.
My concern with a study group, other than its name sounding like something college kids do on weeknights to prepare for exams, is that it wasn't populated by military people, especially those with down in the dirt street fighting experience.
The group also advocates talking to Syria and Iran as equal partners in the process of mid-East stability. You can't get stability by talking to the people who are causing the instability.
The only talking we should be doing with Syria and Iraq is whispering "I Can't Hear You," in their leaders' ears right after we grab them by the throats and slam their heads repeatedly into a stone wall until they surrender.
And this comes at the same time the new Secretary of Defense designee, Robert Gates, says we are losing in Iraq. Or, well let's see, what did he say? First he said we aren't winning in Iraq. But then he came back and said we aren't losing either.
So we either are stagnant or in a period of decline ... or something. God, I just love it when the US shows the world it has an overabundance of strong, decisive leaders.
As I have said previously, the only other kind of meaningful discussion you can have with terrorists is when they are giving you the terms of your surrender, which you absolutely will not like.
How about this for a plan? Kick ass, take names, lay down the law. Anything else will only lead to the end of civilization as we know it.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006