Could the United States Make the UN Bankrupt in a Year?

Hasan A. Yahya, Ph.D

Well, the answer is easy, it is sharp,  yes! Here is why? The relationship between the United States of America (USA) and the United Nations (UN) is like the relationships between rich and poor.  The USA share of the UN budget was 25% until the year 2001, where the United State was assessed to pay 22% of the annual UN regular Budget, In 2006 calendar year, the 22% amounted to $423,464,855. In 2006, the United States and 16 other nations were assessed to pay 86.408% of the UN budget. The other (over 200) nations of the world pay the rest which is about 14% .

Historically, the United States since 1986, provided the UN with 25% of its budget; the USSR provided 10.5%; Angola 0.01% and Saudi Arabia 0.86%. America claimed that such an investment should have its rewards. If the ‘Big Five’ withdrew their financial support or reduced it to the level of other nations in the UN, then the UN itself would face near bankruptcy. There was little the UN could do if members failed to pay their contribution.

In December 2000, the Fifth Committee voted to lower the ceiling rate from 25% to 22% for the Regular Budget. The US had promised to pay its longstanding debt to the UN in exchange for lower assessments. Half a decade later, the US still owes around US$500 million to the UN Regular Budget.

 The UN Five Core Tasks according to Kofi Annan in  2006, the previous UN Secretary, involve Peace and Security,  Economic and Social Issues, Humanitarian tasks, and Development. The fifth category running through all these tasks was Human Rights Issue.  In that year, the United Nations has often failed to live up to its responsibility to promote human rights, while the killing was ongoing in many places in the Middle East. Organizations and individuals in the member states were reminded to make the protection of rights a reality in every country. The United States, however, according to the scale of assessment, can make or break the UN capacity to fulfill its tasks.

 The scale of assessments, however,  reflects a country’s capacity to pay (the scale is measured by factors such as a country’s national income and size of population). The Peacekeeping Budget assessments for instance, are based on the Regular Budget rates, but with discounts for poor countries. The five permanent members of the Security Council, who approve all peacekeeping operations, pay extra fees to compensate for those discounts. In other words, when poor countries cannot contribute to the UN budget, (the  minimum rate of 0.001% to the Regular Budget for poor countries.) the extra pay from rich countries compensate for the poor nations share. A “ceiling” rate sets the maximum amount of any member state’s assessed share of the regular and Peacekeeping Budgets. The US is the only member that is affected by those ceilings.

 The UN as we know, was founded with the objective of preventing intergovernmental wars through a collective security system. This task could not be fulfilled however, due to the blockade of the Security Council and the failings of the system. Emphasis was placed on a new range of tasks because of this. New global issues such as the increasing scarcity of natural resources, the destruction of the environment and the increasing climate change, the rapid growth in the world population, and new forms of threat to freedom and the whole of humanity due to weapons of mass destruction and internal state conflicts came into the picture, where the United States contribution to the UN is vital for the organization to fulfil its tasks mentioned above.

 In conclusion, even though the US pays less than its share of the world economy. But compared with other nations, the US  still pay more than other nations collectively such as: United Kingdom ( 5.5%) , Italy (5.1%), Canada (2.6%),  Spain (2.5%), Brazil (2.4%), and Republic of Korea (1.8%) ,  and tens of other poor nations. The same can be said about Japan and its share of (19.5%) of the UN regular budget. That’s why  the United States and Japan to a less extent, has the key to bankrupt the UN. This role in globalization matters cannot be undermined, in the same time cannot give the United States the master role of ruling the world.  (738 words)

About the Author:
Hasan A. Yahya is an American writer, scholar, and professor of philosophy. He’s the honorary member of the Arab & Muslim Writers Union-A&MWU). Has a 2 Ph.d degrees from MSU. He published 40 books (29 Arabic and 11 English), and 230 plus articles on sociology, religion, psychology, politics, poetry, and short stories. Philosophically, his writings concern logic, justice and human rights worldwide. Dr. Yahya is the author of Crescentologism: The Moon Theory,  and Islam Finds its Way, on Amazon. He’s an expert on Arab and Islamic cultures, and was invited to several TV shows and international conferences on religion, world affairs and future strategic planning.
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