Thomas P. Kilgannon

Barack Obama’s already poor relationship with the British is about to get worse. David Cameron’s government seized an opportunity that cried out for American leadership – holding the United Nations accountable – but it’s an issue in which Mr. Obama has no interest. Specifically, Prime Minister Cameron is pulling British tax dollars from UN institutions deemed inept, wasteful or redundant.

At, George Russell reports that the British government issued a “sweeping and hard-nosed reorganization of priorities for its $10.6 billion multilateral foreign aid program.” He writes that Mr. Cameron “has pulled the financial plug entirely on four U.N. agencies at the end of next year, put three others…on notice…and issued pointed criticisms of all the rest.”

The UN’s failing report card was delivered by Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID). Last week, it issued a comprehensive Multilateral Aid Review of funding provided to the United Nations and other agencies. Based on the findings, the DFID placed two UN organizations – the UN Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – in “special measures” meaning they must immediately improve or lose their funding.

The fate was worse for four other UN agencies. The DFID found “their contribution to UK development objectives is so poor that DFID will withdraw our core funding altogether.” Those agencies are: the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

Through the State Department, the United States provides hundreds of millions in funding for at least three of these agencies – UNESCO, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Labor Organization.

Though the British have a love affair with the United Nations that is wide and deep, even they are beginning to see the folly in funding this fraternity of frauds.

So too has Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She held hearings last month to identify areas of improvement in the United Nations. There were many. Particularly nauseating to the chairwoman is the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), which, until recently, boasted Libya as a member. Of the Council, Ros-Lehtinen said, “I’d like to make sure that we once and for all kill all U.S. funding for that beast.”

Thomas P. Kilgannon

Thomas P. Kilgannon is the president of Freedom Freedom Alliance and the author of Diplomatic Divorce: Why America Should End Its Love Affair with the United Nations.

Be the first to read Thomas Kilgannon's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.