If you haven’t yet realized it, President Trump has no trouble defying the conventions, norms and policies established by the previous forty-four presidents. According to John F. Kelly, the White House Chief of Staff, the president often meets with aides to discuss policy or prepare for a speech. He may ask about the pros and cons of a given approach, its possible impact, or the best way to frame his case. But according to Kelly, there is one thing he almost never does, “He very seldom asks how other presidents did this.”
One such decision was President Trump’s announcement to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to its stated capital, Jerusalem. Other presidents had talked about it, but none had made the move.
In response, the 193-member General Assembly voted 128-9, with 35 abstentions, to express “deep regret” over Trump’s new Jerusalem policy changes and his plans to move the US embassy to their capital.
One of the Trump administration’s stated goals was to reduce American financial contributions to the UN. The U.S. currently contributes $3.3 billion per year, 22 percent of the UN’s annual budget. In response to the U.N. rebuke, our UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced that the United States will cut $285 million from its UN funding for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years.
Haley asserted, “The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known. We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked.” President Trump added, “They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot.” But why should the Trump administration stop with a small cut in our contribution? How about creating a new world body that is actually worth funding!
After all, it’s tough doing anything of significance by a committee made up of 193 strange bedfellows. The U.N. is useless as a united force because its diverse members have different values, different governing models, and different national interests. As a result, the U.N. is best at talking, disagreeing, putting off action, and chastising its biggest donor—America.
There are too many members whose very existence requires the suppression of freedom in their own lands as we are seeing in Iran. The U.N. cannot be the answer to the world’s terrorism problem as long as so many members support and honor terrorists.
Withdrawing from the UN would be a mistake. It is still a force for good in collecting and distributing humanitarian aid. When the major powers agree, the UN can help settle disputes among smaller nations. It also remains the only central forum where the world’s countries can gather to debate, negotiate, and exchange views. But these limited missions deserve limited resources and limited expectations. Keep the UN, but why not establish something more.
In spite of terrorism and tyranny, democracy and freedom are still making headway throughout the world. Prior to 1985, less than 40% of the world’s population was served by democratic governments. By 2015, that number was 52.9% and growing. Others like Iran and Biafra would like to join that list. We should be putting our support and foreign aid dollars into supporting democracy and free-enterprise economies.
Trump’s willingness to take courageous stands could call for a new coalition of the willing—an international body committed to ensuring freedom and promoting economic opportunity. In 2005, I proposed creating a new international organization, the United Freedom Alliance (UFA). Membership would be limited to democratic countries committed to the rule of law, free enterprise, and liberty. Member countries would commit to political and economic support. Most of America’s foreign aid could be given to developing UFA members who are taking a stand for freedom and free enterprise. With minimal exceptions, non-democratic countries shouldn’t expect US foreign aid.
As developing countries become more prosperous and democratic, they’re more likely to become new customers who can afford to buy American products and services. Part of Making America Great Again is making other freedom-loving countries prosperous. A great America needs great countries who can buy what we produce and provide the things we would like to buy. I call on President Trump to help create an organization that is committed to making that dream a reality. There is no time like now to begin. The biggest difference between a vision and a hallucination is the number of people who can see it. Can you see what I see?