How Much Does the U.S. Owe to the World?

Foreign Aid

Do our Memberships in International Defense and other Organizations Further U.S. Self-Interest? 

How Much US Sovereignty Should We Give Up to These Organizations? 

Facing $19 Trillion in debt, and a Presidential Election this fall, isn’t it time to stop and look at all of our treaties and memberships in the 79 organizations we currently participate in and support?  This should include a conversation on the role foreign-aid should play in our national defense strategy. 

Many of these international organizations sprang up at the end of World War II or were the result of the Cold War.  Today we face new challenges, not the least of which is from Islamic Terrorism.  Many of the current international organizational structures that we are a party to either do not assist in fighting this threat or actually hinder our ability to effectively deal with this threat.  In some cases, they create a conflict of interest that is contrary to our national self-interest.

United Nations:

The UN was established after WWII in 1945 to replace the ineffective League of Nations.  The goal was to create an organization that would ensure that another WWII did not occur.  The UN is by far the largest international organization we are a party to and one that presents many domestic and international conflicts of interests and often conflicts with our national self-interest.  The good news and maybe the bad news is that the permanent members of the Security Council, the US, Russia, China, United Kingdom and France all have veto power over any mandatory actions by the UN, very little gets done.  During the Cold War, Russia (USSR) and China virtually opposed everything the west attempted to do via the UN.  (Remember, this was created post WWII so Germany and Japan as aggressors in WWII were excluded from the Security Council.)  In short, the UN is primarily a body where the US and its ally Israel are beat up continually and very little concrete or positive solutions are out forth by the UN. 

The US is the largest contributor to the UN contributing 22% or $1.3 Billion to support the general operations and $2.3 Billion to support the UN Peacekeeping efforts.  The UN has 83,300 “peacekeepers” on its payroll?  The long and short of it is that we are paying to create a forum for small, antagonistic, and in some cases Islamic Terrorist countries, to meet and condemn the US and Israel.  The UN passes so-called binding resolutions through the Security Council which are for the most part ignored by even members of the Security Council.  A case in point is economic sanctions.  We found French weaponry in Iraq while we were fighting a war against Iraq and while their were UN sanctions against member nations trading with Iraq.  The same is true for sanctions against North Korea and Iran. 

If the UN were dismantled tomorrow, the world would be no less safe than it is today and the job of the New York police would be infinitely simpler!

 

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

NATO is a military alliance between 28 countries.  Article Five of the treaty states that if an armed attack occurs against one of the member states, it should be considered an attack against all members, and other members shall assist the attacked member, with armed forces if necessary.  So technically, this is a binding agreement among the members for joint defense regardless of the provocation.  This is an important point given the expansion of NATO members over the years. 

NATO began with Belgium, Canada, Denmark,  France,  Iceland,  Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,  Norway,  Portugal,  the United Kingdom,  and the United States as founding members.  In 1952, Greece and Turkey became members of the Alliance, joined later by West Germany (in 1955) and Spain (in 1982). In 1997, Hungary,  the Czech Republic,  and Poland were invited to join NATO.  From 2004-09, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined NATO.

When you look at the current member states, many of the members are also members of the European Union that created different governance structure from when NATO was formed.  Others were previously part of the old Soviet bloc adding tensions between NATO and Russia, and since Turkey became a member of NATO, it has become of an Islamic State than a Western oriented State. 

NATO members are “required” to spend 2% of their GDP on their military defense.  Since the US spends a much higher amount of their GDP on defense, the volume of the US defence expenditure effectively represents 73 per cent of the defence spending of the Alliance as a whole.  This does not mean that we pick up 73% of the total NATO costs, but it does mean that there is a disproportional reliance on US military capabilities. 

NATO should be reviewed in terms of its structure, membership and funding.  The current structure and membership makes NATO a natural enemy of Russia which is why NATO has not allowed the Ukraine to join.  Turkey’s inclusion has caused problems with the US in Iraq and with our ability to support the Kurds in Iraq who are the enemy of Turkey.  The economic crisis in the EU leaves doubt that the EU countries could support any real military conflict for any length of time. 

In short, what are the benefits to the US to continue in the current makeup of NATO?

 

WTO (World Trade Organization)

The WTO was formed in 1995 to regulate foreign trade among nations.  (Donald Trump will love this organization!)  This organization is touted to promote FREE Trade but it is based on a number of Rules that define and thus limit true free trade.  True Free Trade does not require regulation!  Again, this organization has its own bureaucracy consisting of 600 full time employees. 

Of special concern is the “DOHA Round”.  The DOHA Round is a redistribution of wealth regime to help developing countries.  It has been described:

“This was to be an ambitious effort to make globalization more inclusive and help the world’s poor, particularly by slashing barriers and subsidies in farming. The initial agenda comprised both further trade liberalization and new rule-making, underpinned by commitments to strengthen substantial assistance to developing countries”.

The WTO has yet to be effective in dealing with currency manipulation by China and others.  Most trade agreements today are outside of the WTO, like the Pan Pacific Partnership, and others.  If a truly free market existing internationally, the global markets would self regulate inequities and protectionists activities.  But, bureaucrats are not likely to let a free market be free from their tinkering. 

The WTO is outdated and just another mechanism to redistribute wealth and protect specific western interests, especially in the EU.

_____________

Conclusion

I will not go through the other 75 or so agreements and organization that we are paying for today.  The examples above should give you a flavor for the types of entanglements we have gotten involved in and continue to support today.  We are in a whole new world and one where large international bureaucracies seldom work towards our national self-interest.  Quite the contrary. 

Ask yourself why we insist on going to the United Nations when we feel it is in our own national interest to invade a country suspected of having weapons of mass destruction?  Then, spending two years to get UN approval.  By then the weapons could have been moved anywhere, like Syria!  The UN does not care about our self interests.  Neither does NATO or the WTO.

Also, our Constitution clearly states that the Constitution, laws enacted by the Federal Government, laws enacted by our States, all take precedent over ALL treaties or other international agreements.  PERIOD.  All of these international treaties tend to restrict or override our own Constitutional rights and protections.

It is time to take a second look at the rights our government has negotiated away!

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

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