Spring in Washington means more than our iconic Cherry Blossoms and tourists on the Metro. It’s also the beginning of budget season for lawmakers, and that means big decisions about our international affairs priorities.
If you haven’t been following the Better World Campaign’s calls to action, here’s what you need to know: The U.S. is in the red at the United Nations, with this year’s budget underfunding peacekeeping by 12 percent. Frankly, the situation is undermining our international standing and the effectiveness of missions in Mali, South Sudan, and beyond.
However, right now Congress has an opportunity to change course. And yesterday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power was on the Hill, providing testimony that could help our members of Congress do the right thing and fully fund the UN.
If by chance you aren’t a C-SPAN addict and missed the testimony, here are five top quotes from Ambassador Power not to be missed:
- “Our ability to exercise leadership in the UN – to protect our core national security interests – is directly tied to meeting our financial obligations.”
- “The UN and other international organizations enable our country to address diverse problems around the world at a cost and a risk far lower than if we acted on our own.”
- “Our citizens will do better and be safer in a world where rules are observed, prosperity is increasing, human suffering is alleviated, and threats to our well-being are contained. The United Nations is an indispensable partner in all of this.”
And for more proof of the good that comes from the UN when the U.S. is fully engaged—and paid up:
- ·“We have also secured UN progress in reducing staff, freezing pay, cutting waste, increasing transparency, and strengthening oversight of peacekeeping operations. Much more needs to be done and much more can be done. With your support, we will continue our work to make the UN more effective, efficient, transparent, and accountable.”
- ·“With [the United States’] help, Israel has in recent months become a full member of two groups from which they had long been excluded… Slowly, but surely, we are chipping away at obstacles and biases.”
The bottom line is this: When the U.S. is fully engaged at the UN, we enable great change both within and through the world body. Ambassador Power smartly urged our lawmakers to support full funding for UN peacekeeping. She steered them to the President’s FY’15 budget request to Congress, which calls for funding the UN mission in Mali—which is currently receiving zero U.S. dollars—and also creates a mechanism to fund a potential new peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, where the threat of a full-blown genocide grows more real every day.
Let’s hope Congress hears her. To make sure they do, you can join the Better World Campaign’s efforts here.