[From the diaries by susanhu.] The Republican Party has proven once again that they don’t give a damn about the United Nations and what it stands for.  Rather than work together with the international body on important global affairs such as the Iraq debacle, the Darfur crisis, or nuclear proliferation, the Republican Congress has voted to withhold 50% of its annual dues to the United Nations if it doesn’t complete their list of over four dozen reforms.

Details below the fold…
From the Associated Press via Yahoo News:

Led by Republicans, the House voted 221-184 for a bill that would withhold one half of assessed U.S. dues, currently around $440 million a year, if the U.N. doesn’t accomplish nearly four dozen steps to improve its accountability and root out corruption.

Failure to comply would also result in U.S. refusal to support expanded and new peacekeeping missions.

“History shows that when Congress stands tough, when it says that if you don’t reform we are not going to pay, then change occurs,” said House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill., author of the legislation.

::: snip :::

The House rejected, on a 216-190 vote, an alternative offered by Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., that would have made similar demands for change but leave it to the secretary of state to decide whether to withhold up to 50 percent of payments.

And of course, the Bug Man himself couldn’t resist spewing out some of his trademark poison:

“Far from promoting justice and respect for international law, the United Nations has become one of the world’s greatest apologists for tyranny and terror,” said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. “The U.N.’s corruption is so breathtaking in its scope as to be almost universal.”

I will never understand why 51% of this country felt that Republicans were better fit to handle the delicate situation our country finds itself regarding the need for diplomacy.  Bush has created a MESS of our global system.  It will take our party and a small handful of sane Republicans to restore the trust the world once had in the United States as a true leader.

Democrats, and their few Republican allies, said there was no dispute over the need for U.N. reform, but argued that the Hyde approach was heavy-handed. “I can’t believe that when our men and women are fighting in Iraq, that we would move forward with legislation like this when we need to draw countries together,” said Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., who cosponsored the Lantos alternative.

Eight former U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations, including Madeleine Albright and Jeanne Kirkpatrick, also weighed in, telling lawmakers in a letter this week that withholding of dues would “create resentment, build animosity and actually strengthen opponents of reform.”

So what’s the potential impact on the United Nations if the Republican Senate decides to push this through and send it to Bush’s desk?

The Hyde bill, with amendments, lists 46 changes sought. They include cutting the public information budget by 20 percent, establishing an independent oversight board and an ethics office and denying countries that violate human rights from serving on human rights commissions.

The secretary of state would have to certify that 32 of the 46 changes had been met by September 2007, and all 46 by the next year, to avoid a withdrawal of 50 percent of assessed dues.

U.S.-assessed dues account for about 22 percent of the U.N.’s $2 billion annual general budget.

What the HELL are they thinking?  Add this to the loooooong list of proof that they are way out of the mainstream.  The Republicans in Congress are a bunch of radical right-wing chickenhawks and deserve to be tossed out in next year’s elections.

Here is the contact information for Rep. Henry Hyde, the genius who introduced this stupid bill.  Join me in sending him some inbox and fax-clutter expressing our displeasure at his attempt to weaken our international alliances:

Washington D.C.
2110 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4561
Fax: (202) 225-1166

District Office
50 East Oak Street, Suite 200
Addison, IL 60101
Phone: (630) 832-5950
Fax: (630) 832-5969

I would list his email address, but the coward refuses to allow anyone to email him from outside his district.  From his website:

Note: Because of the volume of mail I receive, only residents of the 6th District can e-mail me. Other than this e-mail service, I do not have a public e-mail address for residents outside my district to use.

Here’s the link anyways.  

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