At long last, can America finally get out of the United Nations?
There is credible evidence that at least 12 staffers of the U.N.’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) were involved with the Hamas attacks of October 7 in which 1,200 Israelis were murdered. “One is accused of kidnapping a woman,” report journalists Ronen Bergman and Patrick Kingsley. “Another is said to have handed out ammunition. A third was described as taking part in the massacre at a kibbutz where 97 people died.”
And on Monday, Israel’s intelligence system released documents showing that “some 190 UNRWA employees, including teachers, have doubled as Hamas or Islamic Jihad militants.” Israel says that Hamas “methodically and deliberately deploy[s] its terrorist infrastructure in a wide range of U.N. facilities and assets,” and that about 1,300 UNRWA workers have some affiliation with terrorist organizations.
These are only the latest instances of how the U.N. has failed in its mission to promote peace and foster international justice. The catalog of the organization’s corruption, incompetence, and wasteful spending is too long even to begin here. Just consider one especially galling example: The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). UNFPA denies it uses its funds to promote abortion, but the (massive) evidence shows otherwise. Alliance Defending Freedom’s Elyssa Koren notes that “Western countries use the UN and its agencies to export abortion policy worldwide, primarily in countries where the practice is illegal or heavily restricted.” Koren says that from 2022 through 2025, UNFPA claims it has stopped (or will stop) a total of five million “unsafe abortions,” which means “these abortions were ‘safely’ provided by [UNFPA’s] partners, such as International Planned Parenthood.”
There currently are 193 member countries in the U.N. Only a handful are nations where their citizens actually rule themselves through elected representatives. And the U.S. often bears the brunt of the U.N.’s phony outrage, even though it is an organization populated largely by dictatorships, oppressive regimes, and nations unable to sustain order and peace within their own borders. These countries lack any moral right to assail the United States, whose generosity and commitment to human dignity make these other nations’ fake indignation repulsive.
Anti-Israel sentiment is entrenched in the U.N. As Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies said in recent congressional testimony: In the U.N., “the world’s leading human rights abusers emerge as leaders on human rights … the prevention or cessation of conflict only seems to matter when Israel tries to defend itself from terrorist attacks.” In 2022, for example, there were 15 U.N. resolutions attacking Israel, but not one concerning such oppressive states as China, Cuba, or Saudi Arabia.
In 2022, the United States provided the organization with $18.1 billion, roughly one-third of the total U.N. budget. The Heritage Foundation says this accounts for more than the contributions of 185 other member states combined. Yet in 2022, the U.S. was condemned by the U.N. for, of all things, our embargo against the cruel Marxist regime in Cuba.
The great irony is that while the U.N. needs the U.S., the United States needs the U.N. like a jagged pebble in a shoe. We have economic relationships of all kinds with nations large and small. NATO, ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S.), and the recent American-Japanese-South Korean security pacts operate well apart from the U.N. Our charitable organizations outnumber both in scope and financial aid those of virtually every other country put together.
In the U.N., resentment toward American power and hostility toward such friends as Israel and Taiwan grow each year. Many of the most vile regimes operating under the U.N. umbrella are America’s fiercest critics. At what point will enough be enough? Why continue in an organization the hypocrisy of which shines like decaying fish in the sun?
America needs robust diplomatic relations with the developing world, if for no other reason that China and Russia and their surrogates will woo emerging nations into their deceptively warm but ultimately brutal embraces otherwise. We don’t need the U.N. for any assistance in dealing with the global south.
American withdrawal from the United Nations is not about peevishness or indifference to vital international affairs. It’s about our self-respect as a republic. We can hope we still retain enough of that quality finally to retire from an organization that brings little more than loathing, rage, and moral squalor to our very shores.
Rob Schwarzwalder, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer in Regent University’s Honors College.
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