Thursday, November 3, 2011

An Open Letter to the Governments of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain

"The question is: what will you Gulf Cooperation Council champions of the Palestinian cause do in response?

The US, acting on reflexive legislation passed in the 1990s has frozen payment of US$60 million to UNESCO for the month of November. Close to US$70 million, or 22% of UNESCO’s annual budget comes from the US. The US will remain in UNESCO, but without paying its dues – a stance it can only maintain for two years before it must resume payments or leave UNESCO entirely.

If Congressional Republicans have their way, when that two-year deadline comes, the US will be out of UNESCO. Few in Congress today would shed any tears over that.

They would also shed few tears over the withdrawal of the US from other UN organizations such as UNICEF or the World Health Organization. Foreign aid – excluding defense spending – is on the Beltway chopping block for the foreseeable future. The US might stick it out with commercially-oriented bodies in the UN such as the World Intellectual Property Organization, or security-related ones like the IAEA (though there are many in the US who wish to wipe their hands of the latter)."

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