UN could run out of money if Trump administration doesn't pay $1 billion it owes


The United Nations is running a severe deficit, in no small part thanks to the Trump administration.

Add the United Nations to the list of creditors Donald Trump doesn't want to pay.

The United States owes the U.N. approximately $1 billion: $674 million of that is for this year, but the $381 billion remainder is for back payments. With the U.N. running a $230 million deficit, if the Trump administration would even just pony up the back payments, things would be fine.

The deficit is a serious one. A spokesperson for the U.N. said called it "the worst cash crisis facing the United Nations in nearly a decade" and said it "runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors."

Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that the organization could run out of money by the end of October.

With a characteristic flair for ignoring the truth, Trump tweeted Wednesday that the U.N. should "make all Member Countries pay, not just the United States!" To be fair, there are 63 other member countries that haven't paid up yet this year either, but the lion's share — 129 member countries — have.

When Trump took office, he began cutting back on the U.N. budget. In 2017, there was a nearly $250 million cut. Working within a reduced budget, the U.N. has already been cutting costs since January of this year.

That the United States would be holding back money from the U.N. is no real surprise, given Trump's open hostility toward the organization. During the 2016 election, he declared the U.N. was "not a friend to democracy, it’s not a friend to freedom, it’s not a friend even to the United States of America where, as you know, it has its home."

Immediately after being elected, he said the U.N. was "just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time" but also proclaimed the organization wasn't living up to its "tremendous potential."

The United Nations is an example of something Trump loathes: a multilateral alliance. It's the same impulse that makes him hate NATO and drove him to withdraw from treaties like the Paris climate accords. Countries helping each other out doesn't resonate with Trump or his nativist base.

Unfortunately, it looks like the U.N. will be joining cities across the country in getting stiffed by Trump.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.