The Non-Aligned Movement - the club of Third World governments that used to play off the superpowers against one another - is groping for a role in the post-Soviet world. Meeting in Indonesia, its members have come up with a plan for reforming the United Nations: Take away the veto power of the five permanent members of the Security Council and give more responsibilities to the General Assembly, where all 179 member nations have an equal vote.
Tell that to the taxpayers in Ohio.The five permanent members of the Security Council are the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China. Together they provide just under half the U.N. budget; the United States alone pays 25 percent. The 174 countries that chip in the other half, including such upstanding citizens as Iraq, Syria, Haiti, Libya, Cuba, North Korea, Zaire and Sudan, should each have the same say as the members footing the bill?
Even with the veto power intact, the post-Cold War tendency is already for the United Nations to take on more projects than its budget will bear. Just recently, in addition to its long-standing deployment in Cyprus, the United Nations has sent peacekeepers or civilian workers to Cambodia, Angola, Croatia, Bosnia, Somalia and South Africa. The other day there was talk of a mission to Georgia.
Decoupling the right to consent from the duty to pay would expeditiously wreck the United Nations.