Superpower Stiff

Washington's refusal to pay its dues is imperiling America's influence at the United Nations

There may not be many reasons to feel sorry for the United Nations--its marble-and-glass headquarters, after all, have occupied prime Manhattan real estate free of charge for nearly 50 years--but nothing justifies the degree of sheer pitilessness that the U.N.'s biggest, richest and most important member has shown toward the world body since the mid-'80s. That's when the U.S. decided to cut back on paying its U.N. dues, got serious about slashing the organization's bloat, held funding for the U.N. hostage to abortion politics and allowed the U.S. to begin accumulating well over $1 billion in arrears.

Now comes the reckoning:...

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