Europe to U.S. — Pay Up!

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UNITED NATIONS: It's like getting yelled at by your mom in front of all your friends — after you've grown up and left home. The European Union, frustrated with carrying the burden of keeping the United Nations alive, has told the U.S. to pay its arrears to the organization before Washington’s demand to have its dues lowered would be considered. "The European Union wishes to make clear that it will only agree to a reopening of discussions after the United States ... respects its financial obligations under the U.N. Charter," said Luxembourg ambassador Jean-Louis Wolzfeld, which, in diplomatic circles, amounts to a public tongue-lashing.

The tough love came as the U.N. General Assembly meekly offered a biannual budget that, at $2.532 billion, is even lower than Republicans in Congress had demanded. Meanwhile, Jesse Helms is no closer to allowing payment of a cent of the $1.3 billion U.S. arrears. No wonder the Europeans got upset. This is what was known in the 1960s as "delinquent diplomacy." Back then it was much frowned on by Washington, who publicly lambasted the Soviets for practicing it. It's ironic they should now receive the same scolding themselves. How the mighty have fallen — into debt.