Trump Offers UN Reforms After Years of Berating Organization

© AP Photo / Seth WenigDonald Trump Nikki Haley United Nations
Donald Trump Nikki Haley United Nations - Sputnik International
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US President Donald Trump once described the UN as a “club for people to get together, talk and have a good time,” but on Monday the 45th US leader praised the 128 nations agreeing to implement new reforms centered on changing its culture of “bureaucracy and mismanagement.”

"In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement," Trump addressed the UN Monday.

​"While the United Nations on a regular budget has increased by 140 percent, and its staff has more than doubled since 2000, we are not seeing the results in line with this investment," the former real estate mogul said before adopting a more conciliatory tone: "I know that under the Secretary-General, that’s changing and it's changing fast. And we’ve seen it."

"The response that we’ve had has been nothing short of fantastic," US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Monday. Following Trump’s continued critiques of the UN, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched a new initiative to incorporate more transparency, efficiency, accountability, and streamlined processes.

Christopher Black, a Toronto-based international attorney who is on the list of counsel at the International Criminal Court, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear Monday Trump was widely expected to usher out typical executive-speak by arguing that reforms are necessary to make the UN "more efficient." But Black said it’s "wrong to complain America doesn’t get a bang for its buck," noting that Washington tends to praise the UN when their agendas align and bash the UN when it doesn’t bend to Washington’s preferences.

Trump’s angle to paint the UN as a bloated bureaucratic body is "straight out of the Republican playbook," Jim Jatras, former US diplomat and foreign policy advisor in the Senate, told Loud & Clear.

Guterres supported those “Republican playbook” talking points during remarks delivered Monday in New York. "To the people we support and the people who support us, we must be nimble and effective, flexible and efficient … we are reforming our peace and security architecture – to ensure we are stronger in prevention, more agile in mediation, and more effective and more cost-effective in peacekeeping operations."

According to the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, an office within with United Nations Executive Office of the Secretary-General, peacekeeping operations accrued $9.18 billion expenses in 2016.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, on what is expected to be implementation day, the day the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifies that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal. - Sputnik International
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The US contributes 22 percent of the UN’s $5.6 billion regular budget, according to UN data. While every country is required to make some contribution, the top ten UN financial backers account for 65.89 percent of total contributions; the top 20 supporters pay 83.78 percent of total contributions. The remaining 173 members contribute a combined 16.22 percent toward regular UN operations.

The top 10 financial supporters of the UN from 2016-2018 (the UN makes contribution assessments every three years) are, in descending order: the US, Japan, China, Germany, France, the UK, Brazil, Italy, Russia and Canada.

The Trump administration proposed a budget earlier this year to drastically reduce US spending on multilateral organizations like the UN. "We’re absolutely reducing funding to the UN and various foreign aid programs," Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office and Management and Budget, said in April.

"The president said specifically hundreds of times … 'I’m going to spend less on people overseas and more money on people back home' and that’s exactly what we’re doing with this budget," Mulvaney added.

he The CIA seal is seen displayed before President Barack Obama speaks at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Va., Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - Sputnik International
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According to John Kiriakou, who served with the US envoy to the UN on terrorism during his time with the CIA, said Monday "no work gets done" at UN General Assembly meetings. The real negotiations happen "on the margins," Kiriakou noted. The former US intelligence officer observed the most important exchanges between heads of state and diplomats "happen accidentally but not really accidentally" on the sidelines of the event at places like the coffee lounge, at dinners, or at a bar.

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