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Here’s why Trump’s proposed UN reforms won’t be easy


President Donald Trump speaks during a session on reforming the United Nations at U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 18, 2017.

Lucas Jackson | Reuters

President Donald Trump speaks during a session on reforming the United Nations at U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 18, 2017.

President Donald Trump wants the 193-country United Nations to trim its bureaucracy and cut costs while sharpening the focus of its work around the world.

Compared with the rest of his agenda, reforming the U.S. tax code and overhauling Obamacare will be a cakewalk.

In his debut appearance at the global body in New York on Monday, Trump scolded the institution for a swollen budget and a thicket of red tape.

“In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential due to bureaucracy and mismanagement,” Trump said. “We are not seeing the results in line with this investment.”

Despite his criticisms, Trump said the United States would “pledge to be partners in your work,” helping to advance the cause of peace around the world.

Like much of Trump’s most ambitious agenda items, transforming the United Nations to Trump’s satisfaction would be a very heavy lift.

To begin with, the U.N is not a single institution so much as it is a sprawling global network of dozens of humanitarian and development agencies. By design, the decision-making process is distributed among a wide range of countries and constituencies that may have little in common and opposing views and interests.

Trump has complained repeatedly that the United States is paying more than its fair share of the U.N’s budget

As the largest single contributor to the U.N. budget, the U.S. pays about 25 percent of the organization’s regular operating budget and more than 28 percent of a separate peacekeeping budget. The U.S. has yet to make its payment this year, prompting fears that it may cut its annual contribution.

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