Former UN ambassador John Bolton gave a rather reserved interview on Fox News regarding the planned $2 billion renovation at Turtle Bay — 22% of which will get funded by the US. Bolton has a resigned air as he explains that we fund 22% of all UN operations, and that the renovation planning used the same formula:
The renovation really isn’t the issue here, and one senses that Bolton feels the same way. Either the UN is a worthwhile use of American funds or it isn’t. If it is, the renovation doesn’t make it less so, and the building obviously needs a lot of work, as seen in the Fox video. After several decades, buildings usually require this kind of work, although $2 billion seems like a rather expensive project even for the United Nations.
If the UN isn’t a worthwhile expense, then the renovation makes no difference, either. One has to wonder why nations don’t simply put their money towards the programs that actually deliver benefits and forego the fancy building and standing bureaucracy that adds little to the benefit of anyone. Multilateralism doesn’t require a UN, and the expense of maintaining the club begins to demand a cost-benefit analysis that supports it. The corruption and abuses that have been rampant at Turtle Bay add to the “cost” in both money and credibility of the member states. The Human Rights Council make the world worse every day it remains in existence thanks to its membership of notorious human-rights abusers, and no one can affix a cost to that liability.
What the UN needs is an overhaul of its membership, its leadership, its bureaucracies, and the HRC most of all. Unfortunately, it’s easier for everyone to renovate the building without considering the cancers within it.