The United States leaves UNESCO and honestly admits that it does so because it does not want to repay the debt to this UN structure. The second reason - UNESCO clearly does not like Israel, which immediately decided to follow the example of Washington. But will Americans be able to do without world culture, and world culture - without the US?
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the US decision to withdraw from the organization. The decision was not easy, the State Department admitted, and justified three reasons: its growing debt to UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization and the "anti-Israeli policy of UNESCO." The decision will come into force 31 December next year.
In exchange, the State Department is ready to establish a permanent monitoring mission to UNESCO to maintain contacts with UNESCO on a number of issues, including world heritage, freedom of the press, and science and education.
Bokova already expressed deep regret. "This is a loss for UNESCO. This is a loss for the UN family, "the general director admitted, adding that Washington's decision violates the principle of multilateral cooperation adopted in world culture.
Bokova recalled that in 2011, when Washington suspended payment of its payments, she said that at that time "UNESCO has never been so important to the US, and also to the United States for UNESCO." "The work of UNESCO is the key to strengthening the ties and common heritage of humanity in the face of the forces of hatred and division," Bokova stressed.
The Cold War World War II Site
Counselor Lateral Henrik Yushkevicius (Russia) admitted that the US decision upset him, because, in particular, this puts the organization in a "rather difficult financial situation". He is sure that in the US many intellectuals are not at all happy, because the connections between scientists from different countries will suffer. As Yushkevicius reminded:
"Even during the Cold War, UNESCO was a platform where scientists from many countries met. For many, it was a window to the world, as, for example, for Soviet scientists. For example, the magazine "UNESCO Courier" was very popular in the USSR ".
The organization was created in 1945 year for cooperation between countries, so that the means of science and education can promote mutual understanding, and not with the purpose of finding the moments that interfere with each other, the adviser recalled. "UNESCO did not do this task so poorly. It was popular in Russia, "said Yushkevicius, pointing to the role of the organization in defending Lake Baikal - as a result of UNESCO's campaign, President Putin decided to change the route of the pipeline near the lake.
"Many people think that UNESCO gets a lot of money. But for two years the budget is about 560 million dollars. This is the budget of an average American university, "Yushkevičius told the VZGLYAD newspaper, admitting that UNESCO has already suffered financial losses in recent years, from the moment when Palestine joined the organization. In that year, the US froze the already planned contribution of 80 million dollars. "The amount depends on the size of a particular state and the number of inhabitants. The same formula as in the UN, "explained Yushkevičius.
He considers the decision of the State Department to be political - and the US, rather, will lose from it. The threat was not only cultural and educational, but, in fact, military and political projects. For example, the project on training Afghan policemen, which also took place under the auspices of UNESCO, has already suffered. Although, it would seem, the US was directly interested in it.
The American habit of slamming the door
As you know, UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, headquartered in Paris. The United States is not leaving UNESCO for the first time. For the first time in 1984, Ronald Reagan did it. Then the demarche also justified the poor financial management in the organization and its "anti-American" policy. In 2003, under George W. Bush, the States returned to UNESCO.
But in 2011, UNESCO adopted Palestine, after which Israel, the US, Canada, Australia and Poland suspended funding. As the newspaper VZGLYAD wrote, as a result, at 2012 year, UNESCO entered with a budget deficit of 150 million dollars, but this did not lead to the suspension of important programs of the organization.
UNESCO's regular budget for 2010-2011 years amounted to 653 million US dollars, and off-budget allocations reached 462 million dollars. The main donor states at that time were the USA (22%), Japan (12,5%), Germany (8%), Great Britain (6,6%) and France (6,1%).
Israel should leave after the United States, said on Thursday the representative of the Jewish state in UNESCO Carmel Shama. According to him, "in recent years this organization has turned into a virtual structure that has changed its professional guidelines to suit the political interests of certain states," the Ninth TV channel of Israel quotes.
A couple of hours after that, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Foreign Ministry to prepare the country's exit from the organization.
The theme of Israel and Palestine "hangs for a long time," but the question of money also played a role, explains the chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Federation of United Nations Associations, the UNESCO Chair of MGIMO (U) Alexei Borisov. "Of course, this is Trump's program. During the pre-election campaign, he promised to reduce the funding of international organizations. So he follows his pre-election slogan America First, "the source said.
"This is an irresponsible decision, which then will have to be reversed, as it had already been played out once," Borisov predicted to the newspaper VZGLYAD. "This is detrimental to both the United States and UNESCO. Without such a player as the United States, it is difficult to achieve any real success. It's a pity, but I think that we, the international community, will cope. Financially, in particular, there are no special problems, because UNESCO has already adapted to the fact that since 2011, the US has not been paid. By the way, since 2013 year their voice has already been withdrawn ".
Life outside the world culture is incredible
Serious consequences are expected by both sides, suggested in an interview with Interfax, the first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Culture, Vladimir Bortko. This will be of great importance for the budget of the organization itself, "since the US contribution to UNESCO is the largest," he said. But this decision harms the US itself, Bortko believes, "because life outside the world culture is incredible. If they want, let them try. "
Most likely, the Americans do not want to pay a large fee, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Vladimir Jabarov said. "Although, I think, the presence there as observers says that they are still interested in working in this organization," he told TASS.
Jabarov puts this step in a number of others - the same extravagant, for example, the withdrawal from the Paris agreement on climate. The senator does not rule out that Washington will have time to change its mind by the end of next year, because Trump's team is "unpredictable".
This is absolutely in Trump's general logic, noted Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Foreign Ministry, ex-Permanent Representative of Russia to UNESCO Eleonora Mitrofanov, adding that the United States in UNESCO was engaged exclusively in supporting Israel, as well as pressure on countries in which they were "not satisfied with the regimes" .
"There are always issues on the agenda related to the cultural heritage and education in the Palestinian territories, and there is always a certain demarche on the part of Israel. But I think that this is an absolute pretext, "Mitrofanova said, also assuming that the US actually decided to leave so as not to pay debts.
"This is sad news," Dmitry Peskov, presidential spokesman, responded lucidly to Tillerson's decision.