Funding as punishment

Or defunding, as the case may be. And is.

This was a spot on the Daily Show recently and, not just because I worked with some UNESCO folks a few months ago, this is an idea whose time has passed and show just petty and ineffectual we can be when put our little minds to it:

The US envoy to the UN urged Congress Tuesday to allow America to resume the funding to UNESCO cut off once the body recognized the Palestinians as a member state in October.

US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice argued that the funding reduction – some 22 percent of UNESCO’s annual budget – was hurting American interests and doing little to stem the Palestinians’ efforts for wider recognition at the UN.

But members of the US House foreign operations appropriations subcommittee, before whom Rice was testifying, pushed back against her appeals and indicated little support for providing the Obama administration the waiver it seeks. The funding cutoff was triggered by a law from the 1990s requiring the US to defund any UN body that recognized the Palestinians as a full member state.

The point not to punish yourself while you’re out showing just how tough and principled you can be – also no longer being taught in some of our better kindergartens. Actually, my apologies to kindergartners everywhere for this sort of low-level behavior in high-level places.