In a special two-part segment on Thursday night's The Daily Show, correspondent John Oliver took an in-depth look at the U.S. government's decision to block funding to the relief group UNESCO.
First, Oliver meets with former Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL), who informs him that under 1990's Public Law 103-236, the United States is forbidden to provide funding to any agencies who deal with Palestine directly. As a result, a UNESCO spokesperson says, programs like fresh water for 950,000 people, literacy programs for the Afghan police force, and programs to strengthen the Iraqi judiciary are all going to have to be scrapped.
Back in his office, Rep. Wexler says, yes, it's a shame, but the U.S. must make the point, not just to UNESCO but to other U.N. agencies, an exercise that Oliver likens to physically cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.
In Part Two, Oliver travels to Gabon, one of the nations who volunteered funding to UNESCO to fill the gap left by the U.S. withdrawal of funds. He finds, once there, that these sorts of decisions are much harder when you have to explain them to the faces of the adorable schoolchildren and struggling students who will be impacted.
The point to remember, though, as outlined by Rep. Wexler, is that we in the U.S. are always "The Good Guys," always. Even when the decisions we make are obviously, patently bad ones.
Watch the clips, embedded via Comedy Central, below: