Global Policy Forum

US Policy on UN Peacekeeping


UN Documents and Reports

Following the Money (April 24, 2002)

A report of the Stimson Center suggests that President Bush's budget request for 2003 includes an array of unrealistic assumptions. The Administration expects budget reductions in nearly all current UN peacekeeping operations and hopes for no new operations during 2003. The request does not allot additional funds for a peacekeeping reform.

Peacekeeping Saves Cents, Makes Sense (March 30, 2002)

Although the Bush Administration is not keen on a "Clintonesque" long-term peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan, staying until the Afghan army is back on its feet seems worthwhile and cost-effective. (National Journal)

UN Peacekeeping: Estimated US Contributions, Fiscal Years 1996-2001 (February 2002)

In this report the General Accounting Office adopts a very broad definition of "support." The US Congress auditing arm claims that the US contributed $3.45 billion directly and $24.2 billion indirectly to support UN peacekeeping operations during the 1996-2001 period.

A Force for Peace and Security (February 2002)

A report, based on interviews with thirty US military leaders concludes that the US military strongly supports UN peacekeeping operations. The top officers emphasize that peacekeeping missions increase combat readiness and help in the fight against international terrorism. (Peace Through Law Education Fund)

US Overseas Military Training Grows Out of Sight (January 31, 2002)

The report by Foreign Policy in Focus warns against the US's rapid expansion of military ties with countries accused of questionable human rights records. As the Bush administration appears to make critical oversight of these programs more difficult, the US can consequently "foster, rather than hinder, terrorism." (OneWorld US)

The US Role in United Nations Peace Operations (May 31, 2001)

The Council for a Livable World argues in its new publication that the US should be more involved in UN peacekeeping operations, and the UN should be reformed and strengthened.

Peacekeeping: The US, the UN, and Regional Players (October 18, 2000)

C. David Welch, Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs, sets the record straight on peacekeeping successes and failures, as the US sees them. He also discusses peacekeeping assessment and reform, and if the UN is good, it "will reap an immediate benefit" of nearly $600 million from the US dues for peacekeeping (of which they owe over $1.3 billion). (US State Department)


2008 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | Archived Articles


US Slashes Africa Peacekeeping Funds (May 20, 2008)

The US has cut its financial contributions to the UN peacekeeping budget for 2008 by 25 percent. President Bush announced the reduction in February 2008, although suggested that the funding would be made-up in a supplementary budget in April. However, as ABC News
states, the US government failed to request the money. "It's a very tight budget year," conceded Kristen Silverberg, assistant secretary of state for international affairs organizations. The overall UN peacekeeping budget stands at nearly US$6 billion – the estimated cost of financing the Iraq war for one month.

Stiffing the Blue Helmets (February 21, 2008)

President Bush has heralded peaceful "democratic transition" in Africa while at the same time severely short-changing the UN peacekeeping budget, according to this Guardian article. The author, Mark Leon Goldberg, states that peacekeeping has proven to be one of the most successful forms of conflict resolution. While the US promotes peacekeeping verbally – it neglects to support missions financially or militarily. The article illustrates that the US will be US$610 million in debt to the UN peacekeeping budget this year, and US$2 billion in permanent arrears to the UN as a whole.


Bolton Asks UN to Rethink Peacekeeping (October 6, 2005)

In light of the safety threats facing UN peacekeepers in Eritrea and Ethiopia, US Ambassador John Bolton suggested that the UN rethink the broader purpose of such missions. UN diplomats fear that Bolton's remarks may compromise the future of peacekeeping missions, as the US is the largest contributor to the peacekeeping budget, with contributions amounting to approximately $1.2 billion a year. (New York Sun)


US to Pull Forces From 2 UN Missions (July 1, 2004)

The Pentagon announced that it would pull US peacekeepers out of two UN missions because they are no longer immune from international prosecution for war crimes. This announcement comes shortly after the United States grudgingly rescinded its proposed Security Council resolution to exempt US soldiers from ICC prosecution. (Associated Press)

US OKs Peacekeepers to the Ivory Coast (February 17, 2004)

After initially opposing the deployment of UN peacekeepers to war-ravaged Ivory Coast, the US has reversed its decision and asked Congress for approval. In light of this, the current Security Council president, Wang Guangya, has expressed hope that the UN will approve a peacekeeping force before the end of the month, when the mandate of the current UN mission and the French and African peacekeepers expires. (Associated Press)



Bush May Forge New Model for Global Peacekeeping (July 14, 2003)

Despite spending almost four billion dollars per month, the US military has not created stability in post-conflict Iraq. The high costs in dollars and US lives may explain the Bush administration's unexpected interest in creating a US-led peacekeeping force. (Christian Science Monitor)

US Looks at Organizing Global Peacekeeping Force (June 27, 2003)

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would like to establish a peacekeeping force separate from the UN and NATO. A defense policy expert remarked, "[The US is] not terribly good at peacekeeping, so I don't know why [it] would train people to be peacekeepers." (Los Angeles Times)

The Unlawful Attempt by the Security Council to Give US Citizens Permanent Impunity from International Justice (May 1, 2003)

Amnesty International questions the legality of Security Council resolution 1422 which grants US citizens immunity from the ICC's jurisdiction. They call on member states to reject a renewal of the resolution when it expires on June 30, 2003.



US Must Affirm Its Commitment to Peacekeeping (July 18, 2002)

The dispute between the US and the UN regarding the ICC and peacekeeping has left the world with a bitter aftertaste. The issue has "lent credibility" to those who worry about US unilateralism and has raised further questions about American commitment to peacekeeping. (Baltimore Sun)

US Delays Veto of UN Troops in Bosnia: Security Council allowed 12 Days to Solve Court Crisis (July 4, 2002)

The US agreed to a 12-day extension of the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. The delay will allow Washington and its opponents in the UN Security Council to find solutions that will bridge the differences on the jurisdiction of the ICC over US peacekeepers. (San Francisco Chronicle)

White House: Won't Abandon Bosnia (July 3, 2002)

The EU ambassadors unanimously rejected the US proposal, which would have allowed Security Council permanent members to permanently block ICC's prosecution of peacekeepers. Washington vowed to stay committed to its peacekeeping obligations in Bosnia even if the deadlock persists. (Associated Press)

EU Ready to Take Control of UN Bosnia Mission (July 3, 2002)

The EU has shown resolve to take over police training if the US vetoes an extension of the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. Despite the negative effects on the peace process in Bosnia, such scenario could catalyze the formation of the EU peacekeeping force. (Reuters)

Bosnia: Fears Over UN Pullout (July 3, 2002)

A US veto on the renewal of the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia will have deep repercussions. The Institute for War and Peace Reporting says that the premature ending of the mission will undermine the rule of law and the respect for human rights, leave hundreds unemployed, and leave organized crime unchecked.

Collateral Costs in Fighting a New Court (July 2, 2002)

The top UN official in Sarajevo, Paddy Ashdown, suggests that an early pullout of the UN police force from Bosnia will slowdown the training of Bosnian police force. Law-enforcement remains crucial in bringing order back, giving refugees confidence to return, and, above all, fighting organized crime. (New York Times)

UN Peace Operations in Danger of Being Crippled (July 2, 2002)

Following its veto on the renewal of the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, the US could veto the continuation of five other mandates, expiring in July. US reluctance to simply withdraw its peacekeepers, instead of vetoing renewals, clearly shows its broader goal of undermining the International Criminal Court. (The Times)

US Vetoes Bosnia Mission, Then Allows 3-Day Reprieve (July 1, 2002)

Claiming to remain "committed to international peace and security," the US has vetoed the UN resolution renewing the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and will not "budge down in its demand" for immunity. Arguing that "none of this is our doing," the US is devoted to undermining international law. (New York Times)

US Vetoes Peacekeeping Extension (June 30, 2002)

Following its threats, the US has vetoed the Security Council Resolution renewing the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia as a result of its failure to win immunity for US citizens from the ICC. (Associated Press)

US Proposals to Undermine the International Criminal Court Through a UN Security Council Resolution (June 25, 2002)

A Human Rights Watch backgrounder analyzes the US attempts to undermine the ICC. The document argues that the Bush administration was wrong to draw parallels between its own draft resolution and the UK negotiated exemption from prosecution for ISAF peacekeepers in Afghanistan.

Diplomacy's Odd Couple, the US and the UN (June 26, 2002)

The US wants UN peace operations to be selective, efficient, and cost effective. It would work to increase the military capabilities of the UN but will leave fighting to multinational coalitions. The US wishes the UN to be the only acceptable legitimator of international military action for all except the US and NATO. (International Herald Tribune)

US Veto Threat 'Frontal Attack' On Law (June 22, 2002)

Canada condemns the US threat to disrupt international peacekeeping operations, unless a clause for immunity is inserted, as a "frontal attack on international law and the rule of law." Canada believes that such a proposal undermines the rule of law, and urges the Security Council to reject it. (National Post)

US Imperils UN Peacekeeping (June 20, 2002)

The US has threatened to veto the extension of the peacekeeping mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, unless the UN Security Council adopts a text exempting peacekeepers from prosecution by the International Criminal Court. Such a move could put the entire Bosnia peace process in a precarious situation. (National Post)

US to Request Immunity for Peacekeepers (June 18, 2002)

The US will attempt to introduce to the Security Council a resolution that will exempt US peacekeepers from prosecution by the International Criminal Court. If the resolution does not go through, the US threatens to "reexamine" its financial contributions to the UN peacekeeping or reduce it peacekeeping personnel. (The Washington Times)

UN Envoy Seeks Help from US (June 15, 2002)

The UN chief for peacekeeping, Jean Marie Guéhenno, visited Washington and attempted to raise support for UN peacekeeping operations. He hoped to win the backing of many by pointing that Al Qaeda's operations proved that remote and unstable regions could be a threat to the US. (The Washington Times)

Now Showing on Satellite TV: Secret American Spy Photos (June 13, 2002)

The "top secret" surveillance images, which US spyplanes provide to support the peacekeeping operations in the Balkans, have been publicly available over satellite TV and the Internet. Such operational flaws endanger the effectiveness of the peacekeeping missions and undermine UN legitimacy. (The Guardian)

Unilateralism vs. Multilateralism: America Can't Go It Alone (June 13, 2002)

By insisting that the United Nations do the ''dirty work'' of nation-buildinThe Bush administration has lost balance and has tilted towards unilateralism. A return to multilateralism will entail convincing old and new friends to go along with the US. It will also require increased US participation in multilateral actions, but only if they clearly coincide with US interests. (International Herald Tribune)

Confronting the Warlord Culture (June 06, 2002)

By insisting that the United Nations do the ''dirty work'' of nation-building without ensuring a secure foundation upon which to build, President George W. Bush is setting up the UN to fail in Afghanistan, much as his father's policies sowed the seeds for failure in Somalia. (The Boston Globe)

US Backs Further from Peacekeeping (June 5, 2002)

Following the retraction from the treaty on the International Criminal Court, the Bush Administration has decided to close the US Army's Peacekeeping Institute. The move clearly signals the Administration's intent to disengage as much as possible from international peacekeeping efforts. (Inter Press Service)

US Makes International Court Demands (May 21, 2002)

The US failed to amend UN Security Council resolution 1410 on East Timor, to include language, which would have prevented the International Criminal Court from being able to prosecute US members of the East Timor peacekeeping mission.(Associated Press)

US Seeks Court Immunity For East Timor Peacekeepers (May 16, 2002)

The International Criminal Court might be a stumbling block to future US participation in peacekeeping missions. The US seeks assurances that its UN personnel in East Timor will be exempted from prosecution by the ICC. Major US allies oppose these demands, and see them as another move to undermine the ICC. (The Washington Post)

Wider Mission Stretches Military (May 2, 2002)

Chasing terrorists around the globe is putting a strain on the US military. The US Defense Secretary argues that the US should cut involvement in "non-military duties" such as international peacekeeping so the military can engage in "real" military duties. (Christian Science Monitor)

The Evolving President (April 21, 2002)

Although the US has been reluctant expand the multinational peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, the US must provide the means if the Bush Administration wants to reconstruct Afghanistan. (Washington Post)

US Companies Hired to Train Foreign Armies (April 14, 2002)

"The war on terrorism is the full employment act for these [private military companies (PMCs)]," says a Pentagon spokesman. Training the Afghan army may require the hiring of some of the often controversial PMCs. (Los Angeles Times )

Pentagon Challenge: Build an Afghan Army (April 11, 2002)

The Pentagon plans to deploy its special forces to jump-start the Afghani army. Yet the task of creating an ethnically balanced and a government-controlled army is not easy. (Christian Science Monitor)

Guns Before Butter: Afghanistan (April 6, 2002)

Before turning down the possibility of extending the Intern Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the US should remember its peacekeeping experience in Bosnia. Although Bosnia is far from perfect, the significant US troop contribution to the region has undeniably contributed to peace. (Economist)

Rebuilding Nations . . . (April 6, 2002)

Richard Holbrooke, the former US Ambassador to the UN, argues that fighting for and reconstructing Afghanistan are both integral parts in the campaign against terrorism. (Washington Post)

Help Africa Help Itself Militarily (March 18, 2002)

If the US seriously wants the African countries to help themselves, why cut the budget for the African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI), a US-sponsored African military training program? (Baltimore Sun)

Peacemaking too Important to Be Left to the US (February 23, 2002)

US unparalleled military power is creating a world where "the US fights, the UN feeds and the EU funds." However, European officials are wary of giving the US a "carte blanche" for its military operations. (Irish Times )

Both Savior and Victim: Black Hawk Down Creates a New and Dangerous Myth of American Nationhood (January 29, 2002)

Initially, the US entered Somalia in 1992 to do "God's work" in a nation devastated by clan warfare and famine. Yet far from resolving the conflict, the US accidentally escalated aggression and transformed UN's peacekeeping mission into a partisan war. (Guardian)




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