Is the United States Giving too Much to the United Nations?
Does it seem like whenever the United Nations (UN) sends peacekeepers to a region that the United States (US) bears the majority of the debt and load of troops? Does it seem that we are the only country supply material and “doing it all?” Is the US the worlds police department? No we aren’t. The US is doing its job when the UN asks for assistance when a country needs peacekeepers in a time of transition, redevelopment, or serious acts against the rights of humans.
The US is not the controlling force behind the UN like some people believe. For those of you how do, grow up! It is true that the US pays more than some other countries, but we do not carry the whole budget. We only cover 25% of the regular UN budget and peacekeeping operations. That comes to a total of $313 million for the regular budget and $282 million for peacekeeping, and whatever other contributions that Congress decides to give to other UN programs. Some might say that this is too much, well I believe that it isn’t enough. The UN runs many programs and tries to maintain peace in an effort to thwart war. How much would you pay for a global peace? Whatever it is that you just said probably isn’t enough. Why should any US citizen worry about what the UN does, we are the US, the most powerful country in the world? It should be a matter of your concern since the US is vulnerable, maybe not from some other falling superpower, but to some third world country that is trying to get their hands on a medium yield nuclear weapon. How does this effect the UN? Well the UN works with small third world countries to get them developing in the right the direction, away from weapons of mass destruction and more towards a better agriculture system of infrastructure.
What type of military support does the US give the UN? Currently the UN has around twenty peacekeeping operations going on around the world, the most recent being the mission to East Timor. There are about 26,000 UN peacekeepers around the world and about 900 of those are American, so we contribute about 3% of the peacekeeping force. The largest contributor is Poland with about 1,100 troops and other personnel. I think that if a country like Poland can give 1,100 troops, we can do better. Yes, that might mean that we might loose more men and women, but we have the largest Navy, Air Force, and the second largest Army in the world. I am not saying we put all our Armed Forces at the disposal of the UN, but we can give more. Does this mean we will have to pay more, no. Congress recently passes a law saying that the US will pay no more than 25% of the UN regular budget or peacekeeping budget, and the UN is working with a no-growth budget for the first time. This is a win-win situation for the US if we gave more. It shows the world that the US does care about other countries other than itself, and it can spread the interest of the US to places where it might not usually get. This doesn’t mean that the US is going to take over the world, it means that the US should take the world into consideration when it comes to making some policy decisions. You might think that if the US gives troops to an UN operation that is lead by a foreign commander that the US has no say it what happens. Well, that is wrong the President of the United States never relinquishes control of any US armed forces no matter the circumstance. The US should be more forward in the way it handles peacekeeping operations. I am not saying whenever there is trouble the US should run to that country and hold its hand, but we should go forth and help when we have an opportunity to share with the struggling country a hand up and get it going again. An example is helping the sovereign state of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. These are two countries that broke away or are trying to break away and become sovereign complete and not worry about Serbs coming in to ruin their way of life.
What I am saying is that the US is a big financial backer of the UN but, we should give more in the way a human personnel. The US is a country that has many resources and we use quite a bit for the defense of our own country, but we should put some of these resources to the use for the spread of peace throughout the world. The first real test of the UN came during the Korea War, when the US lead forces went to stop the invasion of South Korea from the communist North Korean/Chinese armies. That was a success, the UN didn’t fall apart like some people thought, and the “spread of communism” stayed north of the 38th parallel. I know that this may seem ludicrous to some, that we should get more involved in the way things should be run around the world when the President of the United States doesn’t know how to keep his pants zipped up. In the age of better communication and technological advances we should be able to spread peace and wealth around the world, and just not keep power in the hands of those who have it. We were once a world where we didn’t know or cared what was happening in some third world nation that most of us can’t find on a map, but in a world that grows closer with each click of the mouse we need to step and take a stand against oppressive leaders no matter what country it is. I believe that this can be done, I also believe that it might not happen any time in the next fifty years. I just hope that future generations will look back at years of war, conflict, and starvation in some countries while others wasted food, and wonder why didn’t people try to make things better for all? Why didn’t countries like the US, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Japan step up and give these countries the ability to get moving in the right direction? I just hope that this day will come, and we can all live as a one.