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Focus on the United Nations
UN Peacekeeping Operations

UN Peacekeeping Operations: Supporting U.S. Interests

The peace and security activities of the United Nations directly 
support United States national interests.

Peacekeeping has the capacity, under the right circumstances, 
toseparate adversaries, maintain cease-fires, facilitate the 
delivery ofhumanitarian relief, enable refugees and displaced 
persons to return home, demobilize combatants, and create conditions 
under which politicalreconciliation may occur and free elections may 
be held. In so doing, itcan help nurture new democracies, lower the 
global tide of refugees,reduce the likelihood of unwelcome 
interventions by regional powers, andprevent small wars from growing 
into larger conflicts which would be farmore costly in terms of 
lives and treasure.

[Were there no UN peacekeeping,] it would leave us with an 
unacceptableoption when emergencies arose: a choice between acting 
alone and doingnothing.   
--Secretary Christopher, January 6, 1995

Burdensharing. In the post-Cold War world, one of the best vehicles 
toensure burdensharing is peacekeeping. Nations that would not 
otherwisedeploy their military forces outside of their own borders 
send their menand women around the world on UN peace missions. More 
than 90 nationshave deployed troops on UN missions; 77 countries 
have troops deployedtoday. In February 1995, 25 nations had more 
troops deployed in UNmissions than did the United States. Since the 
U.S. makes many othervoluntary contributions in support of UN 
activities that directly serve U.S. interests, this ranking is by no 
means indicative of our broader role as an international leader. It 
is, however, indicative of the contributions many other nations make 
in sharing the burden of keeping the peace.

Beyond contributing their forces, other nations pay the lion's share 
of the cost of UN peacekeeping operations--70% of total UN costs for
peacekeeping is assumed by other nations. The Administration seeks 
to increase the non-U.S. burden to 75%.Were it not for the United 
Nations, in many cases the United States would be forced to act 
unilaterally. The U.S. share of the personnel and finances of such 
operations would normally be far more than its contribution to UN 
peacekeeping operations.

U.S. and UN: Acting in Concert. The map of UN peacekeeping deployments 
closely parallels the pattern of U.S. interests. UN peacekeepers 
patrolthe borders of America's close ally, Israel. They separate forces 
tiedto our Greek and Turkish allies in NATO. They have helped 
resolvefestering regional conflicts in Europe, Southeast Asia, Southern 
Africa,the Persian Gulf, and Central America.

The United Nations Security Council also provides international 
backingfor U.S. actions. In recent years, the UN authorized U.S. 
militarydeployments in the Persian Gulf, Horn of Africa, and the 

Most recently, the Clinton Administration won Security 
Councilauthorization for deployment of a multinational force to Haiti 
that hasrestored democracy. Security Council support was instrumental in 
gainingagreement from more than two dozen other countries to participate 
in themultinational force, maximizing global diplomatic support for 
theoperation and allowing the U.S. to execute the transition to a 
UNpeacekeeping force. To the extent future peacekeeping missions 
succeed, they will lift fromthe shoulders of American servicemen and 
servicewomen and the taxpayersa great share of the burden of collective 
security operations around the globe.   
--Ambassador Madeleine Albright, September 23, 1994

UN peacekeeping forces moved in after U.S. forces had been drawn down 
inKuwait, Somalia, Rwanda, and Haiti. Their arrival allowed thousands 
ofU.S. forces to return home safely.

Humanitarian Relief. Concomitant with wars of ethnicity or 
nationalismand by-products of failed states are mass migration, 
refugees, famine,and disease. A necessary component of restoring peace 
and security isstabilizing these calamities and then providing a way for 
refugees toreturn home. The United Nations, particularly its High 
Commissioner forRefugees (UNHCR), plays a key role in coordinating and 
delivering theworld's assistance.

In many instances, UN peacekeepers provide security for the return 
ofrefugees and the delivery of humanitarian relief by UNHCR and the 
manygovernment and private voluntary groups that offer 
assistance.Peacekeepers and relief organizations have worked side by 
side inBosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, Georgia, Mozambique, and elsewhere.

Were it not for the combined efforts of peacekeepers and relief 
workers,millions more would have died in these conflicts alone. Thus, 
even whenpeace has not yet been obtained, peacekeepers have made 
valuablecontributions by saving lives.

The American people overwhelmingly support helping the innocent 
victimsin such disasters, but they do not wish to act alone. The United 
Nationsrelief and peacekeeping agencies together provide a vehicle for 
theworld to unite to deal collectively with such emergencies. Role of 
Peacekeeping in U.S. Foreign Policy. Peacekeeping is one usefultool to 
help prevent and resolve regional and other conflicts beforethey pose 
direct threats to our national security, which can beaddressed only by 
the use of massive military force. U.S. Participation in UN Peace 
Operations. In some circumstances, theparticipation of U.S. military 
personnel in UN operations advances U.S.interests.

--  First, U.S. military participation may be necessary to persuade
others to participate in operations that serve U.S. interests.

 --  Second, U.S. participation may enable the U.S. to exercise 
influenceover an important UN mission without unilaterally bearing the 

--  Third, the U.S. may be called upon and choose to provide 
uniquecapabilities to important operations that other countries cannot. 
Command and Control. The President will never--and under theconstitution 
may never--relinquish his command authority over ourmilitary personnel 
at any time. Command constitutes the authority toissue orders covering 
every aspect of military operations andadministration. By law, the chain 
of command flows from the President tothe lowest U.S. commander in the 
field and remains inviolate.

It has been long-standing U.S. policy, when it serves U.S. interests, to 
place U.S. forces under the temporary operational control of another 
commander. We have done this since the Revolutionary War, through World 
Wars I and II, Operation Desert Storm, and in UN peacekeeping operation 
sand NATO since their inceptions. This procedure enables the U.S. to 
participate in operations that directly serve U.S. interests, such as 
the UN mission in The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, but limit 
our exposure. Moreover, when we are willing to provide U.S. forces to 
collective security actions, we reap the reciprocal benefits of having 
the flexibility to use portions of other countries' forces, as in the 
Gulf War, to achieve common military objectives. U.S. Policy on 
Reforming Multilateral Peace Operations. The Clinton Administration is 
pursuing policies to improve and reform UN peacekeeping so that it 
better serves U.S. interests. In May 1994, President Clinton signed a 
Presidential Decision Directive on Reforming Multilateral Peace 
Operations. The policy is premised on the need to reform, not 
debilitate, UN peacekeeping.

To maximize the benefits of UN peacekeeping, the United States must make 
highly disciplined choices about when and under what circumstances to 
support or participate in such operations. The need to exercise such 
discipline is at the heart of President Clinton's policy, which requires 
that tough questions be asked about the costs, size, risks, mandate, and 
duration of operations before they are started or renewed. The U.S. has 
not hesitated to use its position on the Security Council to insist that 
satisfactory answers to these questions be provided prior to Council 
action. The goal is simple: ensure that UN missions have clear and 
realistic objectives, that peacekeepers are equipped properly, that 
money is not wasted, and that an end-point to UN action can be 
identified. That new policy is working and has resulted in fewer and 
smaller new operations and better management of existing ones.

President Clinton's policy directive addresses six major issues of
reform and improvement:

--  Ensuring disciplined choices about which peace operations to 
support and when to participate with U.S. forces;
--  Reducing U.S. costs for UN peace operations;
--  Reaffirming long-standing U.S. policy regarding the command and
control of U.S. forces in UN peace operations;
--  Reforming and strengthening the UN's capability to manage peace
operations effectively;
--  Improving the way the U.S. Government manages and funds peace
operations; and
--  Improving cooperation between the Executive Branch, the 
Congress, and the American public on peace operations.

The Price of Peace

While the cost of UN peacekeeping has increased rapidly in the post-
ColdWar era, the absolute cost to the U.S. remains a small portion of 
our national security expenses--the equivalent of less than one half of  
1%  of the Department of Defense budget. While UN peacekeeping costs can  
and must be better contained, they represent a far cheaper choice than 
either of the alternatives. UN peacekeeping is far more economical for 
the U.S. than acting unilaterally or ignoring opportunities for peace 
and confronting crises only after they have spread and directly threaten 
U.S. national security interests.

Dramatic Cost Growth. During the Cold War, one or both of the two 
superpowers generally opposed using UN peacekeeping to deal with most 
crises. In the immediate aftermath of that period, however, both sides 
urged the UN to create numerous new peacekeeping operations.

In the last Administration, the United States sponsored or supported UN 
resolutions that increased the number of UN peacekeepers from fewer than 
10,000 to more than 70,000. That seven-fold increase in the number of 
peacekeepers deployed caused an increase in the cost of UN peacekeeping 
operations by more than a factor of seven. It is the bow wave from those 
increases that has presented the United States with the large UN 
assessments that, as a formal U.S. treaty commitment, we have had to 
face in the last few years.

Many of the large and most costly operations are now coming to a close. 
The Cambodia mission, which at one point deployed almost 20,000 
peacekeepers and was the largest operation ever attempted at that time, 
has been completed. Reducing Costs. The U.S. is actively working to 
lower our peacekeeping assessment to 25% by October 1995. In addition to 
reducing the U.S. share of UN peacekeeping costs, we must also reduce 
costs to all UN members by finding ways for the UN to do needed missions 
more efficiently. The United States has, for example, presented the UN 
with an analysis of procurement procedures and specific proposals for 
cost containment and reduction of peacekeeping costs. In addition, the 
U.S. actively supported the recently adopted rules changes that reduce 
the amount paid by the UN for heavy equipment (tanks, armored personnel 
carriers) that troop contributors bring with them on peacekeeping 
missions. We continue to pursue actively additional cost-containment 

The greatest savings, however, will come from more discretion in 
approving and sizing peacekeeping operations. Pursuant to President 
Clinton's policy, the United States now requires internal U.S. 
Government analyses of the potential costs, appropriate sizing, 
probability of success, end-game/exit strategy, and other considerations 
before supporting new UN peacekeeping operations. Moreover, we have been 
able to gain UN Security Council agreement to a similar procedure 
employed by that body prior to authorizing new missions. Rigorous 
application of such analysis is a key element of reducing costs and 
improving the quality of UN missions. (###)

After World War II, the Allies learned the lessons of the past. In the 
face of a new totalitarian threat and the nuclear menace, great nations 
did not walk away from the challenge of the moment. Instead, they chose 
to reach out, to rebuild, and the lead. They chose to create the United 
Nations, and they left us stronger, safer, and freer. . . .We must 
ensure that those who fought . . . who love freedom, did not labor in 
--President Clinton, September 26, 1994


Troop Contributions to UN Peacekeeping Operations--March 31, 1995
United States--3,317
United Kingdom--3,918


UN Peacekeeping Operations WIth More Than 5,000 Troops

Date                 UN Mission                        Status
7/60                ONUC (Congo)                    Completed
3/78                UNIFIL (Lebanon)                Ongoing
4/89                UNTAG (Namibia)                 Completed
3/92                UNPROFOR (Former                Ongoing
3/92                UNTAC (Camobodia)               Completed
12/92               ONUMOZ (Mozambique)             Completed
3/93                UNOSOM II (Somalia)             Completed
10.93               UNAMIR (Rwanda)                 Ongoing
3/95                UNMIH (Haiti)                   Ongoing
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