Peacekeeping Budget and the Pentagon

Pointing to John’s post on the $500 million shortfall facing UN peacekeeping in the President’s new budget, Foreign Policy’s Carolyn O’Hara chides

Can the Pentagon spare some change for UN Peacekeeping?…We’re talking chump change when you consider the fact that the Pentagon is due to get more than half a trillion dollars in 2009. U.N. peacekeeping is far from perfect. But it becomes far less so when it’s underfunded.”

A very fair point — and one that speaks to a structural difficulties facing Peacekeeping funding.

The United States is the single largest contributor to UN peacekeeping, picking up about 25% of UN Peacekeeping’s approximately $5.5 billion budget. US funding, though, comes from State Department, not the Pentagon. Whereas 25% of $5.5 billion may be a trivial sum for the Pentagon, it is not so at Foggy Bottom.

There is noise in some quarters advocating that the peacekeeping account simply be transferred to DoD. Another solution, is to fund the State Department at levels that reflect the critical need to bolster civilian instruments of American national security and foreign policies. This includes paying our UN dues on time and in full.