05/29/2007 - 9:48am
A Day to Remember
Posted by Don Kraus
Today is the International Day of U.N. Peacekeepers. It's a good time to remember that those that worked and have sometimes given their lives to promote peace and justice around the world. At the U.N., Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in a statement said:
It's also a good time to remember that unless Congress acts, the United States will have accrued over $1 billion in peacekeeping arrears. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was supposed to take up legislation last week to address this, but failed to do so.
The United Nations currently operates 18 peacekeeping missions in war-torn countries around the world. The United States voted for each of these missions in the Security Council and has no obligation to contribute troops. The Bush administration's proposed funding cuts for U.N. peacekeeping this year will make it that much more difficult for peacekeeping to succeed. Meanwhile, a bipartisan resolution by Reps. Wynn and Leach, which supports an Emergency Peace Service, would make peacekeeping even more effective.
A few key points to remember:
In an interconnected world, all hot spots are in our backyard. We can't afford to ignore failed states or civil conflicts anymore. Helping people caught in war-torn regions isn't just a moral imperative - it's a crucial pillar of our national security strategy.
High success, low cost. An independent report by the RAND Corporation illustrates that the U.N. has by far the most successful peacekeeping force in the world. The U.S. Government Accountability Office confirmed that peace operations in Haiti would have cost the U.S. spend eight times as much money as the U.N. has spent.
Keep our Promise, pay our bills. Not funding our part of U.N. peacekeeping makes it harder for current missions to succeed and for new missions to get off the ground.
Let's make it stronger and more effective. It's hard to get peacekeeping missions prepared and off the ground. Establishing a U.N. Emergency Peace Service that could deploy quickly would save countless lives and billions of dollars.
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