Poor Peacekeepers

David Bosco looks at where UN peacekeepers come from:

While there are exceptions, U.N. peacekeeping is an activity mostly paid for by the rich world and carried out by troops from poorer states. The leading troop contributing states (TCCs) are Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Rwanda. The top funders are the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, and Italy. Combined, these countries cover well over 50 percent of the peacekeeping tab, while offering fewer troops than diminutive Jordan. The United States alone pays 27 percent but provides a grand total of 109 peacekeepers. “With a few exceptions,” notes George Washington University scholar Paul Williams, “the West has basically left peacekeeping operations.” Turtle Bay blogger Colum Lynch recently described the structure as “the U.N.’s own caste system.”

Alex Mayyasi adds that “peacekeepers standing by as battles or massacres occur within miles of them in places like Congo and Sudan can be traced to the mercenary aspect of peacekeeping missions”:

Many governments send their troops without proper equipment, pocketing the UN funds intended for the purchase of arms, radios, and vehicles. States sending troops also often place restrictions on their use, so they cannot respond to active fights or enter dangerous environments. And troops whose governments are merely collecting pay, and do not have a strong interest in the peacekeeping mission, have no incentive to do their job well and no reason to risk their life.