Reuters’ Louis Charbonneau points to a problem:

U.N. peacekeeping is headed for a crisis, with demand for blue helmets around the world skyrocketing, financial contributions dwindling and reserves of well-trained soldiers drying up.

pker blue helmet.jpg

This shouldn’t really come as a shock. UN peacekeeping has expanded exponentially over the past decade, as countries increasingly turn to the UN to stabilize the most unstable areas of the world — even in places where the lack of a “peace to keep” makes the term “peacekeeper” painfully ironic

Even if it’s not shocking, Charbonneau’s dispatch is a wake-up call. Lest any sort of backlash against UN peacekeeping discourages countries from providing it with the financial support it desperately needs, Max Bergmann voices a reminder of how short-sighted such a policy would be.

“UN forces … do fail, but this is often the result of either too few troops or too little money,” said political analyst Max Bergmann of the National Security Network.

“Our reliance on the United Nations to address trouble spots and to prevent them from worsening has only increased,” he said. “Shorting the U.N. on peacekeeping funding is therefore akin to shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Except by not providing the boots on the ground, or the money for the weapon, there might not even be many peacekeeping feet to shoot.

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