Today the House continues to consider the State, Foreign Ops Appropriations bill (streaming video), which includes funding for UN peacekeeping. House Appropriators added $195 million for peacekeeping in committee to help address U.S. arrears (which could reach $1 billion this year). That funding could possibly be under attack, and there will likely be many amendments offered that address issues of diplomacy and multilateralism.
As you may recall, the President’s budget request shorted U.S. funding for UN peacekeeping in FY 2008 by $500 million and failed to address $569 million in already existing arrears, threatening to put the U.S. more than $1 billion into arrears before the end of the year. In comparison to the Department of Defense budget (over $450 billion not including the supplemental spending for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan) this may not seem like much, but it represents 20% of the UN’s total peacekeeping budget for 2008 and forces the UN and troop-contributing nations to face resource shortfalls for critical operations in Darfur, Lebanon, and Haiti. Moreover it leaves key allies–notably India, Kenya, Pakistan, and Bangladesh–who send troops and ship equipment in support of new U.S.-supported UN peacekeeping operations holding unpaid invoices and threatens to further damage the U.S. image abroad.