Magazine article World Watch

U.N. Peacekeeping Expands

Magazine article World Watch

U.N. Peacekeeping Expands

Article excerpt

Spending on U.N. peacekeeping operations rose to a record $3 billion in 1993, a 69 percent increase from the previous year. Historically, very modest sums of money have been devoted to peacekeeping activities, but since 1987, spending has grown almost thirteenfold as the number, size, and complexity of these missions have exploded. From 1947 to 1993, the United Nations spent a cumulative $10 billion on peacekeeping.

In 1991, according to the Independent Advisory Group on U.N. Financing, the world's governments spent $1,877 on their militaries for each dollar they spent on U.N. peacekeeping. In just the past two years that ratio has changed rapidly in favor of contributions to U.N. missions, to within a range of 250:1 to 200:1. Yet the world still spends less on the "Blue Helmets" during one year than on traditional military forces in a couple of days. Clearly, governments across the globe still believe their security interests are better served by clinging to military muscle than by constructing a cooperative, less-heavily armed security system.

During the first four decades of the United Nations, 18 missions were undertaken. From 1979 to 1987, no new operations began. But during the past six years--1988 to 1993--25 new missions sprang to life, including the three largest ever: in Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia, and Somalia. Until 1987, the highest number of active operations in any given year was seven. Since then, however, this number has skyrocketed to 22. With the exception of 1990, several new missions have been launched every year since 1987. …

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