Give its position as a permanent, veto-wielding member of the Security Council, no UN peacekeeping operation can be deployed, expanded, or withdrawn from the field without U.S. consent.
The UN oversees the largest deployed military in the world, with more than 125,000 personnel deployed on 16 missions on four continents. Their activities are a boon to U.S. interests and are also extremely cost-effective, as other UN member states bear nearly three-quarters of their costs, and as the GAO noted, UN missions are eight times cheaper than U.S. forces acting alone.
Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George W. Bush & President Barack Obama, wrote that “[United Nations] Peacekeepers… help reduce the risks that major U.S. military interventions may be required to restore stability in a country or region. Therefore, the success of these operations is very much in our national interest.”
Over the past two decades, both Republican and Democratic Administrations have used U.S. influence at the Council to champion new missions with more complex mandates. This bipartisan support stems from the fact that countries undergoing conflict threaten U.S. national security, risk becoming safe havens for terrorist and criminal organizations, and feature levels of deprivation and abuses of human rights that are an affront to American values.