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.”
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a permanent, veto-wielding member of the Security Council, no UN peacekeeping operation can be deployed, expanded, or withdrawn from the field without U.S. authorization.
The UN oversees the largest deployed military in the world, with more than 100,000 personnel deployed on 15 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. The total UN Peacekeeping Budget, for comparison’s sake, is approximately $7.3 billion – a mere 1 percent of total U.S. military spending.
A 2018 report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that analyzed the UN Peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) has found that it is eight times cheaper for the U.S. to financially support a UN Peacekeeping mission than to deploy U.S. military forces.
The report concluded that a comparable U.S. military and humanitarian operation in CAR of roughly the same size and duration would cost the U.S. at least $5.7 billion – nearly eight times the more than $700 million the U.S. has contributed to MINUSCA over the same period.