$1.5 billion. That was the amount of the United States' debt to the United Nations at the beginning of the 2009 fiscal year. Of that, over $1.3 billon was for peacekeeping operations. This put the US at the top of the UN collections list.
In 2010 the US satisfied a significant portion of its debt to the UN, paying more than $500 million owed for peacekeeping and other UN operations. This was a significant feat at the time; the newly Republican House had threatened to withhold funding for the UN, which they perceived as a waste.
Why does the US’s contribution to the UN, and more specifically peacekeeping, matter?
Peacekeeping has emerged as an integral part of the UN; it is also the most scrutinized arm of the International Governmental Organization (IGO). While some of the most polarizing examples of UN peacekeeping operations are failures, such as those in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, many other peacekeeping missions have been successful.
In addition to its peacekeeping efforts, the UN also helps war-ravaged countries rebuild and close the chapter of conflict. Peacekeeping and building efforts have been instrumental in reconstructing dozens of countries around the world.