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Soon there will be 100,000 UN Peacekeepers

- March 3, 2010

As of January 2010, there were 99,943 UN peacekeepers active in 15 missions around the world. This is a record as the graph below shows (from globalpolicy.org).

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The resurgence of UN peacekeeping after 1999 has been a bit under the radar screen. Below are the major troop contributors. Funny list, no? The UN reimburses a standard rate per soldier regardless of country of origin, making participation relatively attractive to poorer countries. There are also some interesting competitive regional dynamics going on in South Asia. Many of these countries have internal security problems. I bet someone at the Pentagon has looked at this list and wondered why Pakistan doesn’t use these 10,826 soldiers to go after the Taliban. Also notice China in the top 15, as the only P-5 member. That’s a very novel development. The U.S. isn’t in there but the US military does provide essential support to various peacekeeping missions. 96 peacekeepers have been killed already this year. Wonder why Western democracies aren’t high on the list?

Update: Here is more analysis of who sends troops by my friend and former colleague Jim Lebovic and a more recent paper by Richard Perkins and Eric Neumayer. They find that democracies are more likely to contribute and that states are more likely to contribute to missions in the same region or in a former colony.

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