Over on Fox News, George Russell has a piece trashing the UN for its $13.9 billion operating budget. Russell points out that although the UN's "core" budget stays low, at $4.9 billion, additional political and peacekeeping missions nearly triple that figure. Russell also is unhappy with the US's bill in that: over $2 billion in peacekeeping costs alone.
Earth to Russell: nearly all of the budget increases in Ban Ki-moon's tenure have been on peacekeeping missions which are approved by the UN Security Council... mostly at the US's urging. AND THAT'S A GOOD THING. UN peacekeeping is amazingly cheap and solves problems where I'm fairly confident he wouldn't want US troops to go. The $7.9 billion peacekeeping budget -- about a week's worth of Iraq money -- keeps over 100,000 UN peacekeepers in uniform in such inhospitable places as Darfur, Eastern Congo, and southern Lebanon. The utility of some of these missions (Congo springs to mind) is worth debating, but the biggest, in Darfur, is largely responsible for keeping the peace in an anarchic, war-torn region with millions of refugees. Multiply that by 17 missions, and UN peacekeeping quickly emerges as the most cost-effective solution to security problems that we've got. What's to complain about?