US Ambassador Nikki Haley plans to review United Nations peacekeeping operations to reduce US contributions. She has zeroed in on the world body’s 16 peacekeeping missions, which have been criticised for sexual abuse violations, corruption and inefficiency. Rather than take the difficult route to making peacekeeping missions more effective, the US has decided to wind them down. Nine of the 16 operations are in Africa, with others in countries including Haiti and along the Pakistan-India Line of Control. Of all the regions in the world, Africa is most in need of economic and diplomatic help and the least talked about in international media, so cutting support will be easy there.

UN peacekeepers have had some catastrophes at massive human costs. However, when peacekeepers are deployed, peace agreements are more likely to be implemented, and warring parties are 20 percent more likely to implement the terms of their agreement with peacekeepers on the ground. Conflicts are more than 50 percent less likely to reignite.

The United States does not send a significant number of troops to peace operations, but its financial contributions reflect its status as a permanent Security Council member. If it is cutting funding to the UN, its place at the Security Council must also be revised. The logical conclusion of this would be then to write off the UN as a whole, which would be a disaster. While the UN has no teeth to solve any international conflict, it is still the only long-standing global forum we have, often the only place where the weakest countries are even visible. At the very least, it performs an important task of monitoring global bad-behaviour.

Pakistan is the biggest contributor to UN peacekeeping troops, and this is just another example of the US withdrawing from its responsibilities to the world. It’s yet another action that says “America first”, everybody else last.

This would be acceptable had the US not formulated itself as a crusading messiah in all global wars of the 20th century. Every international treaty that is premised on ideas of human rights and self-determination of nations has been created according to American wishes. The UN itself was an American dream, and its failure, at the core, will be an American failure.

UN peacekeepers constitute the world’s second-largest deployed military force, surpassed only by the US military. Yet the peacekeeping budget is less than 0.5 percent of global military expenditures. “Too often we deploy troops to areas where there is no peace to keep,” said the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres in December. That is only true due to a lack of financial support, a lack of political will, selfishness of leading nations and the bureaucratic wormhole that the UN itself has become.