US pressure to remake United Nations peacekeeping as a fighting force is expected to pay off on Monday as dozens of countries line up to pledge troops, equipment and technology at a summit chaired by Barack Obama.
The meeting of about 50 countries at the UN in New York comes after months of lobbying by Washington for greater contributions from European nations in particular as it seeks to strengthen peacekeeping missions to take on a more aggressive role, particularly against the threat from Islamist groups in Africa.
But the US president faces strong opposition from some existing major contributors, such as India, which regard the changes as antithetical to the purpose and history of peacekeeping. Other governments, while publicly paying lip service to the president’s plan, are skeptical that it will amount to more than a legacy project or survive a change of administration in Washington.
The White House increasingly regards UN peacekeeping as a US national security issue, in large part because Islamist insurgencies from Mali to the Central African Republic, and entrenched conflicts in Nigeria and Somalia, threaten even wider instability.