In the years following the Cold War, the United States mobilized U.N. support for its effort to repulse Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The operation signaled a reconnection with the United Nations, and President George H. W. Bush deepened this engagement in 1992 by launching a U.S.-led multinational intervention in Somalia in support of a U.N. humanitarian effort. The following year, President Bill Clinton forged an unprecedented partnership with the United Nations by supporting the establishment of a U.N. enforcement mission, UNOSOM II, commanded by a Turkish general and reinforced by a U.S. rapid reaction force.
By the mid 1990s, however, U.S. enthusiasm for U.N. peacekeeping had come to an end. The United States suffered one of its most devastating military setbacks since the Cold War when Somali militia fighters downed two Black Hawk helicopters, killing 18 U.S. servicemen and injuring more than 70 others. Although the ill-fated operation was carried out by a U.S. rapid reaction force, not blue helmets, the Clinton administration soured on peacekeeping and pledged to severely restrict the role of U.S. military personnel in U.N. missions.
In this 1993 photo, a U.S. military observer wearing the U.N. blue plays with a baby from the Krung-Brau tribe in Cambodia, where a U.N. mission sought to establish a transitional government after decades of violence.