Biggest Foreign Aid Recipients Voted With US at UN Only 26.5% of Time

By Patrick Goodenough | May 3, 2018 | 4:20 AM EDT

In FY 2018, the administration requested more than $9 billion for the 10 biggest recipients of U.S. foreign aid. (Photo: U.S. Agency for International Development)

(CNSNews.com) – The 13 biggest beneficiaries of U.S. foreign assistance in the current, previous and next fiscal years voted in line with U.S. positions at the United Nations an average of just 26.5 percent of the time in 2017.

And if Israel is excluded from the calculation, the aid beneficiaries’ average voting coincidence with the U.S. drops to 20.9 percent, according to data in the State Department’s annual report to Congress on voting practices at the United Nations.

The recently-released report for 2017 uses different methodology this year in a bid, the department says, to get a more accurate assessment of the extent to which other countries align themselves with U.S. interests at the U.N.

The new report finds that of all 93 resolutions brought to a final plenary vote in the U.N. General Assembly, all other countries’ votes coincided with those of the U.S. – that is, both voted “yes,” both voted “no,” or both abstained – an average of 31 percent of the time.

Some countries’ voting decisions are predictable, given their longstanding hostility towards the United States. Iran and Syria’s voting coincided with that of the U.S. only 15 percent of the time, while the scores for Venezuela and North Korea were 16 percent and for Cuba, 17 percent.

However, when it came to the 13 countries that received, or are in line to receive, the most U.S. aid in FY 2017, 2018 and 2019, all fell below the 31 percent average in 2017 – with the notable exception of Israel.

While Israel topped the list of all 192 other U.N. member-states, with a 94 percent voting coincidence with the U.S., the other 12 big aid recipients’ voting coincidences ranged from a low of 18 percent (South Africa) to a high of 24 percent (Pakistan).

(Data: State Department/United Nations Graph: CNSNews.com)

 

The full list is: Israel (94 percent), Afghanistan (21 percent), Egypt (21 percent), Ethiopia (21 percent), Iraq (21 percent), Jordan (22 percent), Kenya (20 percent), Nigeria (22 percent), Pakistan (24 percent), South Africa (18 percent), Tanzania (21 percent), Uganda (21 percent) and Zambia (19 percent).

“When we arrived at the U.N. last year, we said we would be taking names, and this list of voting records speaks for itself,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said in a statement coinciding with the report’s release.

“President Trump wants to ensure that our foreign assistance dollars – the most generous in the world – always serve American interests, and we look forward to helping him see that the American people are no longer taken for granted.”

U.S. taxpayers account for 22 percent of the regular U.N. budget.

In compiling the annual U.N. voting practices report, the State Department is also required to identify specific resolutions that it deemed to be of high priority during the year in review.

These are defined in the legislation mandating the report as “issues which directly affected important United States interests and on which the United States lobbied extensively.”

For the 2017 period, the report identified 17 such resolutions, adopted by a vote.

The subject matter included non-proliferation, chemical weapons, nuclear disarmament, human rights in Burma, Syria and Iran, the promotion of genuine elections at the U.N. and the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Seven of the measures related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the resolution last December that declared President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital to be “null and void.”

For those “important” resolutions, the voting coincidences with the U.S. of the biggest aid recipients was somewhat higher, ranging from a low of 29 percent (South Africa, again) to a high – excluding Israel’s 97 percent – of 41 percent (for Ethiopia, Jordan and Nigeria).

The full list is: Israel (97 percent), Afghanistan (34 percent), Egypt (32 percent), Ethiopia (41 percent), Iraq (32 percent), Jordan (41 percent), Kenya (38 percent), Nigeria (41 percent), Pakistan (38 percent), South Africa (29 percent), Tanzania (38 percent), Uganda (34 percent) and Zambia (40 percent).

The administration’s planned giving for the top ten aid beneficiaries in FY 2018 is: Israel ($3.1 billion), Egypt ($1.38 billion), Jordan ($1 billion), Afghanistan ($782.8 million), Kenya ($639.4 million), Tanzania ($535.3 million), Uganda ($436.4 million), Zambia ($428.9 million), Nigeria ($419.1 million) and Iraq ($347.9 million).

And the amounts requested for the top ten aid recipients in FY 2019 are: Israel ( $3.3 billion), Egypt ($1.38 billion), Jordan ($1.27 billion), Afghanistan ($632.8 million), Kenya ($624.3 million), Tanzania ($553 million), South Africa ($510.4 million), Uganda ($461.4 million), Zambia $440.4 million) and Nigeria ($351.6 million).

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow

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