Egypt, Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria: Countries That Should Take Trump’s UN Warning Seriously

By Patrick Goodenough | December 21, 2017 | 4:33am EST
In FY 2017, more than 5.7 billion was requested for the 16 biggest recipients of U.S. foreign aid. (Photo: U.S. Agency for International Development)

( – Some of the biggest beneficiaries of U.S. assistance regularly vote at the United Nations in opposition to the position taken by the United States. President Trump warned Wednesday that the U.S. will “save a lot” if countries receiving aid “vote against us.” (See related story)

The countries with potentially the most to lose are mostly Islamic states in the Middle East and South Asia, and African nations.

They include Egypt, Jordan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa.

A congressionally-mandated annual report by the State Department tracks countries’ votes at the General Assembly and the U.N. Security Council, and compares them to the positions taken by the U.S. in each recorded vote.

Most years, the average voting coincidence with the U.S. across the other 192 U.N. member-states is well below 50 percent. That means that, on average, other countries vote “yes” when the U.S. votes “yes” or “no” when the U.S. votes “no” less than half the time.

Over the past decade only twice has the 50 percent mark been passed – in 2016 (54.8 percent) and in 2011 (51.5 percent). The rest of the time voting coincidence with the U.S. fluctuated between a low of 18.3 percent in 2007 and a high of 48.4 percent in 2013.

In many cases, the countries that most often and least often share the U.S. positions are as expected:  Israel, Canada, Britain, Australia and the Pacific islands of Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands scored highest last year, while countries hostile to the U.S. scored lowest, with North Korea voting the same way as the U.S. did just 11.1 percent of the time, Syria 16.7 percent of the time and Iran 18.6 percent of the time.

But, as Trump alluded to on Wednesday, some of the countries that receive the most assistance from the U.S. each year do not necessarily support positions held by the U.S. in General Assembly votes.

(Chart: / Data: State Department)

According to the State Department, the 16 biggest aid recipients in FY 2017 were: Afghanistan ($4.3 billion), Israel ($3.1 billion), Egypt ($1.42 billion), Jordan ($1.28 billion), Kenya ($706.1 million), Tanzania ($546.9 million), Pakistan ($525.1 million), Nigeria ($515.1 million), Ethiopia ($494.8 million), South Africa ($470.9 million), Mozambique ($439.5 million), Ukraine ($410.4 million), Uganda ($398.7 million), Zambia ($396.9 million), Colombia ($391.2 million) and Iraq ($376.6 million).

In recorded U.N. General Assembly votes in 2016, none of the 16 except for Israel (94.3 percent), Ukraine (76.5 percent) and Colombia (53.9 percent) voted the same way as did the U.S. more than 50 percent of the time.

The rest ranged from a low of 33.8 percent in the case of Egypt to a high of 47.8 percent in the cases of Afghanistan and Mozambique.

Last year was a relatively good year for the U.S. at the United Nations, with the highest average voting coincidence in a decade.

One year earlier the record was even more dismal. Of the 16 biggest FY 2017 aid recipients, only Israel (92.9 percent) and Ukraine (67.7 percent) voted as did the U.S. more than half of the time.

Of the other 14, eleven voted the same way as the U.S. less than one-third of the time: Pakistan (26.2 percent), Egypt (26.8 percent), Tanzania (28.6 percent), Uganda (29.2 percent), Nigeria (30.1 percent), Afghanistan (30.6 percent), Iraq (31.1 percent), Ethiopia (31.4 percent), Mozambique (31.5 percent), Kenya (32.4 percent) and South Africa (32.9 percent).

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