Some of the biggest recipients of U.S. assistance regularly vote at the United Nations against the position taken by the United States. President Trump warned on Wednesday that the U.S. will “save a lot” if countries getting aid “vote against us.” (See related story)
The countries with the most to lose are primarily Islamic states in the Middle East and South Asia, and African nations.
They include Jordan, Egypt, Jordan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa.
A congressionally-mandated yearly report by the State Department records countries’ votes at the General Assembly and the U.N. Security Council, and compares them to the votes made by the U.S. in each recorded vote.
Most years, the average voting coincidence with the U.S. versus the other 192 U.N. member-states is well below 50 percent. That means that other countries vote “yes” when the U.S. votes “yes” or “no” when the U.S. votes “no” less than half of the time.
Over the past decade the 50 percent mark has been passed only twice– in 2016 (54.8 percent) and in 2011 (51.5 percent). For the rest of the time voting coincidence with the U.S. fluctuated between a low of just 18.3 percent in 2007 and a high of 48.4 percent in 2013.
In most cases, the countries that most often and least often vote the same way as the U.S. are as expected: Israel, Canada, Britain, Australia and the Pacific islands of Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands scored highest last year, while countries that are hostile to the U.S. scored lowest, with North Korea voting the same way as the U.S. did only 11.1 percent of the time, Syria 16.7 percent and Iran 18.6 percent.
But, as Trump alluded to on Wednesday, some of the countries that get the most money from the U.S. each year do not always support positions held by the U.S. in General Assembly votes.
According to the State Department, the 16 largest 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 those 16, except for Israel (94.3 percent), Ukraine (76.5 percent) and Colombia (53.9 percent), voted the same way as the U.S. more than half the time.
The rest ranged from a low of 33.8 percent for Egypt to a high of 47.8 percent for Afghanistan and Mozambique.
Last year was a relatively good year for the U.S. at the United Nations, with the best average voting coincidence in a decade.
One year earlier the record was even worse. Of the 16 biggest FY 2017 aid recipients, only Israel (92.9 percent) and Ukraine (67.7 percent) voted like the U.S. more than 50% of the time.
Of the other 14, eleven voted with 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).