May 13, 1996

May 13, 1996 | FYI on

Foreign Aid Wins Few Friends at the United Nations

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May 13, 1996 No. 101

FOREIGN AID WINS FEW FRIENDS AT THE UNITED NATIONS

By Bryan T. Johnson Policy Analyst

Last year, Congress tried to cut the U.S. foreign aid budget as part of its plan to reduce wasteful government spending and balance the federal budget deficit. Moreover, both houses of Congress passed legislation that would have abolished the Agency for International Development, the U.S. agency responsible for most of America's $13 billion foreign aid program, along with most of its functions. Because the Clinton Administration fought these proposals, Congress was unable to make more significant cuts in foreign aid or eliminate these wasteful government functions. The Clinton Administration says foreign aid supports America's interests overseas. It claims, for example, that U.S. aid . ... ... Table 1 helps America gain influ ence with countries Top Ten Countries Voting Against the U.S. around the world and that these countries gen- at the U.N. and U.S. Foreign Aid for FY 1996 erally support America's foreign policy goals. A Votes Against U.S. quick look at the facts, FY'96 U.S. Aid in U.N., 1995 however, shows that 1. India $156,650,000 83% . ... ... ... .. ... ... .. ... these arguments are 2. China, People's Rep. of 604,000 79 . ..........7.. .... ..... .. ....... ... groundless. es 2 OW. One measurement of 4. Lebanon 8,475,000 74 America's influence 5. Laos 2,000,000 73 .. ........ . ... ... ....... . . .... ..... .. ... . .... . . ........ ... . . ... ...... . ... .. ... around the world is the 6. Paldstan 2,500,000 72 voting records of U.S. 7..,I4ijirla 26,827,000 69 foreign aid recipients in 8. Sierra Leone 869,000 69 the United Nations. If a 9. Djibouti 250,000 68 direct connection exists 10. Burldna, Faso 13,386,000 67 between foreign aid and T 80 $211. 1,000 winning friends over- seas, as the Administration asserts, recipients should be voting with the U.S. in the U.N. most of the

time. In fact, they do not. Table'`2@ The data show that most recipients of foreign aid Top Ten Foreign Aid Recipients for FY 1996 vote against the U.S. And Their Votes Against the U.S. in the U.N. most of the time. Con- sider the following fact Votes Against U.S. gathered from the 1995 FY'96 U.S. Aid in U.N., 1995 U.N. session: . .... ... I.. Israel $3,000,009,000, 3% .... .. . ...... X 64 percent of U.S. 2._""' Egypt" 2,116,000,000 67 ...... . ....... . .... foreign aid recipi- K@ ...... . .. .... .. "' " ' ':" .3w -.-.1,000 27 lkussla,@:-: ents; voted against 4. Uk r in"' e 162,389,000 40 :.K., ... .. .... ... the U.S. a majority of 5@:' India -:1.,56,650,000,, the time. .. .. . .. .... .. . ....... .. .8.3 6. South Africa 132,378,000 53 X India, the fifth-larg- 7. Peru 124.377,000 53 est recipient with 8. Haiti 123,385,000 60 some $157 million in 9. Bolivia 1.21,489,000 54 U.S. foreign aid this 10. Ethiopia 109,125,000 54 . . .. ......... .. ...... . .. . .... ... .. ... ... .. . . . ....... year, voted against Total $6,310,034,000 the U.S. 83 percent : " @-- @@!V r. M.?."P, I--- 'I of the time. That is as Table 3 z often as Cuba and more often than Iran. Top Ten Countries Voting With the U.S. x The ten countries at the U.N. and Total Foreign Aid for FY 1996 that voted against the U.S. the most fre- Votes Against U.S. quently will receive FY'96 U.S. Aid in U.N., 1995 over $212 million in 1. Israel $3,QOO,000,000 foreign aid in FY 2. Tajildstan 7,000,000 9 7,835,000 1996 (see Table 1). 3.:':"" Latvia 13 4. Georgia 21,250,000 14 .......... ...... x Seven of the ten 12,424,000 14 largest recipients of . .. .... .. .. ....... . 6. Hungary 30,242,000 17 U.S. foreign aid - - . . ......... .... . .. ... . . . .... . .....:.. .......... .... . ... . 7. Estonia 385,000 18 voted against the . . . . . . .... ..... .... ... .... ......... ... . .... .... ... ... . . . . . .. . .. ... .... U.S. a majority of 8. Lithuania 13,074,000. ..19 the time (see Table 9. slove !a 4,595,000 21 .......... .. 2). 10 TFYR Ma cedo ni a 16,974,000 22 $3,143.779.000 lip Total x Of the ten coun- tries that voted with the U.S. the most often, nine are former Soviet bloc countries (see Table 3). X Egypt, the second largest recipient of American foreign aid, voted against the U.S. 67 percent of the time. This is worse than the 1994 session, when Egypt voted against the U.S. 65 percent of the time. Egypt will receive some $2.2 billion in U.S. foreign aid in FY 1996. X Haiti, where President Bill Clinton sent American troops to restore deposed President Jean-Ber- trand Aristide, voted against the U.S. 60 percent of the time during the1996 session. Despite this, the U.S. will send some $124 million in foreign aid to Haiti in FY 1996. Mexico, where President Bill Clinton fought for a $40 billion international economic bailout, most of which will come from U.S. taxpayers, voted against the U.S. 58 percent of the time. In addition to its $40 billion economic bailout plan, the Clinton Administration has endorsed an- other $25 million in foreign aid for Mexico. There may be many reasons why a country votes with or against the U.S. at the U.N. But it is clear from these data that foreign aid does not win friends where it counts: in supporting U.S. diplo- matic initiatives at the United Nations. Clearly, the U.S. foreign aid program in general, and under the Clinton Administration in particular, has done little to justify public confidence that tax dollars are being used wisely by America's foreign aid bureaucracy. President Clinton has defended two of his biggest foreign policy and economic initiatives-"restoring" democracy in Haiti and the eco- nomic bailout of Mexico-as in the U.S. national interest. Yet these countries seem to care little about Americas interests when it comes to supporting the U.S. at the U.N. Congress should evaluate the extent to which U.S. recipients of foreign aid support America's na- tional interests. U.N. voting records clearly show that a majority of recipients of U.S. foreign aid vote against the U.S. most of the time. In fact, the data show that some of these countries actually undermine U.S. interests abroad. For example, South Africa, America's sixth largest recipient of for- eign aid is quickly extending relations to some of America's biggest enemies: Cuba, Iran, and Libya. This fiscal year, South Africa will receive some $132 million in U.S. foreign aid. Why, then, is the U.S. spending so much money on countries that obviously care little about America's interests abroad? And why is the Clinton Administration fighting to save this program when most Americans are opposed to it? This year, when the U.S. foreign aid budget is scrutinized by Congress as a target for reaching a balanced budget, Congress would do well to cut the program further and seek to abolish the Agency for International Development. A M _A 8

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