America's engagement with the United Nations has been
multifaceted and is an important venue for discussing many of
today's global challenges. The United States, the largest
contributor to the U.N. budget, has steadfastly supported the
founding ideals of the U.N. with a strong conviction that the
international body "should be a place where diverse
countries and cultures of the world work together for freedom,
democracy, peace, human rights, and prosperity for all
It is clearly in America's interest to work with the U.N. to
advance U.S. diplomatic initiatives related to these values and to
facilitate cooperation with other nations to address these common
concerns. At times, the U.N. has been an effective instrument for
advancing the above-stated values, for example,
coordinating regulatory standards through organizations such
as the International Telecommunication Union and the Universal
Postal Union, condemning human rights violations, helping to
alleviate suffering during humanitarian or natural disasters,
or authorizing peacekeeping operations when such missions could
facilitate a lasting peace.
The U.N. remains a member-driven organization. As such,
countries' voting practices in the U.N. General Assembly are a
useful metric for gauging their ability--and willingness--to
support U.S. priorities. The Assembly conducts discussions and
adopts resolutions on issues relating to peace and security,
terrorism, disarmament, economic and social development,
humanitarian relief, and human rights. A country's record in
General Assembly non-consensus votes is one means of measuring
its support for U.S. diplomatic priorities. This record also
provides some important guiding principles for a strategy
to elicit greater support for American foreign policy objectives
from the U.N. Analyses of U.N. member countries' voting patterns in
the General Assembly reveal that:
- U.S. assistance to other member countries of the U.N. has not
resulted in support for U.S. diplomatic initiatives in the
U.N. On the contrary, most recipients of U.S. assistance vote
against the U.S. more often than they vote with the U.S.
- Economically free countries are more likely than less free
countries to vote for U.S. positions in the General Assembly.
- Politically free governments are also more likely than less
free countries to vote for U.S. positions in the General
This result is to be expected. As nations become freer--both
politically and economically--the policies that they consider
to be in their interests become more closely aligned with U.S.
policies. This is not because they are U.S. policies, but because
those policies are more likely to be consistent with those
countries' own interests.
To bolster international support for U.S. diplomatic
initiatives, particularly in the General Assembly, America
should seek to build and strengthen coalitions among economically
and politically free nations that share many values and principles
with America. America should also use its foreign assistance
to encourage political and economic freedom in recipient
countries. Additionally, the State Department should adopt a policy
of letting aid recipients know that undermining U.S. priorities at
the U.N. will make Americans, and especially Congress, far
less supportive of continuing aid to them in the future.
U.S. Aid Does Not Advance U.S. Policies
One measure of the level of influence that U.S. foreign
assistance programs have in promoting U.S. priorities is the degree
to which aid recipients vote with the U.S. in the General Assembly.
Historically, the U.S. has been largely unsuccessful in eliciting
support for its positions in the General Assembly. Following the Cold
War, the U.S. enjoyed a honeymoon with the U.N. during which
it steadily gained support for its positions on non-consensus
votes-- those resolutions on which actual votes were
taken--culminating in a voting coincidence of over 50 percent in
1995. Since then, however, voting coincidence with the U.S. on
non-consensus General Assembly resolutions has fallen to 18
percent in 2007, well below the average of 31 percent over the past
two decades. (See Chart 1.)
This divergence between the U.S. and the broader U.N. membership
over contentious issues is not surprising given that a majority of
the U.N. member states are neither politically nor
economically free, according to Freedom in the World 2008
published by Freedom House and the 2008 Index of Economic Freedom
published by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street
Journal. The U.N. practice of "one nation, one vote" allows the
many members with repressive economic and political systems and the
worst human rights offenses to "vote together to block not only
sensible ideas of economic development, but also proposals for U.N.
reform that would loosen their hold on U.N. decision making in
areas of budget and economic development." Worse, these repressive
governments exert pressure through regional voting blocs and other
political groupings such as the Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned
Movement to dissuade countries that would otherwise be more
receptive to U.S. policy positions from voting similarly to
Unlike U.N. Security Council resolutions, which all U.N.
member states are theoretically obligated to obey, General Assembly
votes are non-binding. They do, however, influence public
perceptions in many countries and are often characterized as
the "will of the international community." Regrettably, a wide
array of proposals in recent General Assembly sessions could damage
the global economy and U.S. interests if they were adopted and
enforced. This situation requires that the U.S. pay close
attention to General Assembly votes and that U.S. diplomats and
negotiators spend much time and effort trying to prevent such
initiatives from gaining international legitimacy through U.N.
resolutions or decisions.
A potential lever for increasing support for U.S. policies is
U.S. foreign assistance. Analysis of U.S. economic and military
assistance over the past eight years, though, shows that there is
no significant relationship between U.S. foreign aid and the
recipient countries' support for U.S. policy positions in the
General Assembly. This is unsurprising as, historically, America
has made little effort to use foreign aid to gain support for U.S.
priorities in the U.N. As a result, most major recipients of U.S.
foreign assistance vote against the U.S. more often than they vote
Over the past eight sessions of the U.N. General Assembly (2000
through 2007), about 95 percent of U.S foreign aid recipients
voted against the U.S. a majority of the time on non-consensus
votes, and over 71 percent voted against the U.S. a majority of the
time on non-consensus votes deemed "important" by the U.S.
Department of State.
Of the 30 largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid that have voted
during the past eight sessions, 28 countries voted against the U.S.
a majority of the time on all non-consensus votes, and 24 voted
against the U.S. a majority of the time on non-consensus important
votes. (See Chart 2.)
The U.S. provides assistance for a variety of purposes.
Some assistance can reasonably be linked to support for U.S. policy
priorities in the U.N. while other assistance cannot.
Humanitarian Assistance. The lack of a relationship
between humanitarian assistance and support for U.S. positions is
understandable. Humanitarian assistance is often provided to
address sudden major natural disasters, tragedies, or ongoing
suffering. Such assistance is given for moral reasons, not to
pursue foreign policy objectives.
Military Assistance. Military assistance can
similarly be excused for not being closely associated with
support for American priorities in the U.N. Support of U.S.
interests is clearly at the forefront of providing military
assistance, which is used overwhelmingly to provide equipment
and training to U.S. allies or to nations deemed vital to America's
security interests. America's military concerns are often in
unstable areas of the world and require cooperation with
governments that are less than ideal partners. Here, the choice is
between different facets of support for U.S. interests--one in
the U.N. and one around the world. In an ideal world, recipients of
military assistance would bolster U.S. interests in both arenas,
but securing support in just one of the two is acceptable. If U.S.
interests are not advanced in either realm, assistance should be
Development Assistance. There is no reason, however, for
development assistance not to be more closely tied to support for
America's priorities in the U.N. If development assistance
contributed to higher standards of living in poor nations, it would
support other U.S. priorities because wealthier nations are
generally more stable, democratic, and likely to become
economic partners with America. Regrettably, development assistance
has a dismal record in catalyzing economic growth. The U.S.
disbursed nearly $309 billion (in 2006 constant dollars) in
development assistance between 1980 and 2006, and the
populations in many of these countries are hardly better off today
than they were decades ago in terms of per capita gross domestic
product (GDP). In fact, many are poorer. Of the 98 countries for
which per capita GDP data are available and that received economic
assistance between 1980 and 2006 that made up at least 1 percent of
their 2006 GDP:
- Twenty-seven countries experienced a decline in real per capita
- Twenty-eight economies experienced negligible real growth of
less than 1 percent compound annual growth in real per capita GDP;
- Forty-three experienced real growth exceeding 1 percent, but
only four countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Cambodia,
and Serbia) exceeded 5 percent.
This failure to elicit economic growth is tragic because strong,
reliable, long-term economic growth is critical to development. To
reach lower-middle-income status (per capita income of $936),
low-income countries such as Nepal or the Central African
Republic with their respective per capita gross domestic product of
$242 and $223 must see a real compound growth in per capita GDP of
5 percent for over 25 years. To reach
upper-middle-income status (per capita income of $3,705), they
must experience real compound growth of 5 percent for over 55
years. Instead, Nepal and the Central African Republic have
experienced a real per capita GDP annual compound growth rate of
2.1 percent and -1.3 percent, respectively, since 1980.
With so many aid recipients experiencing declines in economic
growth, or insignificant growth, despite large amounts of
development assistance, one must conclude that development
assistance from one government to another is not sufficient to
facilitate development. Combined with the demonstrated failure of
U.S. assistance to engender support for U.S. policies in the U.N.,
this should lead policymakers to reassess America's
disbursement of development assistance both to make it more
effective in contributing to development and to use it to more
directly support U.S. interests. The Bush Administration has
started to do the first through the Millennium Challenge Account
(MCA) that approaches development assistance in an innovative
manner by providing U.S. development assistance to developing
countries that have demonstrated a commitment to good
governance, economic freedom, and investing in their people.
The U.S. has also attempted to make America's foreign assistance
programs more coherent and ensure that those resources support U.S.
policy priorities more directly. The State Department's
budget request for fiscal year 2009 noted:
It has become clear that the security and well-being of
Americans is inextricably linked to the capacity of foreign states
to govern justly and effectively.... Since the beginning of this
Administration, unprecedented investments have been made in
meaningful, long-term advancement for partner nations around the
world ... At the same time, we have continued support for key
partners in the war on terror, efforts to promote and strengthen
democracy and human rights, trade capacity, and climate observation
and mitigation. To sustain real progress, the Department of State
and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) must
nurture and grow these investments--investments in a future in
which there is an ever expanding circle of well-governed states
upon which the United States can partner and rely.
Under the Strategic Framework for U.S. Foreign Assistance, U.S.
foreign assistance is focused on five objectives: "Peace and
Security," "Governing Justly and Democratically," "Investing in
People," "Economic Growth," and "Humanitarian Assistance."
Missing from this agenda, however, is an explicit statement that
U.S. foreign assistance is intended to bolster support for U.S.
political priorities. Indeed, reading the Framework for U.S.
Foreign Assistance one could be forgiven for assuming that the
primary purpose of U.S. foreign assistance is entirely to help
other countries achieve their objectives. This is not the
case--the U.S. often provides assistance in direct support of
its foreign policy objectives, particularly in the Peace and
Security arena. But too often recipient countries view U.S. aid as
an entitlement unrelated to U.S. foreign policy priorities. This is
particularly true in the U.N., where aid recipients seldom face
repercussions for their failure to support U.S.
There is no doubt that the five objectives identified above
are indeed important and, if achieved, would likely contribute to
U.S. interests and result in support for U.S. policy priorities in
the U.N. Emphasis by the U.S. on using its development
assistance to support economic and political freedom in recipient
nations, as discussed below, should help to bolster support for
U.S. policies in the U.N. General Assembly. The U.S. is
missing a key opportunity, however, by failing to link economic
assistance to support for U.S. polices in the U.N.
Freedom: A Key Indicator of
While U.S. development aid has little impact on recipients'
voting patterns, a country's level of political and economic
freedom is a key indicator of the likelihood that the country will
vote with the U.S. on U.N. General Assembly resolutions. The
tendency that countries will side with the U.S. in the U.N.
General Assembly on non-consensus votes increases if a country is
politically or economically free as measured by Freedom in the
World 2008 and the 2008 Index of Economic Freedom.
Economic Freedom. Economic freedom is about individuals'
basic rights to work, produce, save, and consume without
infringement by the state. Greater economic freedom generates more
opportunities for people and can help create sustainable wealth and
respect for human rights. In other words, by reducing barriers
to economic activities, economic freedom helps to create a
framework in which people are free to fulfill their dreams of
success. This is well-documented in the Index of Economic
Freedom, which examines the 10 key ingredients of economic
freedom, among which are economic openness to the world,
transparency, and the rule of law. Economic freedom scores are
graded on a scale of 0 to 100. The overall economic freedom score
is the simple average of the scores for each of the 10 freedoms.
Based on its average score, each country's economy is classified as
"free," "mostly free," "moderately free," "mostly unfree," or
A close look at voting patterns based on countries'
economic freedom level reveals that economically freer
countries are more likely to vote with the U.S. than countries with
less economic freedom.
Chart 3 illustrates voting patterns as identified by the U.S.
State Department during the 62nd session of the General
Assembly. (The chart covers the 154 countries for which economic
freedom and voting data are available.) Patterns on all
non-consensus votes were as follows:
- Free and mostly free countries voted with the U.S. 37.3 percent
and 30.2 percent of the time, respectively;
- Moderately free countries voted with the U.S. 22.6 percent of
- Mostly unfree countries voted with the U.S. 11.4 percent of the
- Countries with repressed economies voted with the U.S. only 8
percent of the time.
- Similar patterns were evident in non-consensus votes deemed
"important" by the U.S. Department of State:
- Free and mostly free countries voted with the U.S. 64.1 percent
and 55 percent of the time, respectively;
- Moderately free countries voted with the U.S. 43.2 percent of
- Mostly unfree countries voted with the U.S. 20.7 percent of the
- Countries with repressed economies voted with the U.S. only
13.3 percent of the time.
The chart also shows average voting coincidence on non-consensus
votes for the 154 countries over the General Assembly's past eight
sessions by category of economic freedom. This chart clearly
demonstrates a positive relationship between a country's level
of economic freedom and its votes with the U.S. in the General
Assembly. Economically "free" and "mostly free" countries vote with
the U.S. at more than twice the rate of "repressed" countries.
Political Freedom. A similar relationship exists between
voting coincidence with the U.S. and a country's level of political
freedom as measured by Freedom House in its annual study Freedom
in the World. Freedom House awards points to each country
based on 10 questions about political rights and 15 questions about
civil liberties. The total points in each category determine the
country's numerical ratings (from one to seven) for both
categories. The average of the two ratings is used to classify each
country as "free," "partly free," or "not free."
Politically free countries voted with the U.S. more often than
partly free countries, and partly free countries were more likely
to vote with the U.S. than not free countries. This pattern held
true during the 62nd session of the General Assembly as shown in
Chart 3. On all non-consensus votes:
- Politically free countries voted with the U.S. on non-consensus
votes 28.7 percent of the time;
- Partly free countries voted with the U.S. 12.3 percent of the
- Not free countries voted with the U.S. only 7.9 percent of the
- As with economically free countries, politically free countries
were far more in line with U.S. positions on non-consensus
- Politically free countries voted with the U.S. 50.2 percent of
- Partly free countries voted with the U.S. 27.6 percent of the
- Not free countries voted with the U.S. only 14.3 percent of the
The chart also shows that the relationship between political
freedom and voting with the U.S. on non-consensus votes in the
General Assembly over the past eight sessions is consistent with
the results from the 62nd session. Politically "free" countries
vote with the U.S. more than twice as often as do "not free"
Why do these patterns exist? Countries vote according to their
national interests. The U.N. is a microcosm of international
relations. As nations become politically and economically freer,
the policies that they consider to be in their interests
become more closely aligned with U.S. policies, not because they
are U.S. policies, but because they are more likely to be
consistent with those countries' own interests.
What the U.S. Should Do
Expecting every member of the U.N. to follow America's lead is
unrealistic, of course--even America's strongest allies do not
agree with the U.S. on every vote. But the U.S. could be more
effective in championing its positions in the General
Assembly. Other countries do this effectively and the U.S.
must increase its effort if it wishes to promote its policy
priorities more successfully in the U.N.
General Assembly voting patterns indicate that U.S. development
assistance neither effectively rewards countries that support U.S.
priorities in the U.N., nor is assistance withheld from countries
that consistently oppose U.S. priorities. Table 1 shows a summary
comparison of voting coincidence with the U.S. between the 30
largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid and economically and
politically free countries in 2008. Clearly, freer countries are
more likely than less free countries to support U.S. positions
and far more likely than major recipients of U.S. foreign
assistance to vote with the U.S. America should recognize these
realities and take several specific steps to increase its chances
of garnering support for U.S. positions in the General
Assembly. Specifically, the U.S. should:
Explicitly link disbursement of U.S. assistance to support
for U.S. policy priorities in the U.N. The U.S. provides
foreign assistance for a number of reasons ranging from increasing
economic growth, addressing humanitarian disasters, and giving
military equipment and training to its allies. Unfortunately, in
decisions to allocate U.S. assistance, these priorities often
override whether the recipient nation can be relied on to support
U.S. positions in the U.N. and other international organizations.
As a result, many countries consider the U.N. and other
international organizations to be penalty-free arenas where they
can undermine U.S. initiatives and oppose its policy priorities
without fear of retaliation or consequence, confident that no
matter how they conduct themselves they will receive financial
support from the U.S. Similarly, congressional earmarks on foreign
assistance often remove executive branch discretion over aid
disbursements, thereby removing a key means for rewarding
nations that support U.S. priorities or penalizing those who oppose
If the U.S. is to be more effective in promoting its policy
priorities in the U.N. this situation must change. The U.S.
Department of State should inform recipients of U.S. assistance
that their support, or lack thereof, for key U.S. priorities
in the U.N. and other international organizations will directly
affect the level of foreign assistance that they receive. Congress
should assist this process by rescinding its earmarks, limitations,
and other legislative directives on disbursement of foreign
assistance unless they are directly related to U.S. national
Center U.S. foreign aid on countries whose
policies make real progress in improving economic and
political freedom. The U.S. has provided more development
aid to the world than any other country, yet decades of foreign
assistance have failed to improve economic growth and
development consistently. Examples of areas where economic
development has been successful indicate that the keys to
development are good economic policy and a strong rule of law, not
the amount of foreign assistance they receive. By encouraging
countries to adopt policies that promote economic and
political freedom, the U.S. supports the best means for recipients
to escape poverty and become self-reliant. It also would result in
policies that should translate into greater support for the U.S.
both around the world and in the U.N. according to the voting
patterns discussed in this paper.
The U.S. should focus development assistance on countries
committed to promoting economic and political freedom for their
citizens. The Bush Administration has begun to follow this strategy
through the MCA and has incorporated the concept into its
Framework for U.S. Foreign Assistance. In May 2008, the
U.S. Senate proposed a funding cut of $525 million for the
Millennium Challenge Corporation, which oversees the MCA. This cut
was subsequently reduced to $58 million by a joint House and Senate
conference. The Senate approved the revised
supplemental appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008 on June
26, and President Bush signed the bill on June 30, 2008, which
resulted in the MCC receiving $1.544 billion for FY 2008.
The House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on State,
Foreign Operations, and Related Programs also approved $1.544
billion for the MCC for FY 2009 or $681 million less than the
President's $2.225 billion request. However, the Senate
Appropriations Committee proposed only $254 million in funding for
the MCC for FY 2009--a staggering $1.971 billion cut from the
Administration's request. The final appropriation has yet to be
decided, but it makes little sense to dramatically cut a U.S.
development assistance program focused on promoting the
policies most likely to lead to economic growth and
development (versus other development assistance programs that have
a lengthy record of ineffectiveness) and also lead to greater
support for U.S. foreign policy priorities.
Strengthen the American cause at the U.N. and coordinate
voting by politically free governments in the U.N.
Numerous countries in the U.N. are considered politically free
according to Freedom House, yet they routinely fail to hold
less representative governments accountable. Even worse, they
frequently permit repressive governments to run roughshod over U.N.
bodies and resolutions designed to highlight or curb human rights
abuse and political repression. Emphasizing the necessity of
forming a common partnership for liberty in his recent book,
Liberty's Best Hope: American Leadership for the 21st
Century, Heritage Foundation Vice President Kim Holmes observes
that "the original principles of freedom and democracy that
inspired the founders of the U.N. have been lost in a cynical power
game that essentially defines legitimacy and 'democracy' as
whatever a majority of U.N. members say it is."
A case in point is the disappointing new Human Rights Council
(HRC). Even though members of the U.N. Democracy
Caucus comprise over 75 percent of the HRC, it has ignored ongoing
state-sanctioned human rights abuses in Belarus, Cuba, China, Iran,
Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere, instead obsessing over
Israel. The only resolutions adopted by the HRC
condemning human rights practices in a specific country
situation not involving Israel were weak resolutions
noting "with concern" the situation in Darfur and chastising
the Burmese government following a crackdown on peaceful
The U.S. and its democratic allies should be much clearer about
denouncing actions by regional groups that undermine representative
government, the rule of law, or basic human rights. The U.S. has
sought to organize these nations by supporting the Community of
Democracies, which is designed to promote democracy, in part by
coordinating policy positions among democracies on relevant issues
at the United Nations, as well as the U.N. Democracy Fund, through
which U.N. member states contribute to a U.N. Trust Fund
dedicated to financing "projects that build and strengthen
democratic institutions, promote human rights, and ensure the
participation of all groups in democratic processes."
The U.S. needs to bolster these efforts through its targeted
allocation of foreign assistance.
Seek support for an economic freedom coalition within
the U.N. Another plausible strategy for strengthening the
American cause at the U.N. is to create an Economic Freedom Caucus
among nations of all regions that have a demonstrable record of
economic freedom. Such a coalition would serve U.S. interests by
offering alternative voting relationships beyond regional groupings
and would facilitate common principles that both developed and
developing countries could champion.
While the U.S. has spoken about the need for economic freedom,
its efforts to organize other nations around that concept have not
been as successful as those focused on democracy.
The U.S. should seek to emulate its modest successes in
coordinating actions and positions of democratic countries by
establishing a Global Economic Freedom Forum in addition to an
Economic Freedom Caucus, emphasizing the need for economic
freedom within U.N. discussions on development.
Build support for U.N. reform. The U.N. is charged with
many serious responsibilities and tasks. Millions of individuals
around the world rely on the U.N. for protection and other
assistance, but at times the U.N. has proven unreliable or even
detrimental in discharging these duties. Worse, "the
combination of democracy deficit with the free-rider budget
problem" is at the center of U.S. concerns about the U.N. and its
decisions and programs.
In addressing these problems, the U.S. should continue its
efforts to fundamentally reform the U.N. and to work with nations
that are committed to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of
the U.N. through reformed management, human resources, budgetary,
and oversight practices. Such nations tend to be the most
politically and economically free.
In protecting American interests, the U.S. should do all that it
can to strengthen broad support for America's policies in the U.N.
The U.S. should focus on changing the dynamics of the U.N. by
explicitly linking U.S. assistance to support for U.S. priorities
in the U.N., forging coalitions with nations that share the
American principles of political and economic freedom, and
seeking to expand the membership of those coalitions by
focusing development assistance on countries with demonstrable
records of improving political and economic freedom because
economically and politically free nations are more likely to
support U.S. priorities in the U.N. While the U.N. will never be an
echo chamber for U.S. policies, forging coalitions with nations
that share values with the U.S. can go a long way toward advancing
Brett D. Schaefer is Jay
Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs in the
Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a division of the Kathryn and
Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at
The Heritage Foundation. Anthony B. Kim is a Policy
Analyst in the Center for International Trade and Economics at The
paper considers both non-consensus "all" and "important" votes. In
the 2007 session, the General Assembly adopted 246 resolutions, 76
(30.9 percent) of them without consensus. This analysis of General
Assembly voting patterns ignores consensus decisions because they
generally do not adopt substantive language and contribute little
to support U.S. positions. See U.S. Department of State, Bureau of
International Organization Affairs, Voting Practices in the
United Nations, 2007, May 5, 2008, Introduction, at /static/reportimages/699A4F2C93404E06B352AC4E5538167A.pdf (July
all-time low since 1983, when the State Department began tracking
this information, was 15.4 percent in 1988. U.S. Department of
State, Voting Practices in the United Nations, 2007,
R. Holmes, Edwin J. Feulner, and Mary Anastasia O'Grady, 2008
Index of Economic Freedom (Washington, D.C.: The Heritage
Foundation and Dow Jones & Company, Inc., 2008), at http://www.heritage.org/index.
Holmes, "Promoting Economic Freedom at the
Iraq, as a non-participating U.N. member, did
not vote until 2003.
By law, the State Department is required to
analyze and discuss "important votes," which are defined as votes
on "issues which directly affected United States interests and on
which the United States lobbied extensively." See U.S. Department
of State, Voting Practices in the United Nations, 2007.
While experts may disagree on the impact of
an additional dollar of development assistance on economic growth,
advocates of development aid generally call for greatly increased
assistance and commonly blame insufficient levels of assistance for
the lack of growth among recipients. For instance, see U.N.
Millennium Project, Investing in Development: A Practical Plan
to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (New York: United
Nations Development Programme, 2005), at http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/documents/
MainReportComplete-lowres.pdf (March 13, 2007), and
Jeffrey D. Sachs, "The Development Challenge," Foreign
Affairs, Vol. 84, No. 2 (March/April 2005), at http://www.earth.columbia
13, 2007). Thus, the analysis in this paper excludes countries that
received an insignificant amount of assistance between 1980 and
2006 (cumulative aid over that period totaling less than 1 percent
of their 2006 GDP). World Bank, World Development Indicators
Online, 2008, at http://www.worldbank.org/data
(subscription required), and Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development, International Development Statistics, at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/50/17/5037721.htm (August
Due to the lack of earlier data, per capita
GDP figures for the earliest available years were used for the
following 25 countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Croatia, Djibouti, Eritrea,
Guinea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Lebanon, Macedonia,
Micronesia, Mongolia, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia,
Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tonga, Uganda, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.
There are indications that the MCA may be
more effective than other aid programs through its focus on
encouraging policy change. Over the past four years, the Millennium
Challenge Corporation has created remarkable policy reform
competition, known as "the MCC effect" among countries that wish to
qualify for an MCC "compact agreement" or a "threshold program." By
increasing transparency in compiling and disseminating economic
statistics and competing with each other for MCC grants, these
countries have been motivated to pursue real policy improvements.
The reforms brought about by "the MCC effect" have encouraged
entrepreneurial activities and created more favorable conditions
for economic growth and development. For more information see Brett
D. Schaefer, "Promoting Economic Prosperity Through the Millennium
Challenge Account," Heritage Foundation Lecture No. 920,
January 13, 2006, at
oreignAid/hl920.cfm; and Brett D. Schaefer and Anthony B.
Kim, "President Bush's Trip to Africa: Solidifying U.S.
Partnerships with the Region," Heritage Foundation WebMemo
No. 1817, February 15, 2008, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Africa/wm1817.cfm.
See U.S. Department of State, "Framework for
U.S. Foreign Assistance," at http://www.state.gov/f/c23053.htm (July
29, 2008); Randall L. Tobias, "Democracy and the New Approach to
U.S. Foreign Assistance," speech before Democracy Advisory
Committee, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., January 17,
2007, at http://www.usaid.gov/press/speeches/2007/sp070117.html (July
29, 2008); Randall L. Tobias, "A Strategic Approach to Addressing
Poverty and Global Challenges: We Are in This Together," address at
the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington,
D.C., February 5, 2007, at http://www.usaid.gov/press/speeches/2007/sp070205.html (July
29, 2008); and U.S. Department of State, Fiscal Year 2009 Budget
Request: International Affairs Function 150, Summary and
Highlights, at /static/reportimages/350142CE635BBC77246728FD41F7D4B6.pdf
(July 29, 2008).
William W. Beach and Tim Kane, Ph.D.,
"Methodology: Measuring the 10 Economic Freedoms," Chapter 4 in
Holmes et al., 2008 Index of Economic Freedom.
Freedom House, "Methodology," in Freedom
in the World 2008.
These patterns hold even though all voting
coincidence with the U.S. on non-consensus decisions has been
declining. Freer nations continue to vote with the U.S. more
consistently than less free nations do.
Department of State, Foreign Operations,
and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, 2009, S. Rep.
110-425, 110th Cong., 2nd Sess., July 18, 2008, pp. 59-61, at /static/reportimages/FB5380C264777D7879F959195B68D8CD.cgi?dbname=110_cong_reports&docid=f:sr425.110.pdf (August
Kim R. Holmes, Liberty's Best Hope:
American Leadership for the 21st Century (Washington, D.C.: The
Heritage Foundation, 2008).
For a description of the failure of
politically free and partly free members of the U.N. Democracy
Caucus to work together to hold human rights violators accountable,
see Freedom House, "The UN Human Rights Council at the Halfway
Mark: A Report Card," November 20, 2006, at /static/reportimages/76A024B7C0F587F8E806DD806EAF19FD.pdf (July
United Nations Democracy Fund, "What is The
United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF)?" at http://www.un.org/democracyfund/XWhatIsUNDEF.htm
(August 8, 2008); Mark P. Lagon, "A UN Strengthened by and
Strengthening Democracy," remarks to the New America Foundation,
Washington, D.C., September 25, 2006, at http://www.state.gov/p/io/rls/rm/73128.htm
(July 31, 2008); U.S. Department of State, "The Community of
Democracies," at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/c10790.htm (July
31, 2008); U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, "To
Promote Democracy in the United Nations," August 27, 2004, at /static/reportimages/4385454438071289394118C0DFE0A624.pdf
(July 31, 2008); U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public
Affairs, "The UN Democracy Fund: Promoting Human Rights and Freedom
Worldwide," September 14, 2006, at /static/reportimages/DBEC46AB7AE42CF5D140A5E66474E653.pdf (July
31, 2008); and U.N. Democracy Fund at http://www.un.org/democracyfund (July
According to the U.S. Department of State,
"Like-minded nations have succeeded in gaining some support for the
principles of economic freedom, though the Economic Freedom Caucus
has been hindered by a prolonged and contentious debate in the
General Assembly on the respective roles and responsibilities of
developed and developing countries." U.S. Department of State,
Performance and Accountability Report, Fiscal Year
2006,November 2006, p. 153, at http://www.state.gov/s/d/rm/rls/perfrpt/2006/pdf/ (August
8, 2008). See also U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for
International Development, Performance Summary: Fiscal Year
2006, February 2006, pp. 188-195, at /static/reportimages/FC49729BB580A44A103520B208379B68.pdf (July
31, 1008). For more information on promoting economic freedom at
the U.N., see Holmes, "Promoting Economic Freedom at the United
Nations," and "The Challenges Facing the United Nations Today: An
American View," remarks before the Council on Foreign Relations,
Washington, D.C., October 21, 2003, at http://www.state.gov/p/io/rls/rm/2003/25491.htm (July
31, 1008). At the time of the second speech, Dr. Holmes was serving
as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization
Brett D. Schaefer and Nile Gardiner, "Malloch
Brown Is Wrong: The U.S. Should Press Even Harder for U.N. Reform,"
Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 1122, June 13, 2006, at