The American Enterprise Misleads

Crunching numbers provided by the State Department’s annual report on voting patterns in the United Nations, Fred Gedrich concludes that General Assembly member states vote against the United States 75% of the time. So doing, he argues that this voting pattern evidences a chronic anti-Americanism at the United Nations. Alas, he fails to impart a rather significant disclaimer to that figure: it does not include resolutions reached by consensus. Says the report (pdf):

“When consensus resolutions are factored in as votes identical to those of the United States, a much higher measure of agreement with U.S. positions is reached. This figure (77.6 percent in 2005), which more accurately reflects the work of the General Assembly, is below the 85-88 percent range recorded since the statistic was first included in this report in 1993. It was 81.3 percent in 2004, 80.7 percent in 2003, 83.0 percent in 2002, 85.0 percent in 2001, 87.6 percent in 2000, 86.4 percent in 1999, 88.3 percent in 1998, 87.3 percent in 1997, 87.3 percent also in 1996, 88.2 percent in 1995, 88.8 percent in 1994, and 88.3 percent in 1993.” (emphasis mine)

Voting coincidences with the United States are not static statistics. Indeed, ten years ago (discounting consensus resolutions) the rest of the world voted with the United States at frequency 25% greater than it is today. A dose of constructive engagement with the developing world would go a long way to raise this number to levels achieved in the mid 1990s.

For further evidence of supposed anti-Americanism at the UN, Gedrich also writes, “Over strong U.S. objections, assembly members … elevated Iran’s nuclear weapon-seeking terrorist state to Vice Chair of the Disarmament Commission.” This is extremely misleading. The UN’s Disarmament Commission is a small and not very active forum that meets for three weeks in a year. Elections to the commission’s leadership happen by acclimation. If the Bush administration thought it worth their while to prevent Iran from attaining a leadership position on the commission, Ambassador Bolton or one of his representatives could have simply raised some objections and called for a vote. Needless to say, this did not happen.

Fact checking, it would seem, is not much of a priority at The American Enterprise.