American power and dissent in the UN General Assembly : The growth of US minority voting against resolutions in 1995–2006

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/10292
Title: American power and dissent in the UN General Assembly : The growth of US minority voting against resolutions in 1995–2006
Author: Sauli, Hanna
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science
Date: 2007-05-14
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/10292
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: This study shows that rejections of resolutions by the United States have become increasingly common in the UN General Assembly between 1995 and 2006. The US finds itself in a small opposition in the majority of roll call votes, and often it is the sole country to vote no against the entire membership of the United Nations. The number of American rejections has grown considerably after 2001, and solitary negative votes have multiplied especially during the last two years. American dissidence is pervasive in most policy fields of the General Assembly, but much of the discord concerns disarmament, the Middle East and human rights. This study argues that American hegemony in the military, economic and political spheres has enabled the US leadership to embrace a doctrine that emphasizes unconditioned American sovereignty and freedom from international constraints. The ideology is conducive to the rejection of international commitments. It has boosted American dissidence in the General Assembly and is particularly manifest in the policy of the current government. The theory of soft balancing expects other states to engage in counteraction against the US, since the policy of the hegemonic power threatens their interests and security. Soft balancing could entail cooperation in the General Assembly that goes against American interests, and it could explain part of the American dissidence. Nevertheless, evidence concerning the agenda of the General Assembly and specifically resolutions in the non-nuclear disarmament sector suggests that soft balancing has taken place only on a small scale and does not explain the rapid growth of negative American votes. The US has recently adopted a negative stand towards many resolutions that are not directed against it or have previously received American approval. The analysis draws on the UN voting records, the yearly agendas and the content of the resolutions. The US deviance from the majority, the size of the coalitions that sometimes support American positions, the amount of negative votes in different issue areas, and changes in the composition of the agenda are presented numerically. A more detailed case-by-case dissection of changes in the disarmament sector evaluates whether the resolutions have grown more negative to American policy goals and whether position shifts by other states have partly caused the increasing loneliness of US stances.
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Subject: United States – foreign policy
United Nations General Assembly
voting behaviour
hegemony
power
balance of power


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