U.S. Power Politics and the United Nations: Vote Buying in the Security Council
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This article examines the phenomenon of vote buying in the United Nations (UN) and its consequences for the international community. Expanding on the robust link the literature draws between UN Security Council (UNSC) membership and increased aid receipts, this case study of Yugoslavia’s dissolution explores whether the United States engaged in vote buying to reach vote alignment in the UNSC. Although there is no evidence of vote buying using bilateral aid, some indicators point to the use of multilateral aid in this context. The results suggest that initially passive recipients transform themselves into active recipients to adjust to the power imbalance within the Council and the influence attempts of dominant states. Less powerful members extract bribes from the dominant states by keeping their voting intentions uncertain and exploiting the dominant states’ concern with the topic under consideration. Thereby, this study reveals a so far unstudied mechanism that deserves further analysis.