Autocratic cooperation is difficult to study. Democratic states usually disfavor autocratic cooperation partners because they are perceived as less reliable and do not sign agreements with them. While it is challenging to capture autocratic cooperation with traditional approaches such as signed alliance treaties, co-sponsorship at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) offers a valuable alternative. UNGA co-sponsorship is less binding than alliances, allowing states to cooperate more freely with one another. What is more, states are required to choose cooperation partners actively. This allows us to study how autocracies cooperate in the international system at a venue that overcomes common restrictions to autocratic cooperation. We construct co-sponsorship networks at the UNGA and use the Leiden algorithm to identify community clusters. Our multiclass random forest classification model supports our assumption and shows that regime type is associated with cooperation clusters in UNGA co-sponsorship networks.
China is on the rise in global politics, especially due to its increasing influence in the African region. How does this affect other states that are investing in this region? We argue that China offers an attractive alternative to the highly conditional US aid because it enters the aid donor market with largely unconditional aid. We expect that the increasing independence from US foreign aid due to the China’s presence enables African states to become more critical of US foreign politics, and we expect these effects to be particularly strong for post-civil war states. We use natural language processing to automatically extract sentiments from states’ speeches at the United Nations General Debate and identify shifts in positive and negative sentiment of African states toward the US. Our results support our argument and show that countries increasingly move away from and criticize the US as China enters the market.