Kampala, Uganda | XINHUA | Washington officially notified the UN chief of its withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, an irresponsible move that will not only hurt America’s own pandemic fight, but also hinder the world’s collective drive to beat the deadly virus.
Given the track records of the U.S. administration in quitting such international treaties or bodies as the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN Human Rights Council, it is not surprising to see another selfish and wayward act of this kind.
As global COVID-19 infections approach 11.8 million, with a vaccine still not in sight, the United States has chosen to cripple the international health watchdog whose leadership has never been more important and essential at the moment.
Richard Horton, editor in chief of medical journal the Lancet, called the U.S. withdrawal “madness and terrifying both at the same time,” adding that “The U.S. government has gone rogue at a time of humanitarian emergency.”
Washington’s departure from the WHO has proved that the incumbent U.S. administration is a deserter in this arduous battle against a deadly pathogen, and a traitor of humanity itself.
It doesn’t take rocket science to see through the pure political motivation behind Washington’s WHO move in an election season. Those White House decision-makers are dreaming to believe that scapegoating the WHO will help cover their botched response to the outbreak.
Unfortunately, breaking away from the WHO will not help the United States bring the raging pandemic under control or ease the suffering of the American people, as confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country approach an appalling 3 million, with more than 131,000 lost lives.
Senator Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee, warned “this won’t protect American lives or interests — it leaves Americans sick and America alone.”
The American Medical Association, the nation’s largest physician group, urged the White House in the “strongest terms possible” to reverse the decision, warning that canceling the U.S. membership could disrupt clinical trials for vaccines.
The United States is the world’s sole super power, and as such should shoulder its due responsibility, especially during unprecedented global crises.
Instead of shifting blames, the current White House administration should first do more to contain the seemingly out-of-control pandemic situation in its own country.
Instead of purely pursuing political gains for the coming elections, the U.S. government should resist the dangerous temptation of premature easing of restrictions, and use prudence in striking a balance between recovering the economy and controlling the spread of the virus.
Instead of throwing away its international duties, the White House should join the rest of the world in supporting multilateral cooperation led by the WHO on a wide range of sectors from stopping cross-border transmissions to information sharing and vaccination research and development.
Washington who is seeking to fight the pandemic on its own, needs to know that the pathogen, if not defeated quickly and thoroughly, will leave no one intact. The best and the only option left for everyone is to work together.