US President Donald Trump launched anew another virulent attack on the World Health Organization (WHO), accusing the UN body of mishandling the coronavirus crisis, which has now killed over 125,000 people and infected more than two million worldwide since it first emerged in China late last year. For its blunder, the Republican president said America is cutting off funding to WHO, to which last year it contributed $400 million, by far the largest contributor to the organization.
Clearly, Trump is trying to send a message to the rest of the world — that there is no room for error when lives are at stake. The decision to halt funding was on a temporary basis — from 60 to 90 days — but the threat was felt down to the bones.
If the increasing numbers of infected cases as shown in the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center are bases to view the magnitude how COVID-19 is spreading worldwide, then Trump has a valid point in accusing that WHO had “failed in its basic duty and it must be held accountable.”
But such a bold move by Trump will obviously gather much backlash. Much of the US population, including the governors and mayors of various US states, are now blaming him for seemingly putting their lives at risk by freezing contributions to the WHO.
Democratic leaders such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo criticized Trump’s claim of “total” authority to reopen the nation’s virus-stalled economy, saying he was talking more like a king than a president. Another governor, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, a Republican, responded similarly to push back against Trump’s insistence that he has the power to reopen the country.
In response to these US leaders, Trump tweeted where he likened himself to the captain of the ship and the country’s governors as mutineers against his authority. A CNN political analyst commented that Trump has been creating the largest polarization in the history of American politics with his uncanny pronouncements.
There’s so much to be desired on WHO’s slow progress or action, and I tend to lean on the side of the fence adamant that WHO has been severely mismanaging and covering up the threat of the coronavirus.
The consequences are building up, one on top of the other. And this will definitely be a huge blow to the WHO if the US’ plans to cut funding are pursued. The organization’s budget for 2018-2019 was around $6 billion. No doubt, the US decision to cut the funding will have long term implications on the future of the UN body.
With accusations and blame game now becoming a global trend, the stress of the situation is taking a toll on world leaders. WHO’s failure to adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion has created a serious dent on its credibility. It is now extremely difficult to work with an organization like the WHO if the trust between the two parties is severed.
The person who possibly could be on the chopping block may very well be WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who might be forced to step down to avert Trump’s plan to halt funding to the UN body. Ghebreyesus, a former high official of the Marxist rebel group in Ethiopia Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which overthrew Ethiopia’s Marxist dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam, met with China’s Xi Jinping in January, and praised his containment of the coronavirus even after China allowed it to spread unchecked in its crucial early stages.
The meeting between Ghebreyesus and Xi earlier this year demonstrated their “close relationship,” each doing the other a favor, backing one another up, defending each other to the detriment of the rest of the world. As such, according to a South China Morning Post report, WHO took the numbers reported by Beijing at face value.
“I thought the greatest success of the Chinese party-state was in getting the WHO to focus on the positive sides of China’s responses and ignore the negative sides of the responses,” said Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the SOAS University of London. “With the WHO presenting China’s responses in a positive light, the Chinese government is able to make its propaganda campaign to ignore its earlier mistakes appear credible and to ignore the human, societal, and economic costs of its responses.”
House Republican Conference chair Liz Cheney put it best and perhaps most hurtfully when she said that the WHO head “absolutely should go,” adding that having a Chinese Communist Party “puppet” in charge is “costing lives around the world.” Ghebreyesus’ background as a hard-leftist in Ethiopia, plus the constant increase in funding and backing by China, and the lobbying of China to get him his position all point to certain alliances that raise many eyebrows.
And as the WHO director-general faces rising criticism for his error to handle the novel coronavirus, one cannot help but link it to the Marxist movement, the same ideological bankrupt thinking of many consumer groups today.
In my opinion, it is essential that we all put aside such dangerous ways of thinking that will only hamper, block, stunt any progress or development by the governments of the world.
Right now, we need to come together to find solutions soonest, and use whatever resources can be gathered to address the situation. If it is not being done by the WHO, or by China, as there are many underlying political tones, then it is our job with our respective countries to carry on the good fight and promote proactive involvement with the solution to coronavirus.