- US President announced withdrawal from the WHO
- Amidst the pandemic, it will virtually leave the World Health Organisation handicapped
- “China has total control over the World Health Organization,” the president said
The President of the United State of America, Donald Trump announced that the US will withdraw itself from the World Health Organisation, a decision which will virtually leave the world’s premier health body handicapped in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, White House’s media room, Trump repeated his accusation that the WHO has failed to warn the world of the dangers of the Coronavirus in a timely manner because of the pressure from Beijing. Trump claims that the WHO is not beholden to China adding that it is no longer worth it for the US to remain a member of the WHO.
Trump said, “China has total control over the World Health Organization,” and added that for this reason the US “will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization.”
Various people have come forward saying Trump is right to note that the World Health Organisation did make mistakes early in the pandemic such as not pushing China to allow international inspectors into the country when the outbreak grew, and also falsely asserting in January of 2020 that the “Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” of COVID-19.
However, there are many who says this is a far cry from proof of some special WHO-China conspiracy and serves as a convenient excuse to distract from the lacking response from Donald Trump in the US – including ignoring warnings of the US intelligence from months which warned of an imminent threat to the US from this deadly virus.
This, in every of many, makes the WHO decision by Trump more of an act of political theatre than a smart foreign policy move which has also made the global health experts upset. Thomas Bollyky, Council on Foreign Relations said, “It is a sad day when the US abdicates its leadership on global health and unconscionable that the president would take this step amid a deadly pandemic in which the WHO is coordinating the international response,”.
US President said that the US gives $ 450 million to the WHO in a year whereas contributions from China comes in at around $ 45 million per year, so it will certainly be a huge blow to the World Health Organisation.
However, after hearing the announcement, a major question remains unanswered.
Whether Trump can singlehandedly withdraw the US from the World Health Organisation? A senior White House official said that it was “doubtful” that Trump could actually do it, however, added that it is possible for a President to freeze the funds for indefinite period of time, leaving it to Congress to force contributions.
Some of the president’s firmest congressional critics, such as Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, lambasted Trump’s decision, though Republican Representative Matt Gaetz — a key Trump ally — said he supports Trump’s action.
It was never about reforming the WHO. That was all lies. It was always about distraction and scapegoating.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) May 29, 2020
Leaving castrates our ability to stop future pandemics and elevates China as the world's go-to power on global health.
What a nightmare.
As per the US Law, Bollyky says, President Trump does have the right to withdraw the country from any treaties he wishes to, however, in the international law, there are no provisions in the WHO’s constitution for leaving the body.
This may require Trump to give a 12 months notice before the US can officially leave the WHO, as per the joint Congressional resolution which got the United States into WHO, as well as a successful dues payment in the fiscal year.
Some experts say that though it looks like Trump’s action will boil down to American politics and if anyone will hold him accountable. Bollyky said, “No one is going keep us in if the US doesn’t want to be,”.
In the mid of May 2020, Trump has sent a letter to the World Health Organisation’s Chief outlining the grievance from the US about how the global health body handled the COVID-19 pandemic and its ties with China, and warned that If the WHO does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days,” the state would “reconsider our membership.”
At the time Trump said that the administration is working in concert with the World Health Organisation to make such reforms, however, he never specified what the reforms were. Now, he’s giving the WHO no time.
During the announcement, Trump said, “We have detailed the reforms that [the WHO] must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,”.
The Executive Vice President of Center for Global Development, Amanda Glassman said, “If there is a problem, the United States should name it and fix it, rather than giving up its seat at the table,”.
Trump has made one thing very clear for the WHO that if the US part way it will be bad news for the organisation. US walking out from WHO will mean it will lose a huge sum of money, and the US President has already froze $ 400 million of the money in April. Trump said that the US will be “redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” but did not name who those might be