Washington’s decision to withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO) has drawn the ire of academics and observers around the world, who denounced the move as disappointing, irresponsible and strategically wrong.
The U.S. withdrawal from the WHO is “a huge disappointment,” said Humphrey Moshi, a professor of economics at Tanzania’s leading state-run University of Dar es Salaam, adding that it reflects the country’s double standards and failure to be a global leader, especially in global health.
“The U.S. withdrawal from the WHO means that the world will not trust the U.S. again, including its allies in Europe. Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic calls for solidarity and putting hands together, which the U.S. has failed to do,” the professor told Xinhua.
The Trump administration’s decision to pull the United States out of the WHO undermines the spirit of multilateralism and global cooperation, said Cavince Adhere, an international relations researcher specializing on China-Africa relations.
It’s an exemplification of narrow nationalism with little regard to the greater national interest of the country or humanity’s wellness, according to the expert.
“Instead of pushing for a united global response to stem the tide of the disease, President (Donald) Trump has made the unpopular and non-strategic decision to weaken (the) WHO,” he said.
The expert also hailed the WHO as a platform for cooperation and knowledge sharing, and a key player in leading international efforts to provide lifesaving equipment and medicine for countries worldwide.
“With health experts warning even more damaging disease outbreaks in the future, building global consensus to strengthen the WHO and other regional organizations should be prioritized,” he noted.
The COVID-19 crisis has once again emphasized the significance of international cooperation to tackle with global problems, said Benyamin Poghosyan, chairman of the Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies in Armenia.
He stressed that the U.S. withdrawal from the WHO fully demonstrates its unilateralism on international issues, and the Trump administration has gone deeper and deeper into a blame game, in a bid to manipulate the pandemic for the election in November.
“Some states continue to stick with their unilateral approach, undermining norms and principles of international law and blaming others for their own failures,” he said.
The decision is a “strategic mistake,” which is “dangerous, irresponsible, immoral and self-defeating,” and an attempt to blame the U.S. failure in handling COVID-19 on the WHO and China, according to Wilson Lee Flores, columnist of The Philippine Star.
“This U.S. withdrawal from (the) WHO shall have a negative impact on international cooperation to contain the pandemic, in seeking a vaccine,” he said.
“In a time of crisis, we should not waste our energies on useless political acts, but be guided by science and common sense to cooperate.”
Global COVID-19 deaths surpassed 550,000 on Thursday, reaching 550,440 as of 1433 GMT, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, the total COVID-19 cases around the world rose to 12,081,232.
The United States reported the most COVID-19 cases and deaths, standing at 3,057,431 and 132,360, respectively, the CSSE data showed.
More than 20 states in the country have either paused or partially reversed their staged economic reopening. Economists and officials warned that the pandemic has worsened U.S. inequities in income, wealth, opportunity and race. The longer the current recession lasts, the greater risks will grow across the country.