Written by Stephen Moynihan

In International,OpinionInternational, Opinion

Not long after he had heightened racial tensions across America by posting provocative tweets which harken back to state-sanctioned violence during the civil rights movement, Donald Trump turned his attention towards the World Health Organisation (WHO) and in the process is set to further undermine the global reaction to the COVID-19 crisis. This is not the first time Trump has acted in a way that goes against global interests, but it provides conclusive proof that his administration has lost any remnants of its moral compass and that it will unashamedly undermine the most serious of human issues if it is politically expedient to do so.

5min Read

May 29, 2020 | International, Opinion | 0 comments

Donald Trump continues to pose a threat to both America and the wider world

Stephen

Written by Stephen Moynihan

In International,OpinionInternational, Opinion

5min Read

Not long after he had heightened racial tensions across America by posting provocative tweets which harken back to state-sanctioned violence during the civil rights movement, Donald Trump turned his attention towards the World Health Organisation (WHO) and in the process is set to further undermine the global reaction to the COVID-19 crisis. This is not the first time Trump has acted in a way that goes against global interests, but it provides conclusive proof that his administration has lost any remnants of its moral compass and that it will unashamedly undermine the most serious of human issues if it is politically expedient to do so.

In a statement at the White House today [29th May], President Trump said that America “will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organisation and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs”. His reasoning for this is that the WHO failed to instigate reforms which America had requested, as Trump blamed both the WHO and China for the over 100,000 COVID-19 deaths in America.

This decision would be baffling under a normal presidency, especially when one considers that the entire world is actively seeking a vaccine in the middle of a global pandemic, but the fact that it doesn’t come as a major surprise is an indictment of Trump’s behaviour and his failure to take the responsibility associated with his position as President of the United States seriously. Under normal circumstances the United States would be taking the lead on the global scene in an effort to find the vaccine, or at the very least doing everything in their power to make it look like that was the case – regardless of perceived faults of the organisation or its member states; actions come first, inquiries later.

But that was the America of yesteryear. The current administration is nativist, jingoist, insular and intent on undermining globalisation wherever it can. Claims of “redirecting funds” to other health bodies are all well and good, if there were viable options – but none have the capabilities of the WHO, which coordinates efforts between 194 different member states. “America First” has become “America Alone” – but no country can stand alone against this virus.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Trump has neglected his moral duty towards the rest of humanity. First came his announcement in 2017 that America was pulling out from the Paris Climate Agreement, severely undermining the global response to climate change and placing people all across the world – including the unborn – at risk. Then came the US-China trade war, an effort by President Trump to reduce America’s trade deficit (i.e. to import less) from China and to get jobs “back” to America, hurting both global trade and Americans in the process. His crippling of the World Trade Organisation by vetoing attempts to appoint administrators to a trade disputes appeal panel, which is now below quorum and thus cannot make decisions, is further evidence of his proclivity to ride roughshod over the interests of the global community.

 

The country whose Presidents once strove to create a “Shining City on a Hill”, as the rhetoric went under President Reagan, is now led by an unashamedly isolationist, paranoid, conspiratorial megalomaniac. “Make America Great Again!”, his supporters chanted, but the tragedy is that America has never been further from the greatness Trump claims to desire. Not only are innocent African Americans still being killed by police officers – while the President shows more interest in threatening protestors than tackling systemic racism – but America is now also, in full sight, actively harming the interests of the rest of the world in the middle of a global health crisis. It’s unlikely President Trump cares though – he has his eyes set on the upcoming election and another term in the oval office.

His most recent move is to ban the use of American tools in creating Huawei products, in turn putting businesses and livelihoods at risk. He has taken the realist state of anarchy and put it on steroids – America now answers to no one.

Populists need an enemy; the World Health Organisation and China are just the latest. We’re going to see plenty of more before November.

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