2 September 2020   Leave a comment

The Trump Administration has decided not to cooperate with the initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop a vaccine against the COVID-19 infection. The Hill reports:

“The United States will not join a global effort led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop, manufacture and distribute a vaccine against the coronavirus, the White House said Tuesday.

“The decision represents a gamble by the Trump administration — one that could threaten to leave the country behind if the first viable vaccine candidate is developed by another country.

“Almost every nation in the world is participating in initial talks on the joint COVAX project involving the WHO, the European Union, Germany, Japan and several major nongovernmental organizations.

“The project, announced by the WHO earlier this year, would distribute an eventual vaccine candidate to countries around the world based on the number of high-risk residents in each nation.”

The ostensible reason for the US non-participation is President Trump’s belief that WHO is biased in favor of China. Even if the accusation were true, it really ignores the other 170 countries which will be cooperating with WHO. The real reason for the US decision is the ideology of “America First”. The US wants to be able to charge whatever it wants for the vaccine, a position likely pushed by the private companies who are developing vaccines in the US. Additionally, the US does not want any interference in any decisions about how it will be distributed, likely because the US vaccine will be used as a political tool to reward allies and punish enemies. The crassness of the US position is a disgrace. China’s media outlet, China Times, points out the hypocrisy of the US decision to not cooperate with the rest of the world:

“Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, said the US not participating again reflects its selfishness which is that no other country can gain advantages from it for free, and the country apparently has no intention to share its coronavirus information and vaccine information with others.

“The US’s back-out is in part because the White House does not want to work with the WHO, which President Trump has chastised, for what he characterized as its ‘China-centric’ response to the pandemic, the Washington Post said.

“Judd Deere, a spokesman for the White House, said that “we will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China.’Li said that such a move is the US’old trick to resist China-linked plans and incite certain other countries to boycott them, which can be described as US-style “political correctness.’

“The current US diplomatic policy is indeed, extreme egocentrism and nationalism. The Trump administration now totally regards vaccine development, which is essentially a key topic close to public health and the safety of human life, as a political weight.

“Who will win the race for a vaccine remains unclear, but the result will influence the US’ health diplomacy policy and its role in the international community, Chinese experts said.

“With the US’ decision to skip over the global vaccine effort, if none of its vaccine candidates are viable, the country would be left behind with no options.”

It is hard to appreciate how quickly the US has lost the capability and will to contribute to a stable world order. The pandemic has revealed that it is apparently willing to let many people die in order to preserve its ability to distance itself from the rest of humanity.

Posted September 2, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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