WHO Should Be Bellwether, Not Scapegoat, in Global Pandemic Fight
By He Fei. Xinhua News Agency, May 1, 2020. Complete text:
Beijing – To some politicians in Washington, nothing is more valuable than their political self-interests – not even human lives. Their recent ever-escalating attacks on the World Health Organization (WHO) over the coronavirus pandemic is the latest case in point.
In a desperate attempt to shift blame for Washington’s clumsy handling of the pandemic, some White House politicians, notably US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have rushed to accuse the WHO of withholding critical information after the outbreak, being “China-centric,” and mismanaging the pandemic response.
More blatantly, Washington has also decided to suspend funding to the UN health body, even suggesting that it might create an alternative agency.
The truth is that the WHO has been faithfully performing its responsibilities since the outbreak. It alerted the world of the disease as early as Jan. 5, kept the international community duly updated on the progress of the situation, and coordinated a global drive against the pandemic.
The world body has facilitated the shipping of millions of units of personal protective equipment to 105 countries, and lab supplies to more than 127 countries, and is leading a global effort to develop vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics for the virus.
Washington should be the last entity to criticize the WHO over so-called transparency issues. It has been receiving real-time information about the coronavirus from US officials and experts at the WHO from the outset, and even often knew in advance what the agency planned to do or announce, according to US media. Those US politicians have simply slapped their own faces when attacking the WHO for so-called cover-ups.
Obviously, Washington has tried to scapegoat the WHO to deflect the blame for its inept and chaotic pandemic response at home, as the US caseload has topped 1 million – some one third of the world’s total – and more than 60,000 have died.
The White House’s ill-disposed bid to blame the WHO, as well as its tactics of pressure and coercion, have exposed once again its long-standing hegemonic mindset, which seeks to put “America first,” even though doing so could hurt the common interests of the world.
In the eyes of those Washington politicians, money equals power. Since the US is the institution’s largest donor, they believe that the UN health body should only act on behalf of Washington’s interests. That is a toxic legacy of America’s notorious money politics.
So when the WHO warns against Washington’s moves to politicize the pandemic, and does its work in an objective, fair and science-based manner, those Washington politicians must have felt betrayed.
US hegemonic bullying runs counter to the will of the global community, including many Americans. Many world leaders from the Group of 77, as well as from countries including China, Germany, France, and Italy, have voiced firm support for the group.
At the moment, the fight against the pandemic remains arduous and many factors about the deadly virus remain unknown, meaning the WHO has become more indispensable than ever as a source of guidance.
To weaken the group is akin to throwing the pilot out of a plane while a flight is in progress, as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas recently said.
For more than seven decades, the WHO has led countries worldwide to combat the threat of deadly diseases such as polio and malaria, and aided in the elimination of smallpox in the 1970s through many years of joint work.
Yet, in an age of a ravaging pandemic when nobody is safe until all are safe, those self-centered Washington politicians’ dangerous attempt to portray this bellwether of international pandemic containment as a scapegoat will only put more lives, including those in America, on the line.
If they continue down the wrong path, history will record that many died in the pandemic not just because of the deadly virus, but also because of a hegemonic superpower’s reluctance to own up to its due responsibility.
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