Trump threatens to pull out of the WHO
In a letter to the WHO on Monday, US President Donald Trump threatened to rethink the US's membership if the body failed to undertake "major improvements" within 30 days. Trump had already frozen US payments to the organisation, which he accuses of being too close to Beijing and bearing partial blame for the coronavirus crisis, more than a month ago. What to make of this latest initiative?
Trial of strength as a diversionary manoeuvre
With his ultimatum to the WHO, Trump is doing his best to distract attention from the situation in his own country, Aftonbladet writes with reference to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's latest forecast that the US economy could shrink by 30 percent and unemployment could hit 25 percent:
“Few politicians survive such forecasts. And these are definitely not the kind of predictions that will get you re-elected. The trial of strength with China has always been about opinion at home. The WHO and the UN are not very popular with Trump's voters, and are thus convenient targets. Focussing on the WHO and China diverts people's attention from the fact that it is Donald Trump who is responsible for the measures that are truly jeopardising US businesses and jobs.”
Beijing would become even more dominant
A US withdrawal from the WHO would only play into China's hands, Handelsblatt fears:
“The giant empire is increasingly open in its push for global dominance, and will do all it can to fill the vacuum left by the US in the World Health Organization. President Xi Jinping's regal bearing at the World Health Assembly gave a bitter foretaste of a WHO that increasingly adheres to China's guidelines. In the next pandemic - and it will come - Beijing could be number one in the WHO. That does not bode well for the world.”
Don't waste tax money on this WHO!
Britain has every reason to join in the criticism, says The Daily Telegraph:
“Under current management a WHO investigation of China's role in the spread of Covid-19 wouldn't be worth the paper it's printed on. Yet an impartial, objective and comprehensive investigation is vital, both to help contain the current pandemic and prevent future such events. The UK is already one of the major funders of the WHO and has pledged £65 million to help fight Coronavirus. British taxpayer's money should not be wasted on a body whose political agenda has led to such disastrous failure and our government has a responsibility to demand immediate reform.”