The Lancet Freaks out over U.S. Withdrawal from W.H.O.

W.H.O. chief
Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP

The UK-based Lancet medical journal has joined China in condemning the “reckless decision” of U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw from the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), claiming the move is “unlawful” and will have “dire consequences.”

The once-prestigious Lancet — which self-identifies as “progressive” and openly agitates for abortion rights, gender theory, the LGBT agenda, and streamlined international migration — claims in its July 9 editorial that the “current US administration’s unilateral action notifying the UN that the USA is withdrawing violates US law because it does not have express approval of Congress to leave WHO.”

“Withdrawal from WHO would have dire consequences for US security, diplomacy, and influence,” the editorial states. “WHO has unmatched global reach and legitimacy. The US administration would be hard pressed to disentangle the country from WHO governance and programmes.”

The Lancet goes on to make a thinly veiled threat, noting that this autumn, seasonal influenza and COVID-19 will pose a double burden on health system capacities and the U.S. “could be cut out of the global system to design annual influenza vaccines.”

“Severing ties with WHO could impede US access to crucial tools for developing biological countermeasures to influenza,” it declares. Moreover, if the U.S. does not participate in WHO initiatives, “Americans could have limited access to scarce vaccine supplies, and are likely to be barred from travel to foreign destinations.”

Stand-alone U.S. programmes “could never substitute for a truly global agency,” the editorial states. “Absent treaty obligations, in a multipolar world, mean there are no guarantees that countries will cooperate with the USA.”

Reading between the lines, what the Lancet seems most concerned about is not the U.S. withdrawal from the W.H.O. but rather its decision to “terminate WHO funding,” given that the United States is the single largest contributor to the W.H.O. budget with yearly financing ranging between $400 million and $500 million.

Last May, President Trump announced that the US. would sever ties with the W.H.O., citing the “malfeasance” of China, whom he accused of orchestrating a “coverup” regarding the origins of the coronavirus.

“China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year,” the president said.

In January, the World Health Organization heaped lavish praise on Beijing for what it called a speedy response to the new coronavirus. It repeatedly thanked the Chinese government for sharing the genetic map of the virus “immediately,” and said its work and commitment to transparency were “very impressive, and beyond words.”

It was later learned that China had in fact dithered in releasing the genetic map of the Wuhan coronavirus.

Chinese government labs only made the genome public after another lab published it ahead of authorities on a virologist website on Jan. 11.

This week, China called President Trump’s move to leave the W.H.O. “petty,” insisting that W.H.O. membership was “the most successful investment that the US has ever made.”

The W.H.O.’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is a member of a Marxist-Leninist Ethiopian party and was instrumental in significantly increasing Ethiopian debt to China as part of the latter’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

For its part, China supported Tedros’ rise to lead the W.H.O., despite the fact that he is not a medical doctor, a decision without precedent in the agency’s history.

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