Voices from abroad on reckless defunding of WHO

With the US president defunding the World Health Organization at a time of great need, I think it would be good to highlight the reactions of a few leaders from around the globe and on our shores. The two articles below link to the sources of these quotes.

“President Trump’s plan to put a hold on U.S. funding for the World Health Organization during a global pandemic ‘is as dangerous as it sounds,’ says billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates. The Microsoft founder joined others defending the WHO, which they say is doing vital work to fight COVID-19.”

“‘This is a terrible time to do this and is short-sighted,’ says Jennifer Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, ‘It’s destabilizing and damaging to the global enterprise that we’re all needing to be engaged in’ — in the midst of a pandemic that has so far stricken more than 2 million people and killed more than 128,000, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.’

“‘Blaming does not help. The virus knows no borders,’ German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said of Trump’s plan via Twitter. He added that even without any U.S. cuts, the WHO is already underfunded.”

“Josep Borrell Fontelles, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, denounced Trump’s decision, saying there is ‘no reason justifying this move at a moment when their efforts are needed more than ever.’”

“The President of the American Medical Association, Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, called it ‘a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world.’”

“Noted UK biologist Richard Dawkins called it ‘another example of ‘America First and to hell with the world as a whole.’”

In addition to these quotes, several Prime Ministers have condemned this action by the US president. Conservative Australian PM Scott Morrison noted while the WHO is deserving of some criticism, they play an important role and serve a greater good. Other leaders were less even handed in their remarks.

It continually frustrates me to see a US president seek to look for scapegoats to avoid scrutiny of his own poor decision-making. For a person so consumed with his perception as a leader, when the time presented itself in January or even in February for the president to forewarn Americans that the Coronavirus is a pandemic we need to be planning ahead for, he whiffed at the ball on the tee.

Instead, he reverted to form and lied, downplaying the risk and blaming Democrats for a hoax. Sadly, more Americans got sick and died because of this delay. Even today, the president is not a good source of information as he has a tendency to revert to his “narcissistic and neurotic self” so says Conservative pundit David Brooks.

https://www.wamc.org/post/dangerous-it-sounds-reactions-us-plan-defund-who-during-pandemic

‘America first and to hell with the world as a whole’: Global leaders and experts denounce Trump for defunding WHO