Here’s what U.S. has contributed to global efforts amid epidemic

By Zhong Sheng
The public health emergency of the novel coronavirus pneumonia exactly exposed the unhealthy mentality of certain country in handling international relations and cooperation.
The U.S. government was recently reported to have delayed a foreign aid fund it promised and announced to reduce financial support to the World Health Organization (WHO) when the world is at a critical moment in the combat against the epidemic.
Such practice further explained the role of the U.S. in international relations.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced recently on social media that Washington would offer up to $100 million to China and other countries affected by the coronavirus to combat its spread, saying “This commitment demonstrates strong U.S. leadership in response to the outbreak.”
However, when asked about the implementation of the fund at a news conference held on Feb.10 in Washington, James Richardson, director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources at the State Department, said the $100 million was just an upper limit.
Except for some assigned projects to help Laos, he didn’t disclose further details about the fund.
Any constructive international cooperation shall be welcomed in this global public health challenge, including the assistance promised by the U.S. for Southeast Asian countries such as Laos.
However, people would question that the implementation of the assistance obviously doesn’t match what Washington has promised. What’s more, the delayed aid is also not convincing enough to back the “strong leadership” claimed by the U.S. government.
From announcing a high-profile aid plan to being vague about concrete action, what on earth is the intention of the U.S. govement?
When this question is still confusing the world, it is followed by a 2021 budget proposal that says the White House seeks to halve U.S. funding for the WHO which is leading the fight against the coronavirus outbreak at this critical moment.
Washington explained that to offer direct aid funding to designated countries is a better way to deal with public health emergencies. However, this explanation further confused the world – if the U.S. believes direct aid is more effective, then what is it doing to make its promised $100-million aid effective?
What it has done is clear. The country was the first to announce a travel ban against China, which clearly violated the WHO’s recommendation. Some U.S. politicians even took the lead in spreading conspiracy theories and used the epidemic to discredit China.
Such dark mentality and dangerous practices go against not only the U.S. claim of “strong leadership”, but also the bottom line of human civilization.
It’s interesting that when most American health experts and citizens hope to work with the world to defeat the epidemic, Washington is politicalizing the matter and running counter to the voice of the masses.
In recent years, America, the leading country in the world, has shown decreasing enthusiasm for international cooperation and reduced support for global multilateral systems, which is the biggest concern of the international society over the country’s diplomacy. The arbitrary practices of the U.S. are constantly worsening the negative impacts on global governance, which is further indicated by the remarks and practices of the U.S. amid the current epidemic.
Countries are interconnected in today’s world where one who tries to blow out other’s oil lamp will get his beard on fire. As a result, to strengthen cooperation remains the only right choice to cope with challenges.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)

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