Trump has defunded the World Health Organization: what led to this, and what is humankind’s real problem?
We can look to international organisations to solve our problems, but we can be bitterly disappointed.
Why do they fail when their intentions are noble? The real problem is sin and its corrupting power; and the only real solution to that problem is Jesus.
Some breaking news this week is that Donald Trump is halting the USA’s funding of the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The USA is the world’s largest donor to the WHO, giving between 400 and 500 million US dollars every year, which equates to something like 2 to 2.5 billion of the 14.14 billion dollars that they need over the course of their current five-year cycle.
And it is worth noting that this is an organisation that costs the world 14.14 billion dollars in its current five-year plan.
Trump said that the WHO willingly took China’s assurances at face value, even praising China for its so-called transparency; that the WHO said COVID-19 was not communicable; and that the WHO said there was no need for travel bans.
That is all true.
"The decision… to keep travel open was one of the great tragedies and missed opportunities from the early days. The WHO’s attack on travel restrictions put political correctness above life-saving measures… The reality is that the WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion."
I was researching for this topic before Trump actually withdrew the funding, and so when I heard those statements, it connected with all of the things that I’ve discovered.
First, the WHO has repeatedly praised the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of the outbreak. They’ve refused to criticise the CCP even on legitimate grounds when given the opportunity; they’ve repeated CCP talking points almost word for word; and they’ve levelled veiled (or not-so-veiled) criticisms at the US on more than one occasion.
They’ve dragged their heels unbelievably on declaring a health emergency even as the virus was spreading around the world; they’ve parroted statistics that they must have known or strongly suspected were inaccurate for weeks; and they’ve consistently claimed, even a month or more after it was known otherwise, that human-to-human transmission was not happening.
And for precious weeks, they’ve called on countries not to enforce travel or trade bans due to the ‘stigma it would create’.
No wonder President Trump, on April 8, said that they got it very wrong in many ways, minimised the threat very strongly, and probably did know the truth about COVID-19 long before they admitted it.
Now, let’s step back and analyse the timeline to get a sense of how badly the WHO has handled this.
We start with China.
News outlets, including The Guardian, report that unpublished Chinese government data shows that ‘patient zero’, the first known coronavirus case, was a 55-year-old from Hubei province on November 17, 2019.
Now, if that is Chinese government data, you can be sure it’s the most complimentary it can be to China. So we can say at least as early as November 17.
Within a month, there were 60 confirmed cases, and there were well over 300 by January 1, 2020.
That, of course, is when China notified the WHO. Doctors in Wuhan knew about the disease quite early, but they were silenced and disciplined for mentioning it.
Dr Ai Fen, for example, Director of Emergency at the Wuhan Central Hospital, diagnosed a patient with a novel coronavirus on December 16, 2019. She shared the test results with colleagues and sought to raise the alarm, but she was reprimanded by the hospital’s disciplinary committee for doing so.
And Dr Li Wenliang, another doctor whom I’ve mentioned in an earlier episode, was sanctioned by authorities and forced to sign a recantation after he alerted colleagues to the new disease in late December.
Chinese authorities sanctioned a total of eight so-called ‘rumourmongers’ around this time for trying to raise the alarm.
Sadly, Dr Wenliang died of the disease, age 33, in February; and sadly, since Dr Fen went public claiming that the medical profession was stopped from warning the world, she has disappeared without a trace.
China continues to manipulate statistics and suppress information. It’s now certain that the numbers they’ve published are simply not true.
Yet, the WHO has continually fawned over China, frankly, day in and day out.
For example, in late January, the Director-General of the WHO said:
"We appreciate the seriousness with which China is taking this outbreak, especially the commitment from top leadership, and the transparency they have demonstrated… WHO will keep working side-by-side with China and all other countries to protect health and keep people safe."
So transparent that Dr Ai Fen is still missing, right?
So transparent that they’ve lied about numbers.
It’s just ridiculous.
Trump singled out two further problems with the WHO: its failure to report human-to-human transmission of the virus, and its failure to recommend travel bans.
Human-to-human transmission was known to be occurring in mid-December. That’s been confirmed by an international mission of scientists who went to Wuhan in late February. In addition, officials from Taiwan Centers for Disease Control informed the WHO that it had proof of human-to-human transmission on December 31, but the Taiwanese tip-off was ignored and China’s version of events was embraced.
The WHO publicly denied human-to-human transmission on January 5, January 12, and January 14. It took until January 22 for them to confess that, in fact, it had been happening.
That was conveniently two days after China had made the same admission. Probably not a coincidence.
But there are also issues with reported cases. China reported 44 cases on January 1, despite there being 381 confirmed cases that day. The WHO continued to speak in terms of these 44 confirmed cases for many days into January, hiding the true scale of the issue.
And then there’s the issue of travel restrictions, about which Trump really got cranky. You will see why.
The WHO advised against travel or trade restrictions on January 5, January 11, January 12, January 23, February 5, and February 29. Meanwhile, the virus had spread around the world. The February 5 announcement was a rebuke to the US government who imposed restrictions on travel to China despite WHO advice.
The WHO Director-General at the time said:
"We reiterate our call to all countries not to impose restrictions inconsistent with the International Health Regulations. Such restrictions can have the effect of increasing fear and stigma with little public health benefit."
It’s interesting. That excuse of the risk of causing stigma or fear is a classic bureaucratic leftist playbook line.
You can’t talk, for example, about things like gender issues because of stigma.
But if the truth is not told, people can suffer and people can die.
The WHO did not declare a public health emergency of international concern until January 30.
The emergency committee of the WHO had been locked in a stalemate for 10 days, unable to decide what to do.
News media investigations have revealed that it was the Chinese delegation on that committee that blocked the resolution. But the WHO has refused to comment when asked to clarify whether that is correct.
The Director-General of the WHO is Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the former Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Ethiopian government.
In response to criticism, he’s frequently attacked stigma, calling it more dangerous than the virus itself, and the most dangerous enemy.
On March 19, under pressure for having finally declared a pandemic only a week earlier, he said that there is no blame in this pandemic, which is convenient, isn’t it, when you’ve just royally mucked up the whole thing?
It’s three months into a disaster, and you’re there to look after people, and you haven’t done so. But of course, there’s no blame. Let’s not blame people.
Then Dr Ghebreyesus retreated to perhaps yet another one of these playbook lines: identity politics.
He said that Taiwan had been running a racist campaign against him for three months.
Taiwan – the country that warned the WHO with the truth on December 31, and has generally been way ahead of the WHO at every step.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ history is chequered. He was an executive member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, a political party with a Marxist history and ties to the former Soviet Union. The Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium lists this party as a left-wing terrorist group with a Maoist Marxist communist ideology, and it documents 10 terrorist incidents perpetrated by the party between 1975 and 1990, including political assassinations and attacks on soft targets.
Dr Ghebreyesus has been accused of covering up cholera outbreaks in Ethiopia when he was a government minister.
And just in case you’re in any doubt about his ideology, as recently as 2017, he tried to appoint Robert Mugabe as a WHO Goodwill Ambassador.
Robert Mugabe. Yes, the dictator of Zimbabwe, whose people were in a state of oppression, and who was not a good man.
What does all this mean?
The World Health Organization is actually a threat to world health in many ways; and it’s a communist puppet.
And multinational politics is a corrupt mess.
I’m perplexed when I meet peers or younger people who are idealistic, intelligent and even Christian, and they’re studying law or international relations or politics or economics, and looking with starry eyes at bodies like the WHO as if they are great bastions of virtue.
That’s just naive.
I’ve met people, for example, who are studying law and want to work at the International Criminal Court, which costs 200 million US a year, employs 800 staff, and has only ever achieved, in its entire lifetime, three convictions.
Or they may want to work for the United Nations, which has countries like Saudi Arabia on its Human Rights Council, and which couldn’t even declare a genocide when religious minorities including Christians were being systematically exterminated in the Middle East by ISIS.
Or the WHO, which is run by a government official from a Marxist terrorist political party, or who at least has those roots, and lies about the very thing he’s supposed to tell the truth about: a global pandemic.
If you want to do good, go and volunteer at your local soup kitchen, buy the groceries for your elderly neighbour, or babysit your nieces and nephews. You’ll do more good in acts like that than you would spending years bumbling around the bureaucratic mess that is these multinational piles of corruption.
I can’t help thinking, What is it that makes these things so ineffective? Why are they such a mess when they were set up with such noble aspirations? So much good was supposed to be done.
And I can’t help thinking it’s because they’re not really addressing the issue. What’s the issue? We’ve just seen it.
The real issue is people.
It’s the age-old problem of the corruption of the human heart. It’s that great contradiction about humans: that we’re so great and yet so unbelievably flawed. There is something that stops us ever being able to achieve good and only good, a corruption that continually dogs us.
It’s easy to point the finger at the world’s problems as if they’re all ‘out there’. It’s all the isms. Sexism, racism, globalism; and it’s phobias, and it’s patriarchy. Disembodied problems, floating around in the ether.
But the great truth that God reveals to us is that the problem isn’t ‘out there’. The problem is ‘in here’. Evil isn’t disembodied. It’s something that resides in hearts.
And of course, the great revelation of the Gospel is that the Gospel transforms the human soul.
It’s the solution.
It’s the answer the world craves.
It’s the solution that really goes to the true nature of the world’s problems: your sin and my sin, the sin of individuals.
And it’s a confronting solution, because we have to look at ourselves, and we have to realise that we are the problem.
But it is the solution to thank God for: that Jesus Christ actually died for your sin and for my sin.
And international organisations, no matter how unhelpful or helpful, can never solve the real problem.