ANALYSIS - Trump Cut Ties With WHO To Distract From Failure To Handle Pandemic

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 02nd June, 2020) President Donald Trump cut US ties with the World Health Organization (WHO) to distract his popular base's attention from COVID-19 deaths rising above 100,000, analysts told Sputnik.

Last week, Trump announced that the United States was formally terminating its relationship with the WHO and redirecting funding to other public heath initiatives. On the same press conference he also unveiled a range of actions against China over its Hong Kong policy, including visa restrictions on researchers and university students.

American University Professor of History and Nuclear Studies Institute Director Peter Kluznick told Sputnik Trump's action and renewed attacks on the WHO were consistent with his previous patterns of political behavior.

"Welcome once again to Donald Trump's world of dissembling, distracting, deflecting, prevaricating, and scapegoating. His response to the WHO is troubling, but it is not surprising," Kluznick said. "In his mind, the threat would suffice to placate his base, many of whom mistrusted all international organizations and treaties."

As the US death toll from COVID-19 continued to soar, Trump realized he needed to back his previous rhetorical attacks on the organization with more tangible actions, Kluznick explained.

"The obvious answer is that the United States passed the 100,000 death toll from COVID-19 - a truly shameful figure that highlighted the complete and total failure of the Trump administration in dealing with the crisis, marked by an appalling failure of leadership by Trump himself," he said.

The second major development that Trump was responding to was the demonstrations and riots in response to another episode of US police murdering an African American victim - the George Floyd case in Minneapolis, Kluznick said.

"This tense situation was further inflamed by Donald Trump's provocative, racist tweeting for which he was even condemned by members of his own party. So Trump had two things that he was desperate to distract from. He looked into his limited playbook and came up with his new favorite foil - China," he said.

Trump has been provoking a new cold war with China for some time now, but his efforts took a great leap forward in the past week, Kluznick noted.

"This is very dangerous, but it again seems to work not only with his base, which is generally ignorant of world affairs, but with the centrist Democrats like Joe Biden who seem intent on outdoing the Republicans in China-bashing," he said.

However, undermining the WHO in the midst of a pandemic was the height of folly, Kluznick said.

"No medical experts condone this. The WHO is playing a crucial role in fighting malaria, tuberculosis, polio, HIV, measles, and other diseases that plague people around the globe. It is leading international efforts to find a vaccine against the novel coronavirus. It should be strengthened, not cut off at the knees," he said.

The world was desperately crying out for a united global effort to find a vaccine against COVID-19, Kluznick said.

"But Trump is turning this into a wasteful national competition. That is the kind of approach the world [solidarity] desperately needs. Not Trump's regressive unilateralism at a moment of crisis, once again putting his own pathetic ego ahead of the needs of the international community."

Independent Institute Center on Peace and Liberty Director Ivan Eland agreed that Trump's policy of scapegoating the WHO was not advisable at the height of the pandemic, however much the organization needed reforming.

"Trump is scapegoating China and the WHO to distract from his own delay in responding to the virus,' he said.

Eland acknowledged that China was overly secretive about the virus.

"Trump is right that the WHO has needed reform for years, but disassociating the United States from the organization in the middle of a pandemic sends the wrong message to those on the frontlines of the epidemic and the American public also trying to deal with the outbreak," he warned.

WHO Director-General Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday said that the organization wishes to continue collaborating with the United States.