The Disgrace of the WHO

Rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO) was a mistake. The Biden administration should revoke their promise to do so, post-haste.

Throughout the past year of the global pandemic, the World Health Organization has been negligent and has routinely gotten things wrong. From their wholesale reliance on China’s word when it came to the early outbreak to their stance against masking and long-time claims that the virus was not airborne, the group failed at its mission of global public health. These failures are not unrepresentative of the WHO’s general approach, as the body seems to focus more on international politics than it does health these days. The organization is led by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an Ethiopian public health figure whose candidacy to lead the body was mainly supported by the Chinese government in opposition to a Western-backed figure. Tedros has come through in a big way for his Chinese Communist Party backers, taking the Chinese government line as the gospel truth and pushing against any and all parties who blame China for this plague year. The WHO has been inconsistent on nearly all aspects of its coronavirus approach, but for its constant support of the CCP. This should be unacceptable in a global public health organization.

That brings me to the WHO’s latest disgrace: their wholly inadequate & blatantly biased ‘investigation’ into the origins of the coronavirus. People like me have been clamoring for months now for a legitimate & detailed investigation into the origins of the pandemic & its links to China. That investigation should have focused especially on the cover-up of initial reports, the possibility for a lab leak, & the use of international bodies like the WHO to avoid accountability. Instead, what we got was the WHO taking a Chinese-government-led tour of Wuhan, interviewing figures pre-selected by the government, and patiently listening to and supporting absurd narratives about the pandemic originating outside of China. That’s an investigation that would have made Stalin blush with embarrassment. The WHO talks a big game on transparency and its mission of promoting public health, but their actions (or lack thereof) during their CCP-sponsored vacation are disgraceful.

The worst part of this farce of an inquiry was the press conference jointly held by WHO and Chinese scientists, where the Chinese group pushed wild and unsubstantiated theories about the virus coming from imported frozen food without one iota of pushback. There is zero evidence that the CCP narrative here is correct, yet it will now be investigated by the same team that has taken China’s word at face value since Day 1. Not only did that presser give “the most authoritative support that China has received in terms of its official narrative,” it essentially completely discounted the idea of a lab leak, something which Beijing has been attacking as a conspiracy for months. The evidence that the WHO scientists used to make their decision that a lab leak was impossible came entirely from pre-arranged interviews with Chinese scientists, a tactic that would be seen in any Western court of law as absurd on its face. Now much of the Western media will take the WHO at its word (something perfectly in line with past experience) and label those who dissent as ‘conspiracy theorists’; wash, rinse, and repeat.

We may never get the proper investigation we deserve if we continue to rely on fatally-flawed organizations like the WHO. Unfortunately, that seems to be exactly what we are planning to do. The Biden administration has already promised to rejoin the WHO and restore the massive American funding which supports its bureaucracy. This is a terrible mistake, one which is being made purely out of partisan politics. In this worldview, since Donald Trump attacked the WHO, he must have been wrong and the group must be the paragon of righteousness. But as the old adage goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day. In this instance, the broken clock was right on the money: the WHO is an ineffective, corrupt organization that is wholly in thrall to the Chinese government. Some would have us leave the WHO and avoid all international organizations entirely. This is shortsighted and wrongheaded. Instead, we must stand up alternative organizations which prioritize transparency and solutions instead of politics. Those new institutions must be limited to nations which fit certain standards of democratic representation, human rights, and openness; gone should be the days of China running the WHO or Iran or Saudi Arabia sitting on the Human Rights Council. This won’t happen overnight, will not be easy, and will take strong leadership to succeed. But America has done this before — who do you think set up the existing international order? — and we must do it again. I fear that our leaders have failed to see the problem as it is and lack the gumption to do what needs to be done. I hope I am wrong, and the President can prove me so by reversing his poor decision to rejoin the WHO. After the disgraceful performance they put on in Wuhan, the World Health Organization deserves nothing less than that.

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