The stumbling block to multilateral cooperation

Photo shows the online forum held in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. (Photo from the website of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG)) 

By Zhong Sheng

The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN). An online event held recently in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter has attracted great attention, indicating that the international community believes multilateralism is of practical significance.

The U.S., however, has never stopped attacking the multilateral system with unilateral actions. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for one, is particularly dedicated to undermining international solidarity and cooperation as he has gone out his way to deny the constructive role that China has played in multilateral organizations and even accused China of advancing its “narrow interests.”

With such clumsy tricks, Pompeo and other U.S. officials have revealed their true colors as the trouble makers for multilateral cooperation.

What the U.S. has been performing on the world stage–withdrawing from international organizations and agreements, as well as threatening to freeze the funds for world organizations–deviates from multilateralism and has caused widespread concerns in the international society.

Unfortunately, as years go by, some people seem to have forgotten about the UN Charter and the original intentions of founding the organization, said David Chikvaidze, Chef de Cabinet of the Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva.

The world has witnessed more and more unilateralist approaches, instead of seeking solutions via consultation and negotiation to deal with problems, which has increasingly put itself into a dangerous situation, he added.

“Certainly, the U.S. and many of our free-world friends have our differences on the subject of multilateralism.” Such remarks of Pompeo have made it pretty clear that the U.S. has already isolated itself from the rest of the world.

No matter what excuses and lies the U.S. has come up with, it could never justify its withdrawal from international organizations and agreements.

The country has already pull out of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Human Rights Council, the Paris Agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Treaty on Open Skies and announced that it would terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Such practices of the U.S. have fully exposed its unilateral nature and power politics driven by “America First”.

Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of leading medical journal The Lancet, called the U.S. administration’s decision to halt its funding for the WHO a “crime against humanity”.

The European media criticized America, a super power, for withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, saying it’s a betrayal of the world.

Pompeo has always tried to stir up trouble by talking about rules, yet the most important rule for him is that all rules should change according to the needs of the U.S.

Even after the country left the UN Human Rights Council, it still interfered in the formulation of the agency’s election rules and other affairs of the body and criticized the human rights conditions of other countries.

When the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to condemn the U.S. for its racial discrimination after the U.S. police caused the death of an unarmed black man George Floyd by violent law enforcement, Pompeo made a statement to “defend” the government, even by slandering the agency.

While the U.S. has continuously provoked trade disputes, bullied other countries in global trade, threatened the international trade order and undermined the rules of multilateral trade, Pompeo, however, is trying to pass the buck on China.

Facts speak for themselves. The U.S., a true bully in international affairs, has always applied the law of multilateral organizations and international society in a selective way.

If any country is advancing its narrow interests in the multilateral system, it is without doubt the U.S., as many people have agreed.

Only by practicing and safeguarding multilateralism can countries resolve global crises and protect international fairness and justice.

In the face of COVID-19, the worst global public health emergency since the World War II, countries are more determined than ever to promote multilateralism, which is mirrored in the G20 Extraordinary Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19, the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, the 73rd World Health Assembly and the Global Vaccine Summit.

Multilateralism is supposed to be a key driver of global cooperation in combating the epidemic and Pompeo, who has been busy provoking disputes among countries, stands in the exact opposite of multilateralism.

“The U.S. will no longer be seen as an international leader because of its government’s narrow self-interest and bungling incompetence,” said Kori Schake, deputy director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in an article published in American news publication Foreign Policy.

“The global effects of this pandemic could have been greatly attenuated by having international organizations provide more and earlier information,” the author continued, adding that this is something the U.S. could have organized and yet Washington has failed the leadership test, and the world is worse off for it.

A time of great fear and danger requires solidarity, humanity, sacrifice and hope, and not hysteria or hatred, said a U.S. media outlet.

Without integrity, a person wouldn’t gain a foothold in the world and a country will definitely be abandoned by its partners.

Some American officials, who have lied to make troubles and sow discord in the international society, have already become a stumbling block to multilateral cooperation and the common interests of the world.

Pompeo and other U.S. politicians have reversed the trend of multilateral cooperation at their personal will, only to stain the reputation and international image of the country itself.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)