After a period of stalemate, the transfer of power to the US president finally started, and the US government’s policy has also entered a “delicate period.”
This week the Trump administration officially withdrew from the “Open Skies Treaty” and added another item to the list of “withdrawals”. In recent years, the United States has “quit the group” and become addicted. Such a move is not surprising.
At the same time, US President-elect Biden led the first cabinet appearances, declaring “America is back.” He had promised that on the first day in office, the United States would return to the World Health Organization and the Paris Agreement.
Many international organizations are also looking forward to the return of the United States. They believe that Biden will open up a new situation in international relations. However, “it is easier to tear down the wall and it is difficult to repair the wall.” I am afraid it is not that simple for the US to return to the past.
Returning to the WHO is not that simple
In Geneva, Switzerland, experts from WHO have worked day and night to promote international cooperation in the fight against the epidemic. However, in July, the Trump administration “drew salaries from the bottom” and terminated its relationship with the WHO.
Director General Tedros welcomed Biden’s positive remarks, and he also conveyed to the Biden team his expectations for cooperation.
However, it is not easy for the United States to re-enter the group. According to the plan, the United States will not be able to withdraw from the WHO until July next year, and the relevant withdrawal process is underway. If the United States rejoins, there is no precedent for how to deal with it.
In addition, the United States was once the WHO’s largest donor country, but its dues have been in arrears for a long time.
After Trump threatened to “cut confessions” at the beginning of this year, the U.S. arrears in dues also accumulated. If the United States decides to return, I wonder if the money needs to be made up in full?
In the nearly five months since the United States announced its withdrawal from the WHO, the number of new coronary pneumonia cases in the United States has increased by nearly 10 million, and the number of deaths has increased by more than 100,000. Even if the United States is lost, the more than 100,000 lives lost will never be returned.
Withdrawal from the “Paris Agreement” hurts hard to heal
In Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, preparations for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference are also underway. A few days ago, British Prime Minister Johnson personally issued an invitation to Biden to attend the conference next year.
December 12 this year marks the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement. The parties plan to celebrate this milestone together. At this moment, the mood in the United States is complicated.
On November 4, the Trump administration formally withdrew from the “Paris Agreement” to deal with global climate change, and Biden’s first task after taking office is to get the United States to rejoin the agreement as soon as possible.
Recently, Biden announced that the former Secretary of State Kerry, who contributed to the signing of the Paris Agreement, will serve as a special envoy for climate change affairs in the next administration. These undoubtedly bring positive signals to the Paris Agreement. However, the “willfulness” of the United States has caused immeasurable harm to global emission reduction efforts.
In June 2017, the Trump administration announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement and refused to fulfill the climate action goal of “decreasing emissions by 26% to 28% on the basis of 2005 greenhouse gas emissions by 2025”.
In the following three years, the United States ceased the implementation of “Nationally Determined Contributions,” and ceased its obligation to contribute funds to the Green Climate Fund. Since 2018, the United States has refused to fulfill its obligations such as submitting a “biennial report” and “national information bulletin” for three consecutive years, leaving it outside the global emission reduction system.
According to the latest statistics from The New York Times, since the Trump administration took office, a total of more than 80 major environmental policies have been revoked, and more than 20 are being revoked. It can be seen that the longer it takes for the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the more difficult it will be to re-engage.
Although the U.S. announced its “retirement” early, it continued to unreasonably disrupt negotiations on follow-up issues of the Paris Agreement. This state of “retreat without retreat” lasted for three years and seriously hindered the process of global emissions reduction.
The replacement of “America first” with “America is back” as the new slogan shows Biden’s determination to abandon unilateralism. However, Trump’s foreign policy has had a profound impact on the world, and the moral image of the United States in the international community has also been seriously damaged.
If the United States returns to an international organization to exert its influence, it must face up to the harm it has caused over the years…
Nowadays, American society is severely torn, and it is unclear whether the new slogan of “America is back” will receive domestic support. Gideon Rahman, the chief diplomatic commentator of the British “Financial Times”, said that Biden proposed that the United States should re-lead the world. It is easy for him to say this, but it is much harder to realize it.
Rahman pointed out that the United States is no longer as strong as it used to be, and rejoining international organizations such as the World Health Organization or the Paris Agreement will not return the United States to its leading role. The price of the return of the United States will be to accept a compromise, and such a result may not be welcomed in the United States.
Every four or eight years, a new president of the United States enters the White House. In fact, no matter who is elected, they are all pursuing the national interests of the United States and safeguarding the hegemony of the United States. They differ only in the means of realization.
In the past four years, the United States has undergone tremendous changes in its approach to multilateralism, which has made various countries feel its attitude toward international rules of “combination and disagreement, and disagreement and abandonment”. It has also made people more profound about the complexity and change of American hegemony Experience.
After Biden takes office, he may lead the United States back to some international organizations, but the policy gap caused by frequent withdrawals from the past cannot be easily bridged. For the “return” of the United States, we must not only listen to what it says but also watch what it does.