New Delhi: US President Donald Trump Friday announced the termination of the North American giant’s relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), making it the latest addition to a long list of institutions and pacts the US has withdrawn from under his administration.
Ever since he came to power, the US has either permanently withdrawn from or substantially cut the funding of several United Nations agencies and multilateral pacts pertaining to trade and environment. His administration has used different means to handicap other global institutions too — for instance, the US blocked the appointment of judges to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), rendering the trade regulator as largely meaningless.
Many of these were initiated or created by the US in the post-war era.
ThePrint lists the institutions, pacts and other global and bilateral arrangements the US has withdrawn from or weakened under Trump’s leadership.
Soon after getting into office in November 2016, President Donald Trump decided to pull out the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was a plurilateral preferential trade agreement involving 12 Pacific Rim countries such as Canada, Japan, Australia and ASEAN nations. He called it a “bad, bad deal” for America. If the US had continued to remain a part of the TPP, the signatories would have represented roughly 40 per cent of the global GDP.
Paris Climate Agreement
In June 2017, the US pulled out of the 2015 Paris Climate Deal, which was originally signed by 196 countries, for not being fair. The agreement’s long-term goal was to keep the rise of global temperature below the 2 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels and ideally keep its below 1.5 degrees. The move was opposed by climate activists in the US and across the world.
In October 2017, the US announced its decision to withdraw from the UN’s educational, scientific and cultural organisation. It quit UNESCO along with Israel and attacked the agency for its anti-Israel bias. “The U.S. has demanded “fundamental reform” in the agency that is best known for its World Heritage program to protect cultural sites and traditions,” noted a PBS report.
Global Compact for Migration
In December 2017, the US decided to leave the negotiations on the proposed UN deal for a Global Compact for Migration, “an international agreement on managing safe, orderly, and regular migration around the globe”.
Iran nuclear deal
In May 2018, the Trump administration decided to renege from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, for being too favourable to the Hassan Rouhani regime. The deal was signed by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) and Germany and Iran. As a part of the deal, Iran had agreed to not develop nuclear weapons. Since the US move, Iran has agreed to a phased withdrawal from agreement – restarting stockpiling and increasing uranium enrichment.
In June 2018, the US withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council stating that the agency had an anti-Israel bias. The body was set up in 2006 and works towards the promotion and protection of human rights across the world.
The Donald Trump administration announced its decision to end decades of funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in August 2018 for the agency’s alleged anti-Israel bias. While the UNRWA is meant to help refugees across the world, a substantial part of its work was directing towards aiding Palestinian refugees.
Arms control treaties with Russia
Trump has also facilitated US’ withdrawal from several US-Russia arms control treaties such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, with the latest being ‘Open Skies Treaty’. Currently, New START is the only remaining major arms control treaty between the US and Russia. Unless renewed, this treaty is set to collapse next February, and would mean the end of mutual arms cooperation between the two powers.
While the US President has repeatedly attacked the WTO and threatened to quit the organisation, he has refrained from doing so until now. According to him, the WTO, which has the primary task of dispute resolution between member countries, hasn’t been fair to the US in its rulings. However, the Trump administration has crippled the global trade regulator by blocking the appointment of judges to WTO. Currently, the WTO has only a single judge left.
Donald Trump has also weakened the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation by denying to publicly announce US’ adherence to Article 5 of the NATO Charter. This article pertains to the idea of collective defence commitment – the underlying idea of the military alliance. By choosing not to support it, Trump has undermined the very credibility of the alliance.