The global spread of Covid-19 will have a devastating impact on the socio-economic system of countries, particularly of developing nations. Indeed, the worldwide pandemic requires a unified global response.
In March, the US announced a $1.3 billion foreign assistance package for coronavirus affected nations and said Pakistan would be a “priority country” to receive that emergency assistance. But the question is, is the US in any position to assist other countries when the situation in its own country is spiralling out of control with the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world?
On April 14, President Trump said he was cutting off WHO funding, claiming the organization “failed in its basic duty, and it must be held accountable.” Being the most significant contributor to the WHO budget, the US cutting off funding derails the performance of the organization during perhaps, its most testing time in recent history. Many American health experts have condemned the Trump administration’s decision, including Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association.
Underdeveloped nations have insufficient financial resources and medical supplies to cope with increasing cases of the disease. Moreover, these nations are habitual in receiving foreign humanitarian assistance during natural calamities. In the unusual circumstance of the entire world undergoing a crisis of this scale– even nations that are ordinarily big donors in time of disaster– poorer countries are left without the generous support of the international community. Currently, the developed world including the US, is powerless to support global humanitarian assistance operations generously.
The virus does not recognize borders, and individual national actions are inadequate to save humanity from Covid-19. In our economically interdependent world, no nation can survive in isolation. Therefore, sooner or later, international travel will have to resume for economic, educational, medical and tourist activities.
With the resumption of interstate trade activities, such as raw and finished material transportation, the spread of the virus from one country to the other will be uncontainable. In our globally connected world, the vulnerability of one society poses a threat to the entire international community.
The American giant Boeing suspended production of 787 Dreamliners in South Carolina and closed factories in Washington state and suburban Philadelphia because of coronavirus
The US seems convinced that a global collaborative vision and program for ending the coronavirus is in its own national interest. Being a leading global power, it is in the geopolitical and geo-economic advantage of the US to assist other nations in coping effectively with coronavirus for their own foreign military deployments and overseas financial investments.
The US has taken some steps in assisting the international community. It announced an emergency fund of $274 million for affected countries “to contain and combat” Covid-19. Subsequently, he declared a national emergency in the US on March 13. Washington pledged to provide resources to 64 of the world’s most at-risk countries to better combat coronavirus. For decades, the US has remained the single most significant health and humanitarian donor to the developing world.
But with an increasing number of coronavirus fatalities in the country, the Trump administration announced its emergence fund’s implementation might become difficult.
The American people have been suffering severely from the pandemic and reported cases in the US are doubling every fifth day. Last week, it surpassed Italy in the total number of confirmed deaths from the coronavirus. Besides, the pandemic has put more than 16 million Americans out of work, forcing Trump to review his economic policy.
Read more: World economy shrinking amid coronavirus
Trump is already facing criticism due to his late response to the pandemic. Critics argued that he obnoxiously played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues initially. Politically speaking, in an election year, he cannot take the risk of defying public opinion, especially on humanitarian assistance when Americans themselves have been experiencing financial and health crises. The American giant Boeing suspended production of 787 Dreamliners in South Carolina and closed factories in Washington state and suburban Philadelphia because of coronavirus.
It is clear the Trump administration’s response to the current global pandemic crisis is calculated and complex. And though it announced it would contribute charitably in global health and humanitarian assistance to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic– this will come with many caveats.
Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal is Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He is also an advisor on Non-Proliferation to SASSI, London and a course coordinator at Foreign Services Academy for the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Email: email@example.com. This piece first published in Arab News Pakistan Edition. It has been republished with permission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.