Beijing Got More “Bang For Its Buck”
The emerging Multipolar World Order is the Weltanschauung shaping the contours of World War C whereby the outcome of this global struggle looks likely to further reduce the US’ unipolar control over the international system in more ways than one. In practical terms, this can most immediately be seen by the growing controversy over the World Health Organization (WHO) after Trump proclaimed late last week that his country was seriously considering cutting off funding to this globalist body due to what his administration alleges is it positive bias towards his Chinese rival. This accusation is surprising for many considering that the US currently funds the organization to the tune of over $400 million a year whereas China contributes comparatively less at approximately $44 million, which is a difference of nearly ten times that would thus imply that the People’s Republic receives much more “bang for its buck” than America does by an almost unbelievably large margin.
Passing The Baton From The US To China
It’s therefore understandable why the US is so enraged since it had hitherto taken its financial influence over the organization for granted and accordingly always presumed that it could politicize the group for its own strategic ends, which in this case appear to be the desire to generate international pressure on China over its initial response to the COVID-19 outbreak late last year. The very fact that Washington has been so unsuccessful in this respect when it comes to the WHO despite spending almost ten times as much as Beijing does strongly suggests that there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than it initially seems. What’s actually happened (however loath the US is to publicly admit it) is that China gradually broke America’s previous soft power monopoly over this globalist body and other related institutions through its skillful employment of “economic diplomacy”.
China’s “Economic Diplomacy” In Action
Although scornfully described as so-called “dollar diplomacy” by its critics, that doesn’t tell the whole story and merely makes it seem like China is “buying off” a bunch of corrupt bureaucrats, which evidently isn’t the case considering that the US has theoretically spent much more money in pursuit of this by almost a factor of ten in respect to the WHO. Rather, what’s meant by “economic diplomacy” is the comprehensive use of economic means to advance political goals, which in the grander sense of this strategy more often than not takes the form of leveraging China’s leading trade position vis-a-vis most countries and its complementary Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) investments in connective infrastructure projects with them to create what it’s fond of calling a “win-win” relationship that disincentivizes those states and their representatives in international organizations from implementing policies that would be disadvantageous to Beijing’s interests.
In the context of the present analysis, this years-long struggle of influence-building has resulted in a state of affairs whereby many of the countries and individuals that are part of the WHO — especially Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who previously served as his Ethiopian homeland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012-2016 and therefore directly contributed to strengthening ties between China and its closest African partner since the end of the Old Cold War — refuse to bend to the US’ literal “dollar diplomacy” of pressuring them to politicize their work against China. As seen from the perspective of International Relations theory, China has proven itself much more effective than the US at using the Neo-Liberal means of international organizations to advance its interests, which partially explains why America under the Trump Administration has taken to practicing a more Neo-Realist power-centric policy in order to counter this geostrategic jujitsu.
“Talk Is Cheap”
Against this backdrop, it’s a lot easier to understand why Trump the American Nationalist has no qualms about possibly surrendering the WHO to China since he no longer regards it as reliable instrument for perpetuating unipolarity after Beijing successfully turned it into one for advancing multipolarity instead as a result of its skillful employment of “economic diplomacy” over the years. Shedding the burden of nearly half a billion dollars a year in subsidies to an organization that not only no longer promotes American interests but arguably works against them nowadays (if one equates the US’ geostrategic interests with unipolarity and accepts that they stand in contrast to China’s multipolar ones that the WHO is more or less in alignment with at the moment) is therefore a reasonable decision to make and should actually be applauded in principle by the opponents of the Unipolar (“New”) World Order.
The problem, however, is that “talk is cheap” and the US’ lost funding would inevitably have to be replaced if the WHO endeavors to maintain its operations at the current level, to say nothing of eventually expanding them. No country — be it China or Russia — has stepped up to the plate and is ready to throw around such large sums of money. China has already achieved its strategic objective of co-opting the organization so it has no interest in investing any more into it than it already is whereas Russia seems to silently accept that this is the best scenario that it can hope for since it certainly doesn’t have the financial wherewithal nor political will to take such responsibility for the entire world. It’s for this reason why there’s such a loud outcry of condemnation over Trump’s threat to cut the organization’s funding since even those countries that are against the US’ global role are appreciative of its financial largesse in generously subsidizing globalist bodies such as this one.
A Blessing In Disguise?
It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, though, and nobody has a die as a result of the US withholding its funding from the WHO so long as the group internally reforms in order to adapt to that new reality. Considering that neither China, Russia, a combination of the two and/or they and their partners across the world are likely to replace the financial void left by the US, the WHO will have no choice but to more effectively use whatever money remains in order to ensure that its primary activities continue unimpeded. This means that the organization will have to stop spending twice as much on travel as it does on medical supplies, among other long-overdue reforms aimed at optimizing its operations in parallel with reducing the possibility of having unnecessary expenses exploited for corrupt purposes. Seen from this perspective, Trump’s possible decision could actually be a blessing in disguise if it compels the WHO to focus more on its founding mission.
The world is in an uproar over Trump’s threat to cut funding from the WHO, but it should actually be celebrating since this symbolizes the success of China’s “economic diplomacy” and could also be the best thing to ever happen to the organization if it finally optimizes its operations as a much-needed cost-cutting measure in response. The US can’t be faulted for contemplating this course of action since the group no longer advances its strategic interests and average Americans aren’t dependent on its activities anyhow, so Washington doesn’t stand to lose anything other than some soft power sway by surrendering the WHO to Beijing. Those who complain are either unaware of the aforementioned, want to milk America for more money, and/or simply want to portray Trump in the worst way possible, but they should open their eyes to the reality that this move is actually a win-win for everyone, especially the US, China, and even the WHO itself.