A group of twenty leaders of countries that are members of the United Nations and the World Health Organization have cooked up a plan to establish an “international pandemic treaty.” On the surface it sounds harmless enough, calling for a commitment to “reinforce the world’s pandemic preparedness and response systems.” Given how hard the majority of countries in the world have been hit by COVID, everyone is justifiably interested in making sure that we don’t get caught with our pants down the next time a bug like this shows up. But what sort of obligations would we be signing on for if the United States were to enter into such an agreement? We don’t know because the WHO isn’t really providing any details beyond some sort of gauzy description of everyone being in this together. (Associated Press)
More than 20 heads of government and global agencies on Tuesday called for an international treaty for pandemic preparedness that they say will protect future generations.
But there are few details to explain how such an agreement might actually force countries to act more cooperatively.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and leaders, including Boris Johnson of Britain, Mario Draghi of Italy and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, called for “a renewed collective commitment” to reinforce the world’s pandemic preparedness and response systems, that would be rooted in the U.N. health agency’s constitution.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is the one putting out the call for this treaty. He’s being joined by Boris Johnson and the leaders of other countries including Italy and Rwanda. The timing of this move probably isn’t coincidental. Just last week, Tedros issued a request for the world’s wealthiest nations to immediately donate ten million doses of vaccine to the WHO so the medicine can be distributed to poorer countries that are not yet able to get up to speed on vaccinating their people.
In other words, this treaty will probably wind up being the same as the rest of the initiatives that the United Nations comes up with. The largest, most successful countries (primarily the United States) will be put on the hook to pay for and supply vaccines and other resources before even taking care of our own people. Meanwhile, some of our well-off adversaries like China and Russia will either not sign on to such an obligation or they will find a way to weasel out of their commitments. It’s the same thing that happened with the Paris climate accord, only this one sounds like it would be a formal treaty.
The United States is already one of the most generous nations in the world. We already send more relief of all sorts across the globe than pretty much anyone else. In terms of the plague, we’re primarily taking care of our own people first, but preparations are already underway to begin shipping vials of vaccine to poorer countries, starting with Mexico. We don’t need to tie our hands behind our backs with some treaty that would probably leave our own people waiting for vaccinations while millions of doses are loaded on planes and sent elsewhere.
Unfortunately, this sounds like precisely the sort of thing that Joe Biden would agree to. Globalist Joe was eager to lash us back into the Paris Climate Agreement despite the fact that many of the other signatory nations have been utterly failing to live up to their own obligations. If this plan from the WHO comes together and it takes the form of an actual treaty, Congress should reject it while reassuring the rest of the world that America will continue to help them to the best of our ability like we always do. If they try to craft it as a “binding agreement” instead of a treaty (like they did with the climate accord), we need to step up and remind the Biden administration that treaties (which this would still be in all but name) are the constitutional province of the Senate and the nation can not be locked into such obligations through the signature of one person.