Part 1: Trust WHO?
Part 2: Who the hell is Tedros?
As you know from Part 2, Tedros was a high-ranking member of the brutal TPLF junta that ruled Ethiopia for many years. He was largely backed by African nations, while his main British rival was backed by the West.
There are reports that Chinese officials lobbied on Tedros’ behalf, largely using the carrot of aid. They leveraged their African votes to get him elected. These efforts were probably essential, because his interview for the job was so embarrassing that it was treated as a joke in his home country. YouTube, would you believe, has taken the clip down – but I found it! One of the questions is hard to hear but the others are straightforward. I’ve seen this before: Third World apparatchiks are terrible at answering questions because they are accustomed to boldly telling their subjects that black is white, and they can execute the first person to stop clapping. If you are not used to explaining yourself, your skills atrophy.
Shortly after Tedros’ foregone appointment, the WHO chose much-loved Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe as UN goodwill ambassador – a move they later had to reverse. This was a payoff to China: Mugabe was their ally, and appointing him was a kick in the guts to the West. Mugabe is also supported by many African leaders.
You might be confused at this point. Why do Africans like Mugabe, if he’s hated by so many Africans within Zimbabwe? We all saw the jubilation when he was removed from power. For that matter, why was Tedros considered the ‘African candidate’ when so many Ethiopians abhor him and the TPLF?
African Big Men tend to support other African Big Men, so long as they are not direct rivals. They often hate competing Big Men in their own country or in a neighbouring country, but a Big Man on the other side of the continent can be safely supported. His very Big Man status reinforces the legitimacy of Big Man rule.
Aside from Mugabe, Tedros began appointing staff to key positions based on ‘gender and geographical diversity‘. This is code for making political, China-friendly appointments rather than the best trained experts from the developed world. He appointed a Russian lady to head the tuberculous division without consultation or calls for outside candidates, even though Russia has one of the world’s worst-managed TB problems and has turned down outside help. The appointment of the Russian came after Putin stumped up some cash for an international, anti-TB campaign.
Starting under Chan and accelerating rapidly under Tedros, WHO personnel are either appointed to be China-friendly, or need to become China-friendly in order to keep their plush positions.
It is important to provide two qualifications here. First, this applies primarily to the Geneva headquarters. Regional branches run themselves, and Australia’s continued funding for the WHO is based on the good work done by the Asia-Pacific division. Second, not every last person in the central organization is in China’s thrall. Some WHO doctors tried to declare a global emergency and advocate strict travel restrictions in late January, but were outvoted by the Manchurian candidates.
Return on Investment
China got its Tedros payoff when Covid-19 hit, in many ways:
– The WHO accepted nonsense from China that there were no human to human transmissions even after Taiwan had informed them that this was not true.
– The WHO was not granted access to Wuhan until late January. While it waited, it continued to parrot the CCP line, despite the clear lack of cooperation and transparency. Compare this to the snide remarks Tedros makes towards Western leaders.
– The WHO did not call China out on any of its extremely irresponsible actions, including closing the lab that sequenced the novel coronavirus’ genome a day after it released its findings (presumably without approval from the top); decontaminating the infamous wet market to destroy any live samples that might have served as evidence of the virus origin, and ordering the destruction of virus samples taken from infected patients, while also commanding laboratories not to release any more information. What nation other than China could get away with one, let alone all, of these outrages without attracting even gentle criticism from the WHO?
– The WHO praised China for its tight travel restrictions, but criticized other countries for introducing their own. It was almost as though China wanted the virus to spread so that the CCP would look less culpable at home. Hey, its a global pandemic! Whatareyagunnado? For about a week, international flights were allowed out of Wuhan even after domestic travel was stopped. China forced its satellites such as Cambodia and Laos to continue allowing flights.
– The WHO did not declare a global pandemic until March 11. Thanks for the heads up, WHO.
– When there were rumblings about whether Covid-19 might have escaped from a lab, the WHO once again rushed to China’s defense by saying that it came from an animal, not a lab. Thanks again, WHO. Lucky none of us know that the virus labs contain animals that might have been the point of origin. If you only have time to read one of the many links here, make it that last one from Newsweek.
– When China imposed its own travel bans on foreigners, stricter than any in the world, the WHO suddenly forgot all that stuff about stigmatization and said nothing.
Tedros Bites Back
Here is Tedros’ response to US criticism:
I love this. Classic, Habesha fighting words. Look how fucking angry he is. Those rolled r’s, ‘bodybags’, and in another clip he somehow blames it all on Taiwan for being racist: this is a Tigray battle cry and nothing else. Unlike the Appalachians, these highlanders require very little provocation to go into full combat mode. He’s repeating and amplifying China’s slightly veiled threat to withhold vital medical supplies from any country that fails to kowtow to the CCP. This is China and the TPLF’s declaration of war against the rest of the world.
I know what I’m talking about. This was my life for two years. However, there is no loyalty between these allies of convenience. China will deal with whoever’s in power in Ethiopia, including the TPLF’s worst enemies.
Now that all this has come down, do those African leaders who backed Tedros have their tails between their legs? You must have forgotten about all that money. The African Union extended its ‘unwavering support for the WHO and its director general‘.
As we saw during the Cold War, international agencies can only make a positive difference if global rivals put aside their differences in order to achieve a common goal. The WHO is the only body potentially capable of managing a pandemic. With China pulling the strings and the US threatening funding, it is not fit for purpose. Even before recent events, the organization was a joke.
The world’s best hope for managing future, more dangerous outbreaks is if they emerge in an open, transparent country that can use its own institutions or invite bilateral cooperation in order to control the infection. This would make the WHO’s uselessness moot. Unfortunately, for various reasons, most new viruses tend to emerge in two places: China and Africa.
Further reading: is the bromance over between China and Dr Tedros?
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