Published: 12:02, June 14, 2023 | Updated: 12:02, June 14, 2023
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UNESCO move shows Washington's arrogance
By China Daily

For years the United States has been the world's sole superpower. This has spoiled politicians in Washington. They take it for granted that it is an unquestionable prerogative of the US that it should have an absolute say in United Nations organizations simply because of that status.

Being the world's largest economy, the US is also the biggest funder of the organizations. This is regarded by the politicians in Washington as a leverage to ensure the organizations are pliable to the US' diktats.

That is why the US has withdrawn from UNESCO, twice, as well as the UN Human Rights Council and the World Health Organization when it has taken umbrage with them.

Similarly, it has also quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the Paris Agreement, although it has now rejoined the latter.

With such a mindset the politicians in Washington refuse to accept that the world is becoming increasingly multipolarized, and it is natural and fair for emerging countries to have a greater say in global affairs and demand a fairer world order.

It is not fair for the US to have the absolute say over global affairs in UN organizations, where international affairs of concern to all countries should be decided by vote. Countries, small or big, have equal status in the UN and its organizations.

But Washington remains stubbornly willful as shown by the announcement of UNESCO that the US plans to rejoin the UN cultural and scientific agency. That decision has reportedly been motivated by concerns that China is filling the gap left by the US in UNESCO.

This is the second time the US will rejoin the organization having withdrawn in a fit of pique. In 1984, the US quit, citing mismanagement and an anti-US bias. Having rejoined in 2003, the Donald Trump administration again withdrew the US from the organization in 2017 because Palestine was included by vote as a member.

To be frank, the presence of the US in UNESCO and other UN organizations is important for concerted global efforts to address challenges of great concern to the future of humanity.

But whether the US will play a positive role in the agency remains a conjecture. If, as its official says, its return is just for regaining its own influence against that of China in the organization, the US will likely just be a troublemaker.

China's ambassador to the agency has expressed the hope the move means that Washington is serious about multilateralism. He said that being a member of an international organization is a serious issue, and it is hoped that the return of the US this time means it acknowledges the mission and the goals of the organization.

Other members of the agency share that hope.