The United Nations has recognized its 75th anniversary as the post-World War II World Order, on the unstable foundations it has created.
As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon observed, multilateralism is in deep turmoil.
President Donald Trump’s first US foreign policy has seen the U.S. nose at multilateral agreements, from the Paris climate deal to the Iran nuclear deal, while China has maintained itself as a new supporter of the United Nations.
But the growing China impact comes at a price, and if Beijing spends more money to fund UN agencies such as the World Health Organization, the result would be more to say the least.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke of a groundbreaking moment facing the UN – those who built the United Nations knew the value of unity, recognizing that they had lived through the war and the earlier epidemic.
Concerns over what the US-China enmity for global stability means are present at this remote meeting of world leaders.
French President Emmanuel Macron is not hiding the need for a voice, as he said in his pre-recorded remarks that animosity between China and the US cannot leave today’s world.
That animosity has intensified as we have seen the two countries lock horns on everything from trade to technology – and President Trump has dialed rhetoric, using his platform on the world stage to train against what China calls the virus.
- Why US-China relations have reached such a low level
- Did Trump keep his promises?
With less than 40 days to go before the U.S. election, Beijing has been the center of Bashing’s campaigning for Trump. There seems to be a collective effort to repel criticism of the president’s handling of the outbreak by blaming China for exporting the virus.
Will the bipolar world that competes for US and Chinese supremacy eventually lead to military conflict? The United Nations Secretary-General has warned of another “Cold War” and is worried about what is to come.
“We are moving in a very dangerous direction,” Mr. Guterres said. “Our world cannot afford a future in which the two largest economies divide the world into one great fissure – each with its own trade and economic rules and capabilities of the Internet and artificial intelligence. The dangers of technological and economic separation will inevitably turn into geo-strategic and military divisions. We must avoid all costs.”
This public debate about the consequences of the “great crack” shows how fast the world is changing, and how diplomats are trying to stand up.
Chinese President Xi Jinping actually declared in a virtual general discussion that “China has no intention of waging a Cold War or fighting any country.”
That statement says. The presidency of Donald Trump has escalated tensions with China, sparking speculation over where all the way is.
An experienced diplomat told me on Tuesday that general discussion at the UN always looks like creative confusion.
When world leaders were happy to get together and meet in private, a real diplomacy took place. Now, it’s just confusing, this old arm sadly asked figuratively who is responsible, and no world leader has more heart than narrow selfish interest.
The UN Secretary-General noted that the pandemic had exploited the world’s injustices. People are suffering, our planet is on fire, and world leaders are being urged to see Kovid-19 as a wake-up call and a dress rehearsal for the challenges ahead.
Within an hour of Mr Guterres saying solidarity was an advantage, President Trump announced that all world leaders should follow his example and put their countries first.
If he is re-elected, his arbitrariness will be more apparent, and the United Nations will probably be further undermined by Washington.
Will US commitment to NATO also weaken? If Joe Biden is elected president, tensions between Washington and Beijing could ease, but basic American-China enmity will remain.
The world is actually changing, and now the question is how does the old multilateral order fit in – and who will run it.