World can move on together without the US

By Li Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/24 20:53:40

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at the Climate Action Summit on Monday in New York City. Photo: VCG

US President Donald Trump briefly dropped by the UN Climate Action Summit in New York on Monday. As leaders from around the world were discussing the grim situation of climate change, Trump hurried off to attend the Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom event. He stayed at the climate action summit for only 14 minutes without listening to how Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, accused the world leaders of ineffectively dealing with global warming and failing her generation.

Global warming leads to sea level rise, severe global heat waves and many other serious problems. The US still plays an important role in dealing with global warming and other international issues due to its national strength and the current global structure. But such importance has somewhat diminished because the US has given up its job. 

Now that the US has refused to cooperate with other countries, the rest of the world must think about how to deal with the problem. We are glad to see that many countries have reached a consensus on addressing climate change. For example, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement issued before the climate summit that 66 governments have committed to net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. 

The UN needs to move on in the field of climate change, with or without the US. Since Trump has snubbed the problem, countries willing to move forward should work together to fight climate change. It would be better if the US can cooperate on fighting climate change. But this does not necessarily mean other countries are unable to make progress without US participation.

The US is not willing to cooperate with other countries in other areas as well. Since Trump took office, he has withdrawn the US from several international agreements and organizations, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris Agreement, UNESCO, the Iran nuclear deal and the UN Human Rights Council. The Trump administration has shown the world how much it dislikes multilateralism.

Can the world develop without US leadership? Definitely yes. Just like the other countries, the US is a member of the global village, and it should enjoy the rights and shoulder its responsibilities as much as the other members. 

The world needs a transformation from a unipolar order to a multipolar one, and all countries should build the new order together. Countries need to properly understand the US role and strengthen their cooperation on issues that the US is not willing to participate in. This is a great challenge to make sure the world enjoys long-lasting peace.

If the US refuses to join the trend of globalization, so be it. The rest of the world can just cooperate and move forward toward a more unified world where countries care about sustainable development and each other's common interests. This is in line with China's vision of building a community with a shared future for humanity. Washington will only be isolating itself if it keeps swimming against the tide of globalization.

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