Sovereignty, what does it mean to you? According to Dictonary.com, it means having supreme power or authority, or a sovereign or independent state, community, or political unit. Why is this an important question right now, you may ask? Some might have seen many ancillary news sources, political pundits, or social media posts stating that the US was giving its sovereignty away to the World Health Organization (WHO). Why would the claim be made about giving away sovereignty? Is the US genuinely giving away its self-governance? Should we be concerned?
To begin, why is this subject even being brought up? The WHO is meeting this week, May 22nd through the 28th, to discuss, among many other items, agenda item 16.2, International Health Regulations (IHR) treaty on “Strengthening WHO preparedness for and response to health emergencies“. In January, the Biden administration submitted an amendment that brought this conversation about giving away sovereignty. In a letter from Loyce Pace, the Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs of the US Health and Human Services, she writes on behalf of 40 member states. The letter submitted amendments to address “specific issues, challenges, or gaps that are crucial to their effective implementation”. She then uses the hot button words, guaranteed to get the conservatives upset and the leftists on board, “The importance of equity and equitable access to medical countermeasures and the negative impacts of misinformation and disinformation related to the pandemic.”
Now that everyone is sufficiently riled up, what do the amendments actually say? It changes articles 9 and 10 to allow the WHO to not consult with a “state party” that has a declared health emergency to share information they have with other state parties. It requires a state party to comply with sharing information regardless of the state’s views. It also states, “Failure by the State Party to accept the offer of collaboration shall constitute rejection for the purposes of sharing available information with States Parties….” That, unfortunately, is not everything. Section 12 gives the Director-General (currently Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia) the ability to declare a health emergency in any country without the agreement of the state party. The amendments to the treaty state that if a state party refuses the provided assistance from the WHO, they must provide “its rationale for the denial…”
The IHR is considered binding international law, but it does not establish a punishment for refusal to comply. Still, it does grant increased powers to the WHO and its Director-General to declare health emergencies and provide assistance without the agreement of the state party. The issue specifically comes down to this question: Is the US, and the other 194 member countries, giving away sovereignty when this amendment passes? Let’s be honest with ourselves, with the US and more than 40 supporting nations, including the UK, the EU, Australia, and Canada, it’s going to pass. I would argue that a state party’s ability to refuse without penalty, only a justification statement, would not mean a country is giving away sovereignty. However, said country should never be in that position. Nevertheless, Dr. Peter Breggin takes a different viewpoint on the matter. He claims that “Ultimate control over America’s healthcare system, and hence its national sovereignty, will be delivered for a vote to the World Health Organization’s governing legislative body…” I’m afraid I have to disagree with the specific point that the healthcare system somehow equates to national sovereignty. I agree with Marc Abear’s point in a letter to the Lacondia Daily Sun, where he states, “Taxation, the ability to levy taxes, is a part of national sovereignty. When a nation gives up the right to set its own tax rates, it loses control of its economy. It loses the policy-setting discretion implicit in controlling its own spending. It gives up most of its sovereignty.”
To determine if I believe we should be concerned is much more nuanced. In relation, specifically, to the WHO IHR 2005 amendments proposed by the US, the answer is simple. We should be no more concerned after it passes than before and should not lose any sleep over it. I mean, what’s the worst they can do, kick us out of the WHO? The generally concerning part of the treaty amendments is that it directs the creation of a compliance committee in each state party. Even without the very suspicious name, the WHO would be able to direct countries to make another group of government officials to control healthcare. The committee’s name makes me think there is something down the road being planned, and we don’t need any more government bureaucracy attempting to control our private lives. It isn’t the treaty specifically that I would be overly concerned about; it is the fact that, yet again, the current administration is trying to give US power and treasure to another global entity. Former President Trump withdrew us from the WHO because of the favor granted to the Chinese during the WuFlu outbreak. The US funding 50% of the WHO was another prominent reason. I believe too many people are using the “sovereignty” word to get people worked up because we all know that fear sells after the last two years. However, we should still be aware of what’s happening. It is still not acceptable and needs to be reversed immediately. This shows precisely why we need a liberty-minded person in the Oval Office, instead of someone willing to give away what makes America the great country our founders created.
In the end, two social media posts said everything very simply. As Clandestine put it, “I hope they go ahead and do it. So we have it signed in ink, of all those who agreed to impede the sovereignty of every single human on the planet. That way, we are much more justified when we put them to death for their crimes.” Likewise, Catturd’s sentiments were equally poignant, “The reason I’m not worried about the WHO is because I’ll never do anything they say – just like I didn’t participate in COVID hysteria. You have constitutional guaranteed rights and Biden can’t sign them away.”