USA — the Walk Away Government

Jerry Grey
9 min readJul 30, 2020

As an Australian, living in China, I read the news back in May that Victoria, one of the states of Australia, has signed a deal with China to be part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). My first thought was that this is a great move and would be warmly welcomed by the Australian Federal Government but suddenly, I started to see international headlines which didn’t add up. The USA threatened that its entire relationship with Australia would be put at risk by this deal. Australia has a lot of business with China, a lot! In fact, it’s so much that the next 5 countries: Japan; Korea; USA; India and NZ, with a combined total of $130bn do not take as much from Australia as China ($134bn). So, it made great sense to me that Victoria would lead and the rest of the country might follow. Until I saw that Mike Pompeo had threatened Australia with “walking away” from their relationships.

So, despite being a great place and full of wonderful people, (including my brother) This one, relatively insignificant story in world affairs (Victoria has a population of less than 7 million people and a GDP of 445bn (2018/9)), isn’t very important in geopolitical terms. But this made me think. Mmmm, I’ve seen the US threaten this before and, just recently too.

Not only have they threatened, they’ve actually carried out their threat and actually walked away from some important things. So, I decided to have a closer look at some of the thing the US has either walked away from or refused to participate in. What I found actually staggered me…

The US makes a claim to be a world leader in many different things, but is quite loud in its defence of freedom of speech and human rights. Yet, last year the US pulled out of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). They claimed they could no longer be part of the Council because of the membership of countries such as China, Venezuela and Iran. All three of which they constantly criticise yet constantly block observers from visiting because a visit to the region would “legitimise” the government they don’t like. So, it seems, in the American way, Hong Kongers may be unlawfully arrested, Uyghurs are allowed to be persecuted, it’s ok to oppress Iranians and Venezuelans can be tortured because: a visit to see if these allegations (made by the US), are actually true, can’t happen. The politics are too important. So, it begs the question: If the USA are prepared to walk away from the Human Rights Commission and refuse to help fund it, because they don’t like the politics, are they really the best people to listen to in matters pertaining to human rights? Interestingly, the US are still the loudest voice in opposition to the UN visiting Xinjiang after an open invitation has been issued by the Chinese government — Why?

I have a particular interest in the Sanctions against Xinjiang, because I’ve been there several times, I recently discovered that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of reporters writing about “atrocities” in Xinjiang and yet, not one of the reporters has actually visited the region. All the information they have comes from three sources: Adrian Zenz, this man is a religious zealot who has been given a mission from God to destroy the Chinese government and is obviously worth questioning closely. Another source is dissident criminals, who have left China and are now supported by the US and other governments and finally satellite photographic images taken from 1200 miles above the surface of the earth and open to all kinds of interpretation. But what fascinated me the most was that when the Senate and Congress voted on the sanctions, I checked — not one member of either party, not one single employee of the government, and, as far as I could ascertain, not one single diplomat from the USA has ever been to Xinjiang and reported back that there are any problems there. So, everything they know comes from a crazy guy, Chinese criminals who have a very good reason to tell stories that keep them in other countries and one man who analyses photographs for a living but works for an Australian organisation called The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). This organisation is funded by companies which make guns, bombs, planes, tanks and other weapons — it’s certainly not in their interest to promote peaceful and harmonious integration of neighbours in a place so remote that few people visit. I have to ask — Why?

In fact, there is an underlying reason why the USA pulled out of UNHRC, and it isn’t all that hard to find. The UNHRC criticised the United States and was about to start an investigation into the way people are dealt with at the illegal crossings between Mexico and the US. So, in fact, despite the rhetoric about the UNHRC not meeting the “American Standards” it was the US not meeting the UNHRC standard.

Earlier this year, in a blaze of publicity, the US pulled out of and stopped funding the WHO. They said they had a reason, the WHO lied to them they said, lied about the spread of Covid19, they said and lied about the Taiwanese government’s warning about human-to-human transmission, they said. Except that we know, we knew then and it’s been proven since, that the WHO didn’t lie at all and Taiwan didn’t warn. So — Why?

The latest news is that the COVID19 problems now besetting the USA didn’t come from China at all, the United States’ own CDC has indicated that their problems came from Europe. So, quitting and leaving the WHO was, at best, premature, possibly a mistake and at worst, an act meant to destabilise the only organisation in the world that could coordinate pandemic efforts in a global way — Why?

What they didn’t say, and strangely the WHO hasn’t raised it, is that they conveniently neglected to pay their fees last year and pulled out without paying their fees this year. This information can be found on the WHO funding site. A very difficult time for the WHO to manage a global pandemic and find its largest donor not only pulling out but leaving them with debts to cover from a previous year. Luckily, China stepped in and covered the costs.

A few weeks ago, the US imposed sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC). Over 120 countries actually support the ICC but the US isn’t one of them. The job of the ICC is to investigate and prosecute war criminals. They have some very famous cases in their past and the US has supported the prosecution of many of them. However, when the ICC asked the US for assistance in investigating allegations of war crimes against some American service personnel in Iraq, the US didn’t just say no, they placed sanctions on the relevant people who were involved in the investigation meaning that, not only could they not enter the USA to investigate, anyone who spoke to these people from the USA could be guilty of offences under National Security Laws — Why?

Whilst we’re on the subject of National Security Laws, let’s take a look at what recently happened in Hong Kong. It’s well known that Mike Pompeo has met with some activists from Hong Kong, Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, Republican Senators amongst others have recently been in HK providing support to the demonstrators there and the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED, a thinly disguised CIA funding operation) has been funding people involved in the riots. So, when China, quite rightly invoked article 23 of the Basic Law, as agreed by the PRC and British Governments in 1997, and created a, much needed, National Security Law which gave HK the legal rights that the USA, the UK and probably every other country in the world already has, the USA imposed Sanctions.

We can all agree, that a leading light, a beacon of human rights, a country with an unblemished record of human rights, could, and should take action against another country which breaches those human rights. But, there’s no evidence at all that China has breached any human rights and, as we’ve already discussed, the USA isn’t part of the UNCHR, it isn’t part of any international courts and it isn’t a leading light in human rights, as proven by the demonstrations in the USA which continue night after night and day after day. So, it begs the question of the USA — Why?

There are some disputes in the South China Sea, the disputes are between China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and others. There is a court which arbitrates decisions in the Seas, the United Nations Conventions on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS). It started in 1974 and the US was involved in the commencement but since 1994 has not ratified, funded, taken part in or adhered to any of the decisions UNCLOS has made. So, when China has a dispute with its neighbours, it’s fair that an arbitration between two parties gets involved. Now China has some disputes with a neighbour and those disputes have been taken to UNCLOS, china hasn’t won them all, but it hasn’t lost them all either. It’s currently negotiating with its neighbours, in particular, the Philippines where a very good relationship exists and Vietnam, where similar ideologies cause the two neighbours to bicker, but not actually fight (at least not in the last generation). Suddenly, the United States has called upon its friends the UK and Australia to join them in the South CHINA Sea, 10,000km, or more, from home to “help the world” in a minor dispute between two neighbours by sending fleets of over 60 warships, planes, helicopters and submarines. This is a dispute that the US has clearly signalled to the world that it shouldn’t be part of by walking away from UNCLOS and refusing to accept any of their decisions — except where China is concerned.

In fact, during the debate over whether or not UNCLOS should be accepted or not, the USA made a very interesting point in Senate hearings and recorded in its documents (The Law of the Sea Convention (Treaty Doc. 103–39): The U.S. National Security and Strategic Imperatives for Ratification), that any international agreements would impinge on America’s National Security. So, it begs the question again, the US has walked away from an organisation that might arbitrate on any disputes, yet still send warships into a region to support a decision currently being negotiated by the parties involved — Why?

Looking at a wider picture, the world has some undeniable environmental problems and in 2015 during a conference in Paris, 196 countries signed an agreement to try to solve and take steps to help the world recover from these problems. Just this week the US have announced they are walking away from the agreement — Why?

In the same week the US administration, despite opposition from both political parties has announced that it will withdraw troops from Germany. Troops have been stationed there since the end of the Second World War and are an integral part of the European defence strategy. Germany didn’t ask for the troops to be removed and the impact on the local economy will be hard. Given that The US lawmakers didn’t want this, the local population didn’t want this and NATO don’t want this, it begs the question — Why?

There is a worldwide organisation headed up by the United Nations called The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Its goal is to sponsor world peace, advance science and culture and eradicate poverty. It would be very hard to find a more noble set of causes and it would be hard to find a country that wouldn’t support such a set of goals. In fact, there are 193 member countries and 11 other Associate Members but, since 2018, the United States is not among them after walking away — Why?

In summary, the USA has Sanctions against China, specifically in relation to both HK and Xinjiang. It also has sanctions again North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, The Ivory Coast, the Balkans, Belarus, Burundi, Iraq, Libya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Myanmar and, of course Cuba. What many people don’t know, because, of course everyone knows that the USA has sanctions against Huawei, is that they also have sanctions against 27 other Chinese companies and many individuals who are connected to Xinjiang business or government. Doing business with the companies, or the people named by Pompeo’s department, is illegal in the USA!

The last few years have seen the United States refuse to ratify UNCLOS, walk away from The Paris Agreement, the WHO, the Iran Nuclear Deal, The Intermediate Range Nuclear Treaty with Russia, The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a Trans- Pacific Trade Deal, A South Korean Trade Deal, UNESCO, the UNHRC and now its NATO obligations in Germany. They have also threatened to pull out of the World Trade Organisation and NATO, two of the world’s most important organisations.

Seems to me, the USA is not a government to get on the wrong side of in a dispute, they don’t play by the same rules and the rules only apply if they’re winning, or if they write them. When they aren’t winning, they resort, like children in a schoolyard, to bullying tactics, taking their bat and ball and going home or starting a new game that only their sycophant friends are allowed to join in.



Jerry Grey

I’m British born Australian living in Guangdong and have an MA in Cross Cultural Change Management. I write mostly positively about my China experiences