Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd

It's a sad state of affairs when the former prime minister of one of America's closest allies, rips Donald Trump's "lunatic" decision to cut funding for the World Health Organization and scapegoat it for his own domestic failings.

Kevin Rudd, Australia's leader from 2007 to 2010, called on Germany, France, the European Union, Japan, Canada and the UK to restore the "funding gap created by the lunatic decision by Mr. Trump to axe America's financial contributions to WHO."

The Economist invited Rudd, now president of the Asia Policy Institute in New York, to submit an essay as part of its series on state of the world following the COVID-19 crisis.

In it, he faulted Trump and his "America First" battle cry for abandoning America's global leadership for the first time since 1945.

Normally, America would have managed the global COVID-19 crisis, instead of punishing the only global entity empowered to build immediate public-health capacity in poor countries, where the virus is headed next, wrote Rudd in the April 15 article.

He warned that the 2020 presidential election represents the "Last Chance Saloon" for American global leadership.

If Trump were re-elected, it would "further entrench his nativist, screw-the-rest-of-the-word approach where it's everyone for themselves—a new international law of the jungle.

"National borders would become tighter. Protectionism would become the global norm, rather than the exception, oblivious to the lessons of the 1930s. Global output could actual continue to shrink."

On the other hand, "If the Democrats win, they would need to marshal the domestic political will to sustain a new, pragmatic, Rooseveltian internationalism.

"They would need to re-convince the American public of the enduring lessons of Versailles and Pearl Harbor: that national interests are enhanced, not undermined, by leading an effective multilateral system," wrote Rudd.

The Australian advised a president Biden to work closely with America's G20 partners "to smash through on pandemic management, climate change, trade reform and global macroeconomic management" to protect all of us in an "increasingly anarchic world."