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16th June 2023 (7 Topics)

Culture shift: On the U.S.’s UNESCO re-entry

Context:

  • Recently the United States has mentioned that it is going to re-join the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

USA’s journey in UNESCO:

  • Withdrawn from UNESCO: In 2017, the Trump administration withdrew from the organisation after the Obama administration ceased funding, in 2011.
  • Trumpist ideology: The decision was followed from the Trumpist world view that the U.S. was being short-changed by major polluters such as China and India.
  • Biden’s view: Following political change, President Joseph Biden has now brought the U.S. back into the fold of funding WHO as well as re-joining the climate treaty.

Strategic interests:

  • To oppose the monopoly of China: The reason for the U.S’.s return is ostensibly ‘China’, where US’s absence had helped China gain “more influence” in setting the rules around artificial intelligence and the ensuing technological shifts.
  • In the realm of artificial intelligence (AI): China has been rapidly advancing with a larger population and a powerful surveillance state, generating vast amounts of data to fuel its machine learning systems.
  • Patents and Interests: China, along with a rising repertoire of patents and research publications, has the advantages of a much larger population and a more powerful surveillance state.

Measures to be taken:

  • Stricter policies: The US owes a significant amount of dues to UNESCO, but it is suggested that the organization should become stricter regarding countries exiting and entering for frivolous reasons.
  • Develop research potential: It is crucial for UNESCO to develop policies and research that address the challenges of a hyper-connected world.
  • Cooperation and sustainability: The global organisation must focus on the fact of cooperation and peace rather than a rivalry platform.
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