The United States Must Rejoin UNESCO to Compete with China

The United States Must Rejoin UNESCO to Compete with China

Beijing has taken advantage of America’s absence to push forward its foreign policy agenda. It’s time for Washington to fight back.

In this ongoing battle over the hearts and minds of global citizenry, Biden’s “America is back, diplomacy is back” policy must lead the United States to rejoin UNESCO. It would immediately and more effectively facilitate the global efforts to defend Ukraine’s heritage from the continued Russian destruction as the Department of State launched the $7 million “Ukraine Cultural Heritage Response Initiative” in February 2023.

At UNESCO, the United States could also be a champion of Taiwan. Washington could promote Taiwan’s technological and scientific advancement that drives the “semiconductor industry” for greater global benefits. Furthermore, the United States could endorse the island’s natural and human endowments by supporting Taiwan’s participation in UNESCO and its educational, scientific, and cultural endeavors.

After all, the tradition of investing in “hearts and minds” is as old as the American Experiment itself, in parallel with the visions of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Franklin and Jefferson are the founding champions of public educational establishments like the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia, the innovators of American political and scientific explorations, and the entrepreneurs of the cultural and social infusions that enriched the thriving republic. All things considered, UNESCO’s reentry will help the United States to restore its pioneering spirits and reestablish its power and influence in international organizations to counterbalance China and keep the world safe for democracy.

Dr. Patrick Mendis is a distinguished visiting professor of transatlantic relations at the University of Warsaw in Poland. He previously served as an American diplomat and a military professor in both Democratic and Republican administrations, and most recently a commissioner to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO at the Department of State.

Dr. Antonina Luszczykiewicz is the founding director of the Taiwan Lab Research Center at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. She is currently a Fulbright senior scholar at Indiana University-Bloomington in the United States.

Both authors served as Taiwan fellows of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China. The views expressed in this analysis neither represent the official positions of the current or past institutional affiliations nor the respective governments.

Image: Bumble Dee/Shutterstock.