On March 30, 2001, US President George W. Bush announced the United States was leaving the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Eventually, this move signalized the regime’s end. On July 7, 2020, President Donald Trump notified the United Nations that the US was leaving the World Health Organization during the COVID-19 epidemic (by then, with more than 10 million infections worldwide, 3 million-plus in the US). The move could further weaken an organization under fire since the announcement of an international health emergency earlier that year on January 30. Within days, the WHO launched an independent investigation on its handling of the epidemic, after admitting delays in releasing critical data and reviewing the possibility of airborne contagion. Across the two decades that set apart Kyoto’s demise from a new disease from Wuhan, international relations experienced a steady institutional retreat. The zeitgeist of a new century shows a reversal of the late-1990s hopes spurred by the end of…

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