The UPU accord is what makes it possible for snail mail and packages to seamlessly cross the globe, integrated with the postal systems of 192 countries -- just about all the countries there are. It's an amazing survivor of global upheaval -- and something the United States has been in on since its origins. From Wikipedia:
The UPU set the rules for international mail: a uniform rate to send a letter anywhere in the world; foreign mail should receive equal treatment with domestic mail; and each country's postal system would retain payments it took in for international postage.
It's a truism that trade and travel were more globalized before World War I than until the 1990s. But through carnage and upheaval, the birth and death of nations, and vast technological changes, the UPU survived the 20th century; postal systems continued to deliver the mail. In the late 1940s, the UPU became part of the United Nations.
So, why is the Trump administration threatening to throw us back into the mid-1800s, forced to negotiate separate individual agreements with every country in the world if commerce and communication by mail are to continue? Yes, there are inequities in the system as it has evolved. The current rates for packages were set in 1969 when China was a developing country, not an e-commerce powerhouse. Mail from China and many other countries is cheaper than the equivalent rates shippers in the United States pay.
But grown up countries don't threaten to take their marbles, kick over the game, and go home when they think fairness requires renegotiation of the rules. That's especially true when the game benefits even the players who are protesting unfairness.
Peter Yeo of the UN Foundation writing at The Hill explains:
Anticipated harms from withdrawal would include undermining the international system through which the U.S. monitors packages suspected of bringing opioids into the country and might impede mailings of absentee ballots to U.S. citizens voting from abroad. In short -- more idiotic smashing of what doesn't need to be broken.
Nowadays, we more often collect stamps in our passports than from mailed letters. (And under the Schengen system, Europeans have foregone even the passport stamps.) But those international postal stamps played (and still play) a good role in alerting isolated Americans to the existence of a big world.
Mr. Trump behaves like a petulant infant as a grown man -- was he ever capable of wide-eyed wonder at the expanse of the world as child? Seems unlikely.
Okay, I'll revert to not thinking about Trump. Better to work to shove him off the stage.
UPDATE: On September 25 U.S. negotiators reached a deal to keep the UPU intact, while raising rates for delivery of Chinese packages. Why are I surprised when a U.S. trade deal actually is finalized? There haven't been many under this bombastic administration.