Keeping in view the contempt of America and perception of other nations like United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy etc against China for delaying to communicate about the outbreak of a deadly infectious disease, which has led to widespread catastrophe and disaster, the COVID 19 virus has had a unique and unexpected repercussion – a concerted effort of these countries to isolate China, which would be a setback to it’s ambition to become a Super-Power.
The US has stepped up the denunciation of China, evident from the latest outburst of US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, Keith Kratch, who declared that the Trump administration is considering a proposal to accelerate its efforts to move it’s industrial supply chains from China to other nations.
He clearly opined that the USA may consider imposing sanctions and new tariffs on China to push companies to shift outsourcing and manufacturing out of China. Experts say that a strong stance is emerging from the US and other countries, declaring that they will not depend upon the authoritarian, unaccountable and insecure government of China, with its opaque process.
In 2018, the escalation of the trade war between US-China had created a wedge, which has been driven deeper due to current developments. The US may opt to shift towards Asian countries like India with low labour costs and cordial political relationships between the leaders. Even Japan has set up a $2.2 billion fund to move its companies operations out of China.
Additionally, in order to create an atmosphere against China in the international arena, US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo had a strong outburst alleging that they had evidence showing the origin of the virus from a lab in Wuhan. This claim was immediately rebutted by China, who demanded proof backing Pompeo’s allegations.
Pompeo aggressively declared that millions of lives could be saved and the world economy downturn would have been avoided if China had been transparent and refrained from covering up the outbreak of Covid virus in Wuhan.
American president Donald Trump has already started this tirade and concerted campaign as he has directly accused China for the spread of coronavirus, as he claims China was aware of the contagious nature of the virus in January, when several thousand Chinese had died in the city of Wuhan.
To add fire to the flame, Trump is further accusing China of trying to sabotage his chances of reelection as President of the USA and also claims like Pompeo to possess evidence relating to the origin of the virus from a Wuhan lab. He was confident about his claim and disclosed that an investigation has been launched to ascertain the truth about the virus originating from Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The US president, furthering his conspiracy theories, questioned why the permission to travel out of China was given to foreign visitors but no-one was permitted to go to Beijing or other Chinese cities. As per US officials, 7 millions foreign nationals were permitted to leave Wuhan city through various flights, who were either infected or became virus carriers, thereby spreading it in at least 175 out of 195 countries which are in the list shared by the World Health Organisation.
While sharpening his attack on China, Trump has bitterly criticised WHO for conniving with China to cover up and conceal the truth about Coronavirus, suppressing the facts and acting like a PR agency for China. He questioned WHO for criticising the US when it stopped the flights from China.
While Trump’s agenda towards China and Chinese isolation might have reasons beneficial to the US and his political standing within the US, the cascading impact on the world could be harmful, specifically his criticism toward the WHO.
The Trump administration has topped the list of donor nations across the world to the WHO, providing financial aid of $400-500 million (it was $107-119 million during the last decade).
In comparison to the United States, China has made a contribution of $57.4 million only whereas others include the UK ($21.9 million), Germany ($29.1 million), France ($21.2 million), Japan($41 million), Italy ($15.8 million) etc.
The US withdrawal may put a question mark on the survival of WHO and the work it does across the world, specifically in developing nations.
Three independent agencies from the US, United Kingdom and Germany have filed suits against China and demanded billions of dollars as damages from China, caused due to the outbreak of the virus.
Australian Prime minister, Scott Morrison favours an inquiry to ascertain the truth about the origin of the virus, though he does not have any evidence about its origin from Wuhan lab in China.
Not one to take things lying down, in retaliation, China has hit back ferociously against Trump and threatened to send the US to hell during this crisis by banning export of medical supplies. China maintains that it did not delay to communicate the information about the outbreak of Coronavirus and kept WHO completely updated, who in turn took proper measures to inform the world. It has disclosed that the origin of the virus was related to bats and described Trump allegations as baseless.
As cases in America continue to rise, and it tops the list of nations with most infected and losing maximum numbers of its citizens, Trump outbursts seem to convey his worries about the 2020 presidential polls, as his bid to get re-elected may be hampered due to his government’s failure to tackle the corona virus and save millions of lives.
Analysts opine that Democrat candidate, Joe Biden, a former deputy of Barack Obama may take Trump to task during the election campaign- strongly working on Trump’s handling of the current crisis and his constant efforts to shift the blame on China to hide his failures.
Joe Biden, a worthy candidate in his own standing, emerging strong among the Democrats post the withdrawal of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Trump’s twin attack on China and WHO may get flipped in the coming months as he faces another serious challenge of managing the US economy, on the verge of facing another Great Recession. Trump has already announced a relief package of $17.6 trillion and more than 21 million jobless persons have applied for financial benefits, which may lead to a decline of 24 percent in the GDP, even though recovery is being predicted by experts by the end of this year.
As per the US Bureau of Labour, the United States may have GDP 95,352 billion in 2021 adversely affected by Covid19. China is expected to start recovery by the end of this year which can be attributed to its early control of the virus, even as the US and other nations struggle to meet the expectations of their citizens.
It is clear that if Trump succeeds in convincing his voters about the conspiracy theory of blaming China for the spread of the virus, it will prove to be a blessing in disguise for him, as the focus would shift from the mess created in managing this healthcare crisis towards retaliation against China. However, if the voters can grasp the reality, he is poised to face one of the toughest challenges of his career, as his presidency is bound to be at stake.
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