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World left in shock over US sabotage of global cooperation against COVID-19

(People's Daily Online)    17:37, May 12, 2020

The US now has the largest number of confirmed cases and fatalities of COVID-19 in the world, and is the current epicenter of the pandemic. Its reluctance to promote global cooperation to tackle the lethal virus has made it a less credible and consistent partner for the international community. Experts and officials around the world have criticized the nation’s egoism amid a global pandemic, condemning its failure to protect its own people, as well as its hindering of joint global efforts to stop the virus’ spread.

(Photo/Xinhua)

According to a poll conducted by Business Insider in May, 55% of Americans now say the US government was unprepared to handle the coronavirus pandemic. Just 27% say it is doing a better job at containing the virus than other developed countries.

"The US is not helping anyone. The US isn't even helping itself, much less other countries. And, thanks to 24/7 global communication, that is visible for all the world to see," Cynthia Schneider, who was the US ambassador to the Netherlands from 1998 to 2001, told Business Insider.

US’ egoism amid global pandemic

Despite being the world’s leading power in medical technology, the US has turned a blind eye to the global crisis, sabotaging joint efforts to tackle the lethal virus. Amid swirling questions over whether the US government ignored warnings from the WHO and countries like China about the virus’ potential severity, the White House has sought to assign blame elsewhere, creating obstacles for international cooperation on pandemic control.

President Trump’s decision to cut WHO funding in April led to an outcry in the international community. Even in the US, voices criticizing the US’ egoism amid the global pandemic have become increasingly loud. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert from Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, was quoted as saying by Aljazeera that such selfish behavior is not “the type of thing you do in the middle of a pandemic.”

"Fighting the epidemic globally requires nations to unionize and act in synchrony and coordination, and the Trump administration has failed to have America activate any conventional international consortium to confront the epidemic," Jack Chow, who was a US ambassador for global HIV/AIDS during the George W. Bush administration and is a former World Health Organization assistant director-general, told Business Insider.

In addition to blaming others for its own mistakes, the US has also been taking the lead in scooping up much needed medical resources, leaving other nations, even its allies, in despair.

According to a Financial Times report in April, the US reportedly diverted a shipment of masks intended for the German police, which Andreas Geisel, the interior minister for Berlin state, called “an act of modern piracy.”

“This is no way to treat trans-Atlantic partners. Even in times of global crisis there should be no wild west methods,” noted Geisel.

Germany is not the only nation to have suffered a shortage of medical resources as a result of the US’ “modern piracy.” Jean Rottner, a doctor and president of the GrandEst regional council in France, was quoted as saying by the Guardian that US buyers waving wads of cash managed to wrest control of a consignment of masks as it was about to be dispatched to one of the worst-hit COVID-19 areas in France.

“On the tarmac, they arrive, get the cash out, so we really have to fight,” he said.

Despite other nations’ protests against these acts of selfishness from the US, President Donald Trump still criticised 3M, the world’s leading mask manufacturer, for sending masks to countries other than the US, while Mike Roman, the company’s CEO, snapped back that “stopping shipments to other nations would pose a humanitarian risk.”

"It's like one of your family members (says), 'OK, you go starve and we'll go feast on the rest of the meal. I'm just so disappointed right now. We have a great relationship with the U.S. and they pull these shenanigans? Unacceptable," said Doug Ford, Ontario’s Premier.

Unqualified to lead the world

While smearing other nations’ efforts to promote global cooperation to tackle COVID-19, the US has lagged behind in offering help to virus-stricken nations.

When the pandemic situation was at its worst in Italy, the Italian government made a direct appeal on March 23 to Defense Secretary Mark Esper for US military aid to help combat the virus. Instead of responding to the plea, the US Air Force quietly flew millions of swabs for COVID-19 testing kits from Italy between March 16 and April 6. It was not until April 10, when the pandemic in Italy had gradually eased thanks to the help of countries like China and Russia, did the White House step up and promise to help, with an emphasis on “demonstrating US leadership in the face of Chinese and Russian disinformation campaigns.”

While holding bias and harboring a grudge against China, the US is also pressuring its allies to side with it on assigning responsibility for the outbreak, as well as stopping pandemic cooperation with China. According to a Reuters report on May 8, US officials have warned Gulf Arab states that they should “consider their relationship with the United States when dealing with China.”

"The US is not there to help others. We are not a global power in this pandemic, and people will remember that," Cynthia Schneider told Business Insider. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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