Politicizing virus origin tracing is just another turning point in the downward spiral of US hegemony

By Ye Zhu (People's Daily Online) 16:05, September 09, 2021

Just how poorly the US has fared in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is beyond anyone’s expectations, and yet it is really a common phenomenon in the US. When it comes to the US’ anti-pandemic performance, the country has adopted the same hegemonic approach that it has taken in international politics, economics, the military and in other domains.

A pedestrian walks past a COVID-19 mobile testing site in New York, the United States, Sept. 6, 2021. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

The US approach to turn the process of tracing the origin of the coronavirus into an act of espionage has demonstrated the country’s hegemonic control over the health sector. The US has conducted intelligence-based virus origin studies and used public opinion as a tool to disrupt normal scientific origin tracing process all in an attempt to smear China. In May, the US president ordered that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other intelligence agencies investigate the origins of the coronavirus within a period of 90 days. After 90 days of work, the US intelligence community could only release an inconclusive report. However, the US president then criticized China for “concealing important information”. The US is always able to trump up a charge against other countries as long as it is out to accuse them.

The US has attempted to marginalize the World Health Organization (WHO) and seek hegemony amid the pandemic. During the Trump administration, the US withdrew from the WHO and refused to pay money it owed the organization, making the WHO a victim of US hegemony. The current US government, while reviving support for the WHO, acted beyond the WHO framework by ordering the intelligence community to do something that should have been done by scientists. All these facts have proved that the US has treated the WHO in a selective and utilitarian manner, using the latter as a tool to maintain its hegemony while discarding it when it doesn’t suit US interests.

American attitudes toward scientific and global health issues are based on the “presumption of guilt,” and the country handles its relationship with international organizations and applies basic norms governing international relations in a selective way. The US always puts its own interests above that of all other countries and discredits and meddles in the domestic affairs of other countries. Also, as a demonstration of its hegemony, what the US did to deal with health issues is not any different from declaring wars on other countries based on fabricated evidence.

Alex Lo, a columnist with the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, said in an article that the obsession of American politicians, including no fewer than two presidents, with the Wuhan “lab leak” origin theory of the COVID-19 pandemic is mainly motivated by two goals, and neither of which has much to do with public health or fighting the next pandemic.

One goal has to do with a racist fear that may be called the new “yellow peril” and is combined with America’s perennial “communist” paranoia. The other is simply the natural reflex of politicians to blame others, while never taking any responsibility themselves, for disasters of their own making. The latter impulse is, for example, amply and shamefully demonstrated by US President Joe Biden in his blaming of the Afghan government and army for the fall of Kabul, rather than reflecting on his own incompetence, Lo wrote.

The US always imposes American democratic values and human rights on other countries. However, in the midst of a health crisis, the US itself has become a major loser in the fight against COVID-19, as well as a major spreader of the coronavirus. On Sept. 7, the number of COVID-19 cases in the US exceeded 40 million, which equals the total population of the State of California. A commentary by the New York Times said that this reflects the incompetence of the US government in controlling the pandemic. With more than 160,000 new cases a day and a total COVID-19 death toll surpassing 650,000, there are still 47 percent of Americans who are not fully vaccinated.

The US is a hoarder of COVID vaccines. To realize the target of ensuring that 70 percent of American adults could receive at least one shot by July 4, the country’s Independence Day, the US continued to hoard vaccines, which in the end resulted in millions of doses of vaccines being wasted. At the same time, the vaccination rate had only reached 10 percent in 70 countries and regions around the world, and even less than 1 percent in 12 countries. A commentary by the Washington Post has pointed out that the greatest failure of the US in the COVID fight is that it only cared about the COVID-19 situation within its own borders, without offering any substantial aid to other countries in containing the virus.

The US labels itself as a lecturer on human rights, but its true hegemonic nature has already been seen for what it is. US media have said that the US started to undergo a decline after its invasion of Iraq in 2003. Today, the fall of Kabul has sounded the death knell for US hegemony. Politicizing the origin tracing of the coronavirus is just another turning point in the downward spiral of US hegemony.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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