The virus that slowed the war has taken lives, destroyed markets, smashed several ideologies and mindsets. The global pandemic has shaken and called into question so many relationships and structures and we are getting into a situation that begs the questions what happens when this crisis recedes. I doubt things will get calmer, much less go back to normal.
Since the crisis hit America, much of the mainstream media has heaped blame and accusation on the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. But, this finger pointing would not be enough to dissuade a small but, I suspect, growing faction of people who have developed much more antipathy towards China. The virus was called the Wuhan virus by much of the mainstream media until suddenly in March 2020; it was regarded as a racist slur. This is curious considering that terms such as Zika or Ebola virus were not considered racist. Even though they were named because of the region of origin. The WHO has stated the appropriate appellation should be COVID-19. This annotation leads to the question “why 19 and not 20?” We will have on the WHO and appropriateness later. Its suffix indicates the outbreak was in 2019. But who knew about it in 2019 and why was this not well known?
In 2019, two Chinese doctors found patients had SARS-like symptoms and were not responding to the regular treatment leading to a very quick and high rate of fatalities. The two doctors’ names were Dr. Ai Fen and Dr. Li Wenliang. Both doctors were both suppressed and harassed by the Chinese authorities but their problems only got worse. Dr. Li Wenliang is now dead and Dr. Ai Fen is now missing. Whereabouts unknown and Chinese officials stating they have never heard of here. If you think this troubling, it only gets worse. Most countries, including the US, were not informed on this development. I am not sure why countries did not take action regardless. Intelligence agencies should have had information warning of the danger of the virus. In December, Twitter had videos showing the deaths caused by the virus and the precautions taken against by the Chinese government. So, they could not have been a total surprise. However, people were still unsure or taken unawares.
In January, several personalities called attention to the alarming implications and effects of the virus. People such as Steve Bannon, Mike Cernovich, and Scott Adams called for a moratorium of flights and travel. Cernovich even went as far as saying that preparations should be made for massive disruptions of global supply chains of food, medicine and other essential needs. Many mainstream media pundits dismissed them as right-wing extremists spreading alarmist conspiracy theories but how often were they wrong? They have been right on trade, politics, media and hardly have been wrong on issues. But, strangely enough even Trump did not heed their warnings early. So, on January 29th, Trump convened a taskforce on the threat and by the end of January had placed restrictions on travel to ‘China and other countries. The rest is history.
What we had in March included accusations by Chinese officials that the US military were behind the spread of the virus. This was strange and some mainstream outlets did not question this accusation. Trump, in his Trumpian fashion, hit back and called the virus “ The Chinese Virus.” Things have not gotten better as many cities in the United States have seen high rates from the virus and major supply shortages. The US has taken a massive hit and unemployment rates have hit levels never seen before.
But what happens next comes with anticipation and trepidation. The Chinese government has withheld information and resources for itself in a global crisis. As much as many big players and Chinese representatives are coming out to support people there is a growing suspicion of the Chinese and their involvement with the spread of the disease. The WHO praises China but many people think that considering the antecedents this praise is unwarranted. Also, the WHO has given assurance that proved untrue since the start of the crisis. It even stated that face masks were not needed for regular people and only healthcare workers were only in need of them. This advice has been proved inaccurate and was even counter common sense from the start. Combining all these actions leads me to believe that would be retaliation in the near future.
I expect a renewed escalation of the trade war and probably sanctions against China not just from the US, but also from other countries such as Italy. Many US companies would have to reconsider their relationship with China and most likely bring the production back to the US or consider countries such as India and Vietnam for deep partnership. The tensions among nations would expectedly rise, considering that death toll that results could have been reduced if not avoided.
Over decades there has been rising concerns about China’s influence and acts of espionage against the United States. Even many media companies and personalities either kowtow to China’s demands or avoid mentioning them. These incidents occur not just in news reporting but other media such as sports. The increase of the infiltration into academia and the spying facilitated by American academics has seen arrests in high-profile institutions such as Harvard. More politicians and media personalities open accuse corporations of supporting or at the very least being very accommodating to Chinese interests. This may eventually lead to a cold war that would see the relationship between the US and China strained to a heightened degree.
The global pandemic has hurt countries such as Iran and Yemen who are still undergoing sanctions despite the pandemic. We are seeing other countries getting more hostile and this trend would likely reach a boiling point. China may have to find a way for some countries to get redress against it. Many countries see China as a threat and soon there may be more antagonistic attitudes towards the nation. China holds a lot of US debt but even that is not immune from “haircuts” or non-payment. Consider this a form of reparation that is common with the ending of wars. These and other things are just concerns of mine and being a pedestrian, I am sure there are many things I have misunderstood in the global village. However, even in this global village one can easily become very lonely.