COVID-19 is another gift from the Chinese Communist Party

Many of the world’s recent pandemics have been traced to China: the Asian Flu in 1956, the Hong Kong Flu in 1968, SARS in 2002, and the Swine Flu in 2009. Now COVID-19 is another gift from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

COVID-19 is believed to have originated at a wet market in Wuhan, China. Wet markets are a cross between a zoo and a slaughterhouse. They put people in constant contact with both live and dead animals, including illegal wildlife. That makes it easy for diseases to be transmitted to humans.

According to a study published by the University of Southampton in England, if CCP authorities had disclosed the outbreak of the COVID 19 virus three weeks earlier, the number of coronavirus cases could have been reduced by up to 95 percent, thereby mitigating the global public health crisis.

A timeline of the early weeks of the outbreak developed by the American news website Axios shows a cover up by CCP officials. This allowed the virus to spread unchecked in Wuhan for weeks, including among the five million city residents who left going to all points of the compass without being screened, leading to a national epidemic, and inevitably to its global spread.

That should come as no surprise. CCP officials prioritize stability – even if it means suppressing information the public needs to know and threatening public health.

CCP leadership covered up the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak for over a month after it emerged in 2002. Even as the virus spread CCP officials continued to undercount cases and delayed reporting information. They did not alert the World Health Organization until February 2003.

United States National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said China’s cover up “probably cost the world community two months to respond,” exacerbating the pandemic. As the current outbreak has shown, an infectious disease that starts in one part of the world can spread to others in virtually no time.

So it came as no surprise that on March 17 the CCP said it would expel journalists from The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the three American outlets, plus Voice of America and Time Magazine, would be designated as “foreign missions” and must report information about their staff, finance, operations and real estate in China.

The CCP’s aggressive and highly centralized propaganda machine continues to sow doubt about COVID 19′s origin. Zhao Lijian a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “It might be the U.S. Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese diplomats are pushing the narrative that China’s response bought precious time for and made important contributions to other countries’ epidemic prevention and control. They claim China is ready to share its experience and research with countries where the disease is spreading as well as to export face masks, pharmaceutical products, and other medical supplies for which it is the dominant global supplier.

If China decided to ban such exports to the United States, the state-run news agency Xinhua noted, the United States would be “plunged into a mighty sea of coronavirus.” Last year, prominent Chinese economist Li Daokui suggested curtailing active pharmaceutical ingredient exports to the United States as a countermeasure in the trade war. His comments validated those made by Gary Cohn, former chief economic advisor to President Trump: “If you’re the Chinese and you want to… destroy us, just stop sending us antibiotics.”

Having made much of the developed world dependent on China, and because of the country’s economic and military power, the CCP will likely avoid censure or sanctions for its role in the pandemic.

Perhaps it is time to get Greta Thunberg on the case to call out the CCP, hold them responsible for COVID-19 and raise the issue of decoupling the West from China.

Selling America’s security to China

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or Covid-19, a public health emergency of global concern. The outbreak should also prompt U.S. leaders to ask some hard questions about pharmaceutical companies’ practice of outsourcing their manufacturing to China.

Coronaviruses infect animal cells. They circulate among animals, and some are known to infect humans. This one was first detected in the City of Wuhan in the “People’s Republic of China.”

It has since spread around the world. The long-term effects of the outbreak are unknown, but it has already brought devastating consequences for individuals, families, communities, and businesses far beyond China.

In addition to the immeasurable social and health impact, the spread of the virus has already affected business and economic activity, global financial markets and supply chains. A global recession is imminent.

The Chinese government has leverage over America’s economy and public health, as it has captured critical portions of global supply chains, including pharmaceutical drugs and medical equipment, without firing a shot.

According to the WHO, the Chinese knew of the “Wuhan virus” as early as Dec. 8, 2019. Yet disclosure to the WHO did not take place until around Jan. 11, 2020. This is typical when dealing with the Chinese government.

In 2002 a coronavirus had emerged in a similar wet market – where live animals are slaughtered and sold for human consumption – in Southern China. When the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak hit in 2003, the Communist Party again concealed it from the Chinese people and the world until it was a full-blown epidemic.

The Wuhan market is also a wet market. These wild animals are believed to have tonic properties and are used for body- building, sexual enhancement, and fighting disease.

The United States depends on China for pharmaceutical products. A Department of Commerce study found that over 90 percent of all antibiotics in the United States come from China.

While depending on China for thousands of ingredients and raw materials for medicine is a security issue, Americans should also be concerned about the safety and efficacy of Chinese-made pharmaceuticals. As recently as the summer of 2018, one of China’s domestic vaccine makers sold at least 250,000 substandard doses for diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough. This instance was just the latest in a slew of scandals caused by low-quality Chinese drug products.

The time is long past to press pharmaceutical companies to bring manufacturing back to the United States. A nation’s first priority is to protect itself. Public health is as essential as military preparedness and economic health. Government must intervene to protect industries that are deemed vital to national security, such as telecommunications, aerospace, and yes, pharmaceuticals. Health care is a non-discretionary good.

The Chinese virus epidemic is a wake-up call that should make Americans ask some hard questions. How is national security defined? Does it only apply to military security or does it encompass industries that produce the technologies needed to ensure that the country remains economically competitive? Does domestic ownership make a difference in a world where national borders are receding in importance?

And when it comes to pharmaceuticals, can the United States survive without a safe, reliable supply? Does it make sense to depend upon foreign governments and companies to supply these products? What if China decides to stop exporting drugs to America?

Is the U.S. government really powerless to stop pharmaceutical companies from outsourcing drug manufacturing to save money and increase profits? The cold reality is that the government is loath to confront China because multinational corporations and Wall Street are the winners in a global system that has seen America hand China its industrial base – good jobs, intellectual property and global standing in exchange for alleged market access and cheap labor.

Failure to address these questions makes the ordinary American wonder if our current crop of political leaders could run a bath.

Afghanistan: another mission failure

More than 18 years since President George W. Bush ordered bombing in response to the 9/11 attacks, America’s “forever war” in Afghanistan may finally be nearing an end. The United States signed a dicey deal with the Taliban on February 29 amid upbeat rhetoric to end the war and lead to the withdrawal of American forces.

The peace is fragile. To make it work, the Taliban and the Afghan government negotiate the political terms for ending the war and sharing power.

Afghanistan is but one of a string of dicey foreign entanglements that mark U.S. policy since the end of the Cold War America’s longest war came at a tremendous cost of blood and treasure. By the numbers, it claimed the lives of more than 2,300 American soldiers, and 20,000 more have been injured. Tens of thousands of Afghans have been killed. It has cost U.S. taxpayers $2 trillion, according to Brown University’s Cost of War Project.

Since the disappearance of the existential threat of a nuclear-armed Soviet Union in 1991, the United States has indulged a missionary calling to remake the world in its image. It has ranged far and wide to export American values: Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and the beat goes on.

In the decades before the Cold War ended, the United States used its military and economic power to defend American interests at home and abroad. America’s desire to remake the world in its image was held in check by the existence of a powerful geopolitical rival: The Soviet Union.

When the fall of the Berlin Wall ended the Cold War, the American political establishment believed it had prevailed in a cosmic struggle with communism. The United States could bask in its new role as the world’s sole superpower. It was perched at the pinnacle of power.

History had validated American-style liberal democratic capitalism. Political scientist Francis Fukuyama argued that humanity had reached its final stage: liberal capitalist democracy. The world was witnessing the End of History. He predicted that unipolar American influence would bring lasting world peace. The U.S. had no major existential threats and everything seemed possible. The future looked bright.

This was a seismic event, yet there was no debate about America’s role in world affairs. Instead, the United States under three presidents chose to pursue a policy of promoting American values as universal values, what some have described as “missionary work” or, alternatively, “nation building” – using American power to reshape domestic institutions in foreign lands, regardless of whether American interests were at stake.

This foreign policy shift was embraced by both political parties. The post-Cold War presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama wandered into well-intentioned but clueless adventures in nation building, most of which have turned out badly. Elites had their heads up their hindquarters.

But it was in Afghanistan and Iraq that the notion of nation building became the ultimate policy objective. The Bush crowd, with extravagant hubris and ignorant of local conditions, thought that such transformations were feasible with limited resources. The United States failed to achieve a decisive victory in either war.

It is ironic that because the United States is so powerful and intrinsically secure, it has the freedom to wander around the world intruding in various places. The outcomes don’t have a decisive impact on American security, even if things go as badly as in the Vietnam debacle.

But the emergence of China as a global superpower and the reemergence of Russia have put an end to that post-Cold War world. Truth be told, the United States no longer has the power to make unilateral changes in other political cultures.

On the other hand, Americans can take comfort in the German statesman Otto Bismarck’s reputed comment that “There appears to be a special providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.” Hopefully that is true.