Always thinking about leading the world, why can’t you even carry the flag this time?
Throughout 2020, the cumulative number of confirmed and deaths of COVID-19 in the United States has long been the highest in the world.
On January 7, the riots on Capitol Hill coincided with more than 4,000 new deaths of COVID-19 in the United States in a single day.
At a critical moment when the virus affects all mankind, as the world’s largest developed country and the most advanced medical level, the United States has not shouldered the banner of anti-pandemic and curbed the spread of the pandemic.
It has not only become the “most affected area” of the global pandemic, but also deliberately undermines the efforts of the world to fight against the pandemic together:
Even the media has revealed that “decent” politicians have done a lot of “undecent” things.
According to the World Health Organization, as of 15:00 CET on January 10, the number of confirmed cases worldwide increased by 790,456 to 88,383,771 compared with the previous day; and the number of deaths increased by 12,454 to 19,19,126.
Why is the United States so at a loss?
“Three Prides” missed a good opportunity
In the early stage of the pandemic, there was a wave of racism against Chinese and even Asians in some countries, and a few countries, including the United States, had bad beating and insulting Chinese. On February 3, 2020, an article in the Wall Street Journal claimed that China is “the real sick man of East Asia”. These ugly phenomena are partly related to the panic of the unknown virus, but they focus on the three arrogances of the West, from government to society.
The first is racial arrogance. At the beginning of the pandemic, the novel coronavirus was considered a “yellow virus”, and Asian Americans also encountered insult attacks for wearing masks.
The second is cultural arrogance. Many people in Western society attribute the pandemic in China to eating game and not emphasizing hygiene, believing that the living habits of Europeans and Americans can effectively prevent the virus.
Under the influence of these two ideas, some Western countries led by the United States packaged the virus as “Wuhan virus” and “China virus” and mocked China with the time that should have been pandemic prevention.
After the outbreak of the pandemic, some racists attacked the Chinese, and even conspiracy theorists claimed that China deliberately spread the virus.
The third is arrogance and prejudice, which is most common in the media and in thought circles. The Global Health Security Index, co-reviewed by Johns Hopkins University, The Economist and the American Nuclear Threat Initiative, ranked the United States as the most capable country to respond to infectious diseases, and China ranked only 51st.
In the early days of the outbreak of the pandemic in Wuhan, the American media focused on criticizing the inaction of Wuhan officials. Facts have proved that China’s difficult and decisive decision to lock down the city has effectively limited the spread of the virus.
However, some Western countries turned a blind eye to this and questioned the credibility of China’s data. Some politicians claimed that China “misled” Western countries. Under the influence of this prejudice, the United States is naturally unable to cooperate with China.
When opposing international cooperation
Become “politically correct”
China’s anti-pandemic achievements are the result of sincere cooperation between international organizations, friendly countries, overseas Chinese and the Chinese people.
In contrast, the United States and other Western countries not only fail to help their allies, but often seize the materials of other countries, and even compete with local governments for supplies within their own countries.
For the United States, opposing international cooperation has become a kind of “political correctness” at home. Since Trump took office in 2017, the United States has shown a clear populist tendency, emphasizing the primacy of American interests and subverting the multilateral foreign policy traditionally pursued by the United States.
Combined with the Trump administration’s previous anti-globalization policies, it is not surprising that the United States is unwilling to lead global anti-pandemic cooperation.
First of all, the United States under Trump is extremely self-serving in foreign policy, and even launches trade wars against traditional allies such as the European Union and Japan, forcing allies to pay for U.S. military expenses.
At a time when the European pandemic was fermenting, the United States unilaterally announced the suspension of flights to Europe, which caught European countries off guard. In addition, the United States has also been exposed to repeatedly seizing urgently needed medical supplies from allies, including Japanese kits, which have lost the demeanor of global leaders.
Secondly, the United States used to be an important supporter of international organizations, but in recent years, it has withdrawn from international mechanisms such as the Paris Agreement, the Iran Nuclear Agreement and UNESCO, and adopted an unprofitable utilitarian attitude towards international cooperation.
On major international mechanisms such as the World Trade Organization, the United States is facing pressure from many aspects to reform its organization, but the response is to win over its allies; some politicians in the Trump administration are trying to win over Europe and Japan to redefine trade rules and exclude China.
In April 2020, Secretary of State Pompeo joined the “argument” amid a heated debate between US President Trump and WHO Director-General Tedros.
Pompeo openly claimed that the WHO should serve the interests of the United States by taking the money of American taxpayers. Some U.S. lawmakers asked the WHO to replace Director-General Dr. Tedros, which is in line with the Trump administration’s strategy towards international organizations.
Finally, the United States under the Trump administration is used to profiting with the so-called “extreme pressure” strategy. As a “Twitter President” who is good at stirring voters, Trump himself frequently manipulated public opinion on social media, repeatedly referring to the novel coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus”, completely ignoring his previous praise for China’s anti-pandemic work.
The Trump administration’s back-of-action and discredit attitude is consistent with its repeated provocations during Sino-US economic and trade frictions, which is harmful to international mutual trust and international cooperation.
At its root, American society has entered a period of anti-globalization, and Trump has done everything to cater to voters, party politicians and anti-globalization interests.
The United States was once a major advocate of globalization, advocating the “Washington Consensus” in the economic field, demanding that developing countries remove trade barriers and open their markets; and promote its “eculine values” in the political field, requiring developing countries to abide by European and American-dominated international rules.
However, with the relative decline of the national strength of the United States, the domestic racial, rich and poor, and ideological contradictions cannot be reconciled, and the increasing populist exclusion in the United States began to appear.
The 2008 subprime mortgage crisis had a serious impact on the lives of many people in the United States. The voice of American society for stronger regulation of Wall Street financiers was unprecedented, but President Obama, who came to power under the slogan of “We Can Change”, finally failed to limit Wall Street.
The inaction of the government reinforced the anti-elite sentiment of the American people, and the “Occupy Wall Street” movement emerged in 2011.
At the same time, the identity politics of the left in the United States is fiercely confronted with racism on the right, and the politically right-leaning southern conservatives have become the vanguard of populism.
Populist activists claim that political and business elites and multinational enterprises in the big cities on the east and west coasts have handed over jobs to foreign countries, causing their people to lose their jobs.
The United States has always been full of conspiracy theorists and civil activists, who began to package “globalists” as the “enemies of the people” of the United States.
“Election as king”
Bring a new danger
Populism can sometimes be restrained by reasonable political system design.
Unfortunately, against the backdrop of intensified social contradictions and the explosion of information, the American electoral system interacts with populism, further destroying the continuity of American policy and limiting the ability of American politicians to make strategic layouts.
The two major parties in the United States rotate their power through election, and this political arrangement has traditionally been positive for limiting abuse and corruption. But electoral politics can also bring some drawbacks.
Leaders’ policies are based on the fickle mood of voters, focusing only on short-term returns, which is not conducive to the long-term interests of the United States. Take Trump’s “retreat” as an example.
The withdrawal of the United States from international organizations affects the international image of the United States, the opportunities to participate in international collaboration and the ability to participate in the formulation of international rules, which is disadvantageous to the United States in the long run.
But the American people believe that international organizations should be “punished” for making decisions against the United States, so Trump dares to “retreat from the group”.
In recent years, American electoral politics has brought a new danger: political polarization.
In the past, American politicians tended to be moderate in power in order to win the support of the majority and avoid fierce criticism from the media of both parties.
With the irreconcilable social contradictions in the United States and the unprecedented division of domestic ideologies, the gap between the two parties cannot be resolved by clarifying the facts.
Politicians led by Trump found that the correct campaign strategy is not to win over the majority, but to please about 40% of the “dead loyalists” with extreme speech and radical policies, ignoring the criticism of the remaining population.
In the 2016 U.S. election, Trump created topics through social media and mobilized populist sentiment among voters, allowing Republicans to win the election with high turnout and victory in swing states.
Trump claimed that illegal immigration and “unfair trade” “stealed” American jobs, and claimed that a series of international organizations and treaties to which the United States joined were “not in the interests of the United States”; after he was elected president, he kept his promise, launched a series of trade wars, and withdrew from international cooperation mechanisms that were “not in the interests of the United States”.
Trump’s policies have been fiercely criticized by the Democratic and left-wing media, but have been recognized by more than 90% of “dead loyal” supporters.
Therefore, whether it is “retreating”, suppressing allies or trading war, criticism in the United States is overwhelming, but it is not enough to shake Trump’s ruling position.
During the pandemic, Trump is facing not only Democratic attacks at home, but also pressure from the presidential election.
Although the wrong decisions and inactions of the Trump administration have serious consequences, as long as it publishes a “blaming theory” to attack China, the WHO and the Democratic Party, it can get “dead loyal” support.
In contrast, New York, California and other places, which are not only more difficult to fight the pandemic, but also Democratic territory, even if they successfully fight the pandemic, It will not help the Trump election.
Encouraged by “dead loyal” voters, Trump and the Republican Party naturally fully pursue a “neighborhood” foreign policy to create contradictions to distract the media and opposition parties from their ineffectiveness in fighting the pandemic.
What’s more, Trump’s female Kushner publicly refused to divide federal masks to the state government, and many states under the Democratic rule had to purchase medical devices to fight the pandemic through interstate “alliance”.
The United States can’t even unite internally to fight against the pandemic, let alone lead the world.
After emergencies, all sectors of society in the United States often give greater support to the “war president”.
For example, George W. Bush after September 11th and Trump in the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic have all received high support.
In fact, if Trump decides to cooperate with China and the international community at this time, with the strong social media propaganda ability of his team, he will have a certain opportunity to suppress domestic opposition and push public criticism to promote the joint fight against the pandemic.
China’s medical material production capacity can effectively alleviate the pandemic in the United States.
China’s medical experience and the United States’ strong scientific research resources can complement the fight against the pandemic, which is not only conducive to consolidating capital confidence in the U.S. market, but also saving the lives of a large number of American people.
However, some politicians in the United States have been confused by anti-China ideology and do not have the great power to abandon stereotypes and lead the fight against the pandemic.
At the time of the outbreak of the Wuhan pandemic, U.S. Commerce Secretary Ross gloated with the pandemic and believed that China’s COVID-19 pandemic would help jobs return to the United States.
Even the host of the right-wing media Fox thought was inappropriate. Ross’ remarks reflect the current paranoid mentality of some American politicians. Even natural disasters are the “help” of the United States as long as they can hit China.
In the face of the continuous spread of the pandemic in China, the inability to coordinate between the states and the federal government, the mistakes in the pandemic prevention agencies, and the large-scale infection of naval vessels, the first thing that the United States thought of is to “blame the pot” to China and turn the fight against the pandemic into a bargaining chip for political negotiations.
Several lawmakers have claimed that China must pay compensation, and a Florida law firm has filed a lawsuit in the United States for compensation from the Chinese side. U.S. politicians keep an eye on the large number of U.S. Treasury bonds held by China and advocate that the United States should refuse to repay its debts.
Politicians such as Trump use the stigmatized virus name in public, and Secretary of State Pompeo insisted on including the name in the joint statement of the Group of Seven (G7). This behavior has attracted the example of Britain, France and other countries, forming an international trend of “China’s atonement theory” and undermining China’s anti-pandemic cooperation with other countries.
[Editor’s Note: The G7 Summit is an annual summit mechanism held by the seven major industrial countries, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada and Japan, on major issues of common concern.
In November 1975, in order to get out of the economic recession caused by the “oil crisis”, at the initiative of France, the leaders of France, the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and Italy held the highest economic conference outside Paris, establishing an annual summit meeting aimed at coordinating national policies and revitalizing economic development.
Mechanism. Canada joined in June of the following year, which led to the formation of the Group of Seven.
This mechanism has had an important impact in global economic and political governance.
However, with the changing world pattern and weak economic growth and lack of momentum of G7 members, the G7 seems to be weak and influential, both in leading global economic growth and solving international and regional hot spots.]
Some people in the American intellectual community also believe that the United States should show global leadership, but most of its starting point is to “balance China’s influence” and its policies are more destructive than constructive.
For example, the United States continues to hype about the purpose of China’s support for international anti-pandemic and the quality of China’s anti-pandemic materials. It cannot provide anti-pandemic materials itself and allows the virus to rage in Europe and other places.
Fundamentally, the concern of the U.S. strategic community about the relative recession of the country is deepening.
The United States still has indisputable military, financial and discourse hegemony, but with the rapid development of China’s economy, the hostility of the United States towards China has been rising in recent years:
George W. Bush frequently provoked in the South China Sea at the beginning of his tenure;
Obama also repeatedly stressed that the United States will continue to lead the world, advocating the use of the strategy of “smart power” and “return to the Asia-Pacific” to counter China’s growing influence;
During the Trump era, with the wave of populism and Trump’s weakness of no political contacts, some extremist politicians, such as Navarro, Bannon, etc., entered the decision-making level, which greatly aggravated the anti-Chinese sentiment in the United States;
At the same time, the two parties in the United States have gradually reached an anti-China consensus, and lawmakers from both parties are competing to become anti-China pioneers, such as Pelosi of the Democratic Party, Tom Cotton, Lindsay Graham, Marco Rubio, etc. of the Republican Party;
In late 2017 and early 2018, several U.S. defense documents called the big power competition the number one threat in the United States and considered China to be the biggest threat to the United States in the long run….
Under the influence of this idea, the “China-US decoupling” theory appeared in the American strategic circles, which has become the main obstacle to Sino-US cooperation.
Under the influence of strategic anxiety, anti-China politicians such as Bannong saw China’s anti-pandemic achievements and thought not to learn and cooperate, but to accelerate the siege of China. Naturally, they are unwilling to actively fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lack of America
Need to be made up by all countries
In the face of the severe anti-pandemic situation, all countries in the world should learn the lessons of the United States and avoid making racism and ideology a stumbling block to the fight against the pandemic.
First, countries need to be prepared to coexist with the virus for a long time. At present, many countries are facing great economic pressure and cannot continue to support the high-intensity anti-pandemic of personnel shutdown and industry shutdown.
The prolonged economic shutdown may completely destroy the economic foundation of globalization and have a huge negative impact on the collaborative fight against the pandemic.
Under such circumstances, countries should explore pandemic prevention systems suitable for their own national conditions, strengthen transnational coordination, and safeguard the achievements of anti-pandemic.
Second, China’s role in the international fight against the pandemic is crucial. If you compare COVID-19 to a world war, China needs to become the “armory” of the world like the United States during World War II.
In addition to medical supplies, China’s anti-pandemic experience can be used as a reference for countries around the world. It is necessary for China to actively defend against the virus overseas, especially to help neighboring countries and countries along the Belt and Road Initiative to fight against the pandemic, so as to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on China’s export-oriented economy.
While fighting the pandemic, China should actively unite with friendly countries, advocate the “depoliticization” of the novel coronavirus and advocate humanitarian-based international cooperation.
At the same time, China should focus on cultural diplomacy, publicize China’s goodwill in a high-profile way, emphasize the cooperative relationship between the countries of the “global village” and actively and resolutely fight against Europe and the United States to smear China’s voice.
Third, the global fight against the pandemic requires the joint participation of all countries in the world.
After the United States stopped allocating funds to WHO, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the European Union and others provided a lot of financial assistance, demonstrating the positive attitude of the rest of the world to the joint fight against the pandemic.
After experiencing the inaction inaction in the early stage of the pandemic, the European Union was particularly motivated to participate in international cooperation to make up for the damaged international image.
Countries around the world, including China, should trust and support WHO experts to use this international framework for international coordination and jointly support third world countries that may be in humanitarian crisis.
In addition to fighting the pandemic, countries around the world should thoroughly investigate the origin and evolution of the virus under the leadership of WHO and evaluate human performance in the face of COVID-19 in an objective and scientific way.
Fourth, regionalization may be the way out of globalization. There may be multiple leaders in the post-pandemic world. The era of America’s dominence is gradually fading away from us.
Although the United States has failed to assume the responsibility of leadership, the regionally-dominated self-help of the world may provide a new crisis response model.