It is getting ugly, extremely ugly.
It is increasingly looking like a war – at least a new ‘cold’, ideological war.
But in the shadow of COVID-19, it goes almost unnoticed.
The blind horseman, who hates China intuitively, without knowing hardly anything about it, is leading the pack, pushing his president into a confrontation with the most populous country on Earth. His name is Peter Navarro.
Not that the president is ‘innocent’. Under him, the White House has become a haven of bigotry, of anti-Chinese racist sentiments. It was already converted into the global headquarters of the combat against the much more logical and humane, socialist, systems.
Red warning lights are blinking. All indicators are pointing downwards; economic ones, social ones, as well as medical. US warships are repeatedly being deployed, near Taiwan and the South China Sea.
And the insults, terrible insults, are flying.
Trump and Navarro are insulting China publicly, with no shame. They are smearing the nation which just a few months ago stood alone, facing an unknown enemy, battling and at great cost, but rapidly defeated the pandemic, all over its vast territory.
All this is being done shamelessly and arrogantly.
The world is watching. Part of it in disbelief and outrage, and the other part lethargically and submissively, as always.
On April 19, 2020, the New York Post reported:
“White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday called on China to prove that a Wuhan laboratory played no role in the coronavirus pandemic — and accused the nation of hoarding personal protective equipment and profiting off the outbreak.
Navarro took aim at China on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” accusing the country of taking several actions that worsened the ongoing crisis and “led to the deaths of many people worldwide.”
“First of all, the virus was spawned in China. Second of all, they hid the virus behind the shield of the World Health Organization. The third thing they did was basically hoard personal protective equipment and now they’re profiteering from it,” Navarro said.
US President Trump, perhaps taking Navarro’s advice, has already cut all funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), something unimaginable, considering that the world is in the middle of a war with the virus, and the WHO is at the frontline of it. But the WHO is being accused of “colluding with China”, which this administration increasingly sees as its greatest adversary.
One day later, on 20th April, 2020, Reuters carried a report about Peter Navarro’s accusation of China for withholding data on COVID-19:
“One of the reasons that they may not have let us in and given us the data on this virus early, is they’re racing to get a vaccine and they think this is just a competitive business race, it’s a business proposition so that they can sell the vaccines to the world,” Navarro told Fox Business Network.”
“But we’re going to beat them. We’re going to beat them because of President Trump’s leadership. We’re going to beat them because HHS has already got a five-company horse race,” said Navarro, referring to the US Department of Health and Human Services.”
The attacks against China are bordering on hysteria. Trump and his advisors appear to be thoroughly desperate.
This extreme desperation, this fear of losing a grip on power, all over the world, is extremely dangerous for the survival of humanity.
China, but also Russia, have been extremely patient. They use diplomacy, instead of threats and insults. They are observing the behavior of the US leaders with certain amusement, as if it was the behavior of a spoiled child who is throwing a tantrum. But their patience has boundaries. Once the US attitude begins harming the lives of Chinese or Russian citizens, they will be forced to act. And the US is pushing, as if, paradoxically, the confrontation was the only chance for its survival.
And it is pushing, provoking, on all fronts: from the South China Sea and Taiwan to Hong Kong, from Venezuela to Iran, from insulting China and Russia, to a bizarre battle already being fought on the COVID-19 front.
One scratch, one tiny error in the Iranian territorial waters, or in the South China Sea, and the fragile peace may go up in flames.
The world had been tolerating, uneasily but tolerating, the aggressive behavior of Washington, for years and decades. But now, with the COVID-19 confusion, and with the imminent global economic and financial collapse, almost all countries are now extremely edgy. This is not the same world as we knew it to be just a year ago. Trump, Navarro and the others in their ‘camp’ should pay close attention, if they want to avoid a global tragedy.
Unfortunately, they do not seem to be trying to avoid a conflict. They are trying to provoke one, by all means!
You cannot call China, a country which was first attacked by the coronavirus, and which defeated it, alone and with great determination and sacrifice, “a country which infected the world”, or “a country which is profiteering from the crisis”. That would be insane, incorrect, and thoroughly vulgar.
If anything, China has helped almost the entire world to fight this pandemic. It also quickly shared expertise, and helped those nations which have been hit the most, with both advice and invaluable medical equipment.
Statements such as those of the White House trade adviser Peter Navarro calling on China to prove that a Wuhan laboratory played no role in the coronavirus pandemic, are extremely irresponsible and dangerous, and could easily backfire.
Many experts worldwide, actually believe that it was the US that brought the virus to China. Earlier, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted one of the theories, which says that it was the US military that brought the new coronavirus to the central city of Wuhan.
But in the end, the Chinese officials decided not to point fingers in the direction of Washington, at least for now, as these are extremely explosive topics and exceptionally dangerous times.
But the United States has misread these wise and conciliatory moves of the Chinese government and the Communist Party, as weakness. It has turned the tables around, and began the lowest imaginable set of ideological attacks, obviously convinced of its invincibility.
Eventually, Washington crossed all the lines. And it has become almost certain that its propaganda salvos will not go unanswered.
The attacks against China are unjust and racist.
They are also tremendously arrogant, smell of cultural supremacy and of a superiority complex.
The Western world in general, and the United States in particular, have brought death and destruction to hundreds of millions of human beings, all over the world. Washington has no moral mandate to lecture any country on our planet, particularly not China, which has no history of imperialism or harming humanity.
“Hiding facts”, or using chemical and biological warfare is something that is in line with Washington and its ‘foreign policy’. China has no history of such behavior.
One should just recall Indochina, Iraq, Cuba and many other places, to see what Washington is capable of.
Both Trump and Navarro are thoroughly ignorant about China. Navarro’s lack of knowledge about the country he keeps smearing and provoking, has been exposed even by countless members of the (otherwise obedient) US academia.
For both Trump and Navarro, China is the most convenient political and economic punch bag. It is governed by the Communist Party, it is greatly successful, both economically and socially. And it owes its success to the enthusiasm and hard work of its people, not to colonialism or imperialism, not to the plundering of other nations. Therefore, it is offering a totally new alternative model to our planet.
In summary: to the neocons and Western supremacists, China is the greatest nightmare.
The old fundamentalist ideological theology of the West reads: “If you cannot compete with it, smear it; destroy it!”
By now, it is all way beyond even pretending there is something like fairness and ‘objectivity’. How Washington behaves, has nothing to do with the concern for our world, and for the people inhabiting it.
It is all raw, brutal and bad-mannered. It all about dominance; about not losing that dominance.
Trump, Bolton, Pompeo, Navarro, Bannon… many others. They are present-day crusaders. Fighters for the white race, and the Western “culture” of expansionism. Their deeds are not often defined in this manner. But there is hardly any more honest way to describe those individuals.
What is happening around us is predominantly not about saving lives. The fight against COVID-19 has become an ideological war, not a war for the survival of millions of human beings.
Again, and again, China, Russia as well as Cuba have clearly demonstrated where they stand. Their airplanes brought hope and desperately needed help. Grateful Italians sung the Chinese national anthem. Many in the US began paying attention to Russian humanitarian airlifts. Cuba sent its legendary medical brigades to some of the hardest hit areas of the world.
The response from the West? Ungrateful, repulsive cynicism. Even some Italian reporters opted for writing sarcastic pieces questioning the Russian and Chinese altruism.
US politicians were quick to begin disputing the fact that Russian aid to New York was fully free, or at least half free, in some cases.
While Trump was snatching the deliveries of Chinese medical equipment bound for Germany and other countries, from transit airports in Thailand and elsewhere; while he was trying to literally bribe a German pharmaceutical company, so it would produce COVID-19 vaccine exclusively for the United States, while the EU showed no solidarity with Italy and other members when the solidarity was most needed, China, Russia and Cuba displayed grace under pressure, behaving like human beings, like responsible members of the international community.
That, precisely that; this tremendous contrast between two world systems, during the hour of great global crises, had to be covered up by Washington, so, god forbid, the world would not notice that there is something essentially wrong with the North American and European imperialist regime, and its extreme, fundamentalist capitalism.
But people like Mr. Navarro or Mr. Trump cannot see the world in any other way, anymore; only through the paradigm of profits, control and superiority. Instead of cleaning their own house, and improving their regime, they rather smear and attack those who are building a much better world.
We are still not sure, what real danger COVID-19 represents. We cannot precisely calculate the mortality rate, or spread of the pandemic. We can only guess how many millions of lives will be ruined by the global economic downfall.
But we know what a confrontation between US and China or between US and Russia would bring.
We also know what Washington’s novel Cold War combatants are counting on: that Beijing and Moscow (but also Teheran, and others) will accept anything; that in order to save the planet, they will always back up, trying to de-escalate tensions with the West. After all, it has been like that, up to now.
But lines are being crossed.
The recent statements, insults uttered by Trump and Navarro, accusing China of spreading the virus, or even manufacturing it in its labs, are pushing Beijing too far. It is like defying logic, and then spitting in the faces of the true victims, and those heroes who fought and died at the frontline in Wuhan, for their city, their country, and the world.
Such lies, such insults can never be forgiven.
What next? Washington may now impose more of the insane sanctions, then bring its NAVY to the South China Sea, or near Taiwan, and keep funding rioters in Hong Kong… And watch out! Trump and his people are playing with fire. They are not almighty, not anymore. A few weeks more of this, and they may inherit the storm, such a terrible storm, that it could make even COVID-19 look like a breeze.
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He’s the creator of Vltchek’s World in Word and Images, and a writer that penned a number of books, including China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Connecting Countries Saving Millions of Lives. He writes especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”