US Republican Senator Marco Rubio File Photo: VCG
US Senator Marco Rubio recently said China would “weaponize” the country’s reliance on Chinese-made pharmaceuticals. In another recent statement, Rubio said the Communist Party of China is “encouraging conspiracy theories, blaming the US for COVID-19,” because China wants to “dampen internal discontent” and to “save face internationally.”
Rubio has been further hyping populism after he became chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, applying a Cold War mind-set and prejudice in various sectors. His statements on COVID-19 are meaningless.
COVID-19 is a challenge for all human beings. In the globalization era, countries can share resources. Rubio’s view is inconsistent with the new type of international relations.
There have been quite some negative voices attacking China since the COVID-19 epidemic broke out, including statements of US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro, and Rubio.
It seems there are a few in the US who hope to accelerate China-US decoupling taking advantage of a global public health crisis, which has had a negative impact on bilateral relations.
Some radical US politicians have incited populism and blamed China when COVID-19 infection cases appeared in the US. The blame game doesn’t make sense, not to mention this is nothing more than a conspiracy theory.
China has been working closely with WHO officials and other countries amid the COVID-19 outbreak. It has been over one month since China implemented strict prevention and control measures. This period was a great opportunity for other nations to make preparation for fighting COVID-19.
Protecting people’s health has been the top priority among China’s prevention and control efforts, and the public is willing to sacrifice some economic interests in the short run.
This is a correct approach because people are the foundation of economic construction. It’s not that Western countries have been unable to learn from China’s experience. Italy recently sealed off its northern region including major cities such as Milan and Venice.
The US is gambling with people’s lives, which is irresponsible as the epidemic is spreading across the country. It is a choice made entirely by politicians who want strong economic data and secure votes in the presidential election.
The US CDC also stopped reporting the number of confirmed cases, and states are testing and reporting their virus statistics themselves.
If the outbreak wasn’t severe then such behavior would make sense. But the truth is the epidemic has already become a crisis that the entire country needs to face.
With the 2020 US presidential election approaching, US President Donald Trump, who seeks reelection, does not want to raise the epidemic to a national emergency level. But even so, Trump’s recent approval rating still remains stable. This shows that the epidemic has not really hurt the American people. But it may be too late when it does so.
By inciting populism, to what extent can US politicians increase their approval rate? In fact, the effect is limited. Some Americans may be dissatisfied with US politicians’ response to the epidemic, and thus some have placed the blame on China. Their supporters may buy it, because they agree with almost everything the politicians say, but they may pay a heavy price.
The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Li Qingqing based on an interview with Diao Daming, associate professor and US studies expert at the Renmin University of China. [email protected]