Illustration: Chen Xia/GT
Now the whole world is talking about how selfish the US is regarding COVID-19 vaccines. The most developed country in the world that talks about human rights the most refuses to export vaccines to other countries that are severely hit by the pandemic. Washington is determined to let its citizens get vaccinated first before it shares vaccines with others.
More than a quarter of Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus now, while about 40 percent of people in the US have received at least one shot. Not everyone wants to get vaccinated, so it is predicted that there will be a surplus of vaccines in the country after mid-May. At the same time, many developing countries are suffering vaccine shortage. In Namibia, an African country with a population of 2.5 million, only 128 people have received two doses of a vaccine until now.
The ugly “America First” doctrine on vaccines was fully revealed by the coronavirus outbreak in India. A humanitarian disaster has developed in the country. However, India’s call for Washington to ease curbs on the export of vaccine raw materials was rejected. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Tuesday that the priority of the country is “ensuring the distribution of a safe and effective vaccine to millions of Americans, to all Americans who are able to take advantage of it.” Washington also turned down calls from India, South Africa and others to waive patents on COVID-19 vaccines.
To date, the US has made almost no actual contribution to the global fight against the pandemic. As the most developed country in the world, it did a poor job in the epidemic fight, failing to contribute any positive experiences to other countries. The country imported a huge amount of supplies such as masks and ventilators that were in short supply in the world last year. Washington undermined global cooperation against the virus by attacking the World Health Organization for quite a long time. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is Washington’s most important product to fight against the pandemic. But until now it has been used primarily to protect Americans and a limited number of US allies.
“America First” is a very crude principle. It has become a practical guide to bipartisan actions in the US. The former administration of Donald Trump had both said and acted according to this principle. Although the Biden administration hasn’t talked about it, it is in fact also acting in line with the principle.
Transmitted to the political center through each American constituency, the US’ selfishness has formed a kind of “rightfulness” under American democracy. Meanwhile, Washington is keen to promote its idea of “human rights” to the world. It acts like it has compassion for all humanity, and surprisingly, it does not feel awkward about it at all.
The world cannot allow the US to abuse the right to define international justice. Washington has refused to share vaccines with developing countries proportionally. The world should jointly condemn it, making Washington bend its head, like a rat scurrying across the street with everybody chasing it. However, till today, the US is still arrogantly claiming it is a global moral leader. It even accuses China and Russia’s efforts to share vaccines of being “vaccine diplomacy.” The US has totally called white black and black white.
The US has misled and hijacked various countries’ national security concept. This is where its arrogance comes from. The world is in an era of peaceful development, but US elites have successfully fanned many countries’ anxieties over geosecurity, as the US is the one who has the most abundant resources to play the geopolitical game. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest security shock that countries have encountered in recent years, but many countries have deeply fallen into the geopolitical myth and been hijacked by Washington. Therefore, they indulged Washington’s misdeeds.
India in fact has become a victim of the US tricks. India already had an economic slump before the outbreak of the pandemic. India’s relations with China have been manipulated by the US so severely that even its vaccine assistance provided to other countries took China as a target. However, now India has suddenly become the epicenter of the global pandemic. It is caught in a predicament where it is unable to deal with the situation by itself, receives no support from the US, while it is too embarrassed to accept China’s help.
In short, the US has caused harm to the whole world in recent years. Despite being a self-proclaimed world leader, it failed to act as a responsible power in terms of economy, security and the anti-pandemic fight. However, Washington has managed to keep the “moral high ground” and issue orders. It is fair to say that it is the world, including countries like India, that has indulged it. We are suffering a tragedy caused by ourselves.