Commentary: Buck-passing cannot fix U.S. deficiencies in virus fight

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-18 22:33:30|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) -- At a critical moment when the world is united in the battle against COVID-19, some U.S. politicians, instead of stepping up epidemic containment efforts on American soil, have kept calling the coronavirus the "Chinese virus" in an attempt to scapegoat China for Washington's lackluster epidemic response.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has guidelines on how to name new human infectious diseases, and COVID-19, the official name for the disease that has affected over 200,000 worldwide, was deliberately chosen to "avoid stigmatization."

Going against the international consensus, Washington exploits such racist terms for cheap political gains, using the virus as a weapon to smear China. Yet such a political scheme won't quell domestic criticism of the White House over the coronavirus crisis.

Washington is currently under fire for its slow and sloppy response to the virus, which has hit all 50 states throughout the country. Many media outlets have criticized the White House for squandering the precious time China has bought the world to fight against the virus.

In this context, Washington, instead of examining its policies, is trying to deflect attention by stigmatizing other countries. Such a move is malicious.

With 2020 being an election year, the current administration is trying to tighten its grip on the Oval Office. However, the spread of the coronavirus outbreak has roiled U.S. financial markets, leading to the circuit breaker in stock markets being hit for three times in eight days.

Wall Street's bull market has been repeatedly touted as a major policy accomplishment by the White House. And now, as the U.S. economy is likely to enter a recession as a result of the virus, adding uncertainties to the presidential election, the White House desperately needs a scapegoat. China, unsurprisingly, seems to fit the bill.

Buck-passing is nothing new, if one has observed U.S. politics in recent years. There are always some politicians who habitually blame China for domestic problems.

Stephen Roach, a senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute of Global Affairs, pointed out why this is the case. "Sadly, fixating on scapegoats is apparently much easier than taking a long, hard look in the mirror," he said.

Smearing China will neither stop the spread of the epidemic in the United States, nor fix the problems the U.S. politicians themselves have created. In these critical times, China-bashers in Washington should wake up to the fact and join the international community in fighting the disease -- the common enemy currently facing mankind.