Commentary: Washington flunks test of responsibility in global pandemic fight

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-21 23:08:11|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) -- With COVID-19 cases approaching 20,000 on American soil, the White House's sloppy response and scapegoating behavior in the face of the virus have made the public health crisis worsen across the country and even around the globe.

Facing an epidemic, a responsible government should concentrate its resources on domestic problems. But some U.S. politicians are looking elsewhere for a scapegoat to blame.

By branding the disease "the Chinese virus," spreading rumors that products made in China carry the virus, and even asking China to compensate for countries affected by the epidemic, they attempt to deflect public attention from their own mishandling of the crisis while fueling discrimination, xenophobia and racism.

The pandemic comes as a tough test for humankind. As the sole superpower on the planet, the United States is widely expected to give full play to its overall strength and ability and participate in international cooperation.

Yet, some U.S. politicians and media are turning a deaf ear to the global call for solidarity and cooperation to fight the epidemic. They have been so fixated on the Cold-War mentality of smearing China and have let the world down.

First, it neglected international morality. Ever since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington has been striking a tone of schadenfreude. On one hand, it ignores the World Health Organization's professional advice, doubts its independence in decision-making, and pays mere lip service to foreign assistance. On the other hand, it exploits the virus for cheap political gains.

In particular, turning a blind eye to China's huge sacrifices and unremitting efforts, which have earned the world precious time to prepare for the pandemic, the bystanders in the White House kept using the virus as a weapon to hurt China. Some even made a selfish suggestion that the outbreak could help bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States.

Second, it shook off the responsibility of a major country. The U.S. government has been criticized for downplaying the epidemic, as well as its slow response to it. An article published by The Atlantic said bureaucracy, equipment shortages, an unwillingness to share, and failed leadership have doomed the American response to COVID-19.

Instead of admitting their own mistakes and showing a sense of responsibility, some U.S. officials have cooked up bizarre theories to make scapegoats of others, saying that the virus originated in China, that China's data is imperfect, and that China has been uncooperative.

The National Interest, another U.S. journal, has pointed out sharply that as the crisis begins to be felt more acutely at home - and as the November election draws closer - there is every chance that some politicians will revert to form by blaming China for the coronavirus in hopes of deflecting criticism of the government.

Third, it escaped media responsibility. International solidarity is the only way out of the current epidemic. Some U.S. media, though, still hold a distorted view of China, speaking ill of the country's anti-epidemic efforts and fanning the flames of anti-Chinese sentiment.

Rather than illustrating why the virus is dangerous and how China has responded to the outbreak, some U.S. media are fomenting rage at China, which has to some extent shifted public attention and led its audience to vastly underestimate the severity of the situation.

Blaming China will not help win the war against the novel coronavirus in the United States. Neither will it contribute to international efforts of dealing with the virus. As a group of international health law experts said in The Lancet, measures based on fear, rumor, racism and xenophobia cannot save people from such emergencies as the COVID-19 epidemic.

Yuri Tavrovsky, a professor with the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, said that the "political virus" caused by ideological prejudice and double standards is more dangerous than COVID-19 itself.

To quote an ancient Chinese saying, turn inward and examine yourself when you encounter difficulties in your life. U.S. stocks have dived on coronavirus fears, triggering four trading pauses in just 10 days. A main factor behind panic selling was investors' worry over the actual scale of the epidemic and whether the U.S. government could effectively address the challenge.

It is better for some U.S. politicians to focus on the epidemic itself and play a constructive role in working with the international community to safeguard global health security, rather than waste their time on slandering, smearing and complaining about China.

As the pandemic continues, international cooperation matters more than ever in this era of globalization. Narrow nationalism, xenophobia or racism are of no avail. Only when all members of the global community brave the challenge together with solidarity and mutual assistance will mankind defeat this terrible pandemic.