US and China Soft War Games – Opting Out

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U.S. Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Ray Odierno met with commanders of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Beijing, China, Feb. 21, 2014. Gen. Odierno, spoke with different Chinese commanders to strengthen and promote military to military relations between the United States and China. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle/Released)

China isn’t the only authoritarian power at play here

It didn’t necessarily have to be political. There is room in all of this to suggest that the coronavirus is merely an unfortunate incident with no comprehensive geopolitical implications. After all, few were suggesting, after the devastating bush fires in Australia, that there was something fundamentally evil about the Australian regime. Yet it took about five minutes for Blue Checkmarks to declare that this COVID crisis was a damning indictment of the whole China project.

American officials are ramping up the anti-China narrative. The nationalist Donald Trump has no problem at all going with this. The White House is insisting on the Blame China message, and now politicians and journalists from around the world are regurgitating that message wholesale.

Spectator US editor Dominic Green tweeted an op-ed from The Critic accusing the Chinese Communist Party of coverup and negligence, and laying out a drastic manifesto that includes mass boycotts of Chinese products, heavy sanctions, and “keeping [China] outside of global institutions.” Basically giving up on the whole project of being friends in mutually beneficial trade and harmony.

Such types laughed when a Chinese party spokesperson suggested that the virus may have originated in the United States, and self-righteously condemn the expulsion of American journalists.

You can only really have this reaction if you view all foreign policy in a vacuum. The above is China’s attempt in counter-propaganda after decades of the United States’ concerted undermining of its economy for entirely self-interested reasons.

America has the largest military force in the world by orders of magnitude, having its tendrils in nearly every country. They’re the biggest instigator of destruction and death abroad. They’re in a cold war with China and are intent on winning.

This is not to say that there aren’t highly disturbing things that have gone on in China. But it’s certainly not the case that the United States was sitting there bothering nobody until China messed up. There is more than one Machiavellian force influencing the politics that are going on right now.

Calling it the “China Virus” is not racist per se, but it’s still a bad idea

At risk of being labelled Being Libertarian’s “Pro-China Shill,” I nonetheless must urge readers to resist calling it the “China Virus.”

I had until a few days ago thought the furore over the naming of the virus was hysterical and a waste of breath. My mind was changed, firstly, after seeing this video explaining why official bodies name viruses descriptively, and not by a place, a person, or an animal.

And secondly, hearing testimony of Asians, many non-Chinese, being attacked and harassed.

In response to swine flu, the Egyptian government culled all their pigs, even though that particular strain was only transmitted human-to-human.

From then on, swine flu was officially called H1N1. Now the World Health Organization’s policy is to give viruses neutral names — no relation to species, race, or area. This is to prevent stupid people doing stupid things like the above.

If you think this reasoning (to prevent people killing pigs) makes sense, look again at the “China/Wuhan Virus” issue.

Asians of all stripes are being attacked and vilified today. They aren’t more likely to have the virus at this point.

Donald Trump and Fox News virtue-signalling about how much they don’t like China is all well and good, but they should realise the consequences of that, and comprehend that they are going against official WHO guidance. Let’s avoid the conspiracy theories for now and take it for granted that the virus originated in China. It’s fine to say that. But bandying about the term “China Virus” is likely contributing to harming innocent people.

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James Smith

Writer and film-maker from the United Kingdom. Digital nomad. Author of 'The Shy Guy's Guide to Travelling'.