By Chan Kung*
While China is beginning to see results in its Covid-19 pandemic prevention efforts, the U.S. remains in the thick of an “unforgettable” pandemic crisis. Thanks to the issues and challenges presented by the pandemic to China as well as the stigma associated with it, the concept of a “New Cold War” has been given a whole new meaning in the world political arena and the United States. Behind this geopolitical and geo-economic driven logic lies China’s possibility of an inevitable and total decoupling from a Western world reigned by the U.S.
The current situation is delicately threatening and everchanging. On one hand, China has taken on a hardened, no-nonsense attitude towards any stigma surrounding Covid-19 and on the other, the United States is currently at a “delicate Pearl Harbor moment” as a result of the pandemic. Recent comments from China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson have fueled a strong public backlash in China, resulting in a highly publicized anti-American attitude that is out of line with the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Jerome Adams, a top U.S. health official, warned Americans on April 5 that the United States will face an alarming death toll resulting from the novel coronavirus in the coming week as the pandemic continues to ravage the country.
This is where China’s opportunity to lend a helping hand comes in. At such times, the entire world including the United States, Europe, and the United Kingdom, all require China’s assistance. The United Kingdom too is going through a tough time, as supplies are tight, so much so that one is not even allowed to purchase liquor in the supermarket. On top of that, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has become the first among the world’s top leaders to contract Covid-19 and in intensive care. This is a time for China to step up as a responsible world power speak the international language, and to provide international aid. China needs to show compassion, only then can it receive the same compassion, support, empathy and praise in return. Now is certainly not the time to politicize things. When a country in the world is facing a tough time, it will certainly need the care of others. It takes little for one to be grateful during such tough times but that can only happen when one does the right thing, and that is to remain as rational and as humanitarian as possible now. If this is what China wishes for the world, then this is what China ought to show as well.
How China chooses to respond to the matter on hand, be it to react unreasonably and emotionally or to adopt major strategic support measures and do its utmost in assisting the rest of the world (the U.S. included), is a strategic choice that will no doubt determine China’s future position in the world and perhaps even its fate. When a community in the world is facing a tough time, it will certainly require care from others, it will need a display of humanitarian spirit and aid, as well as coordinated actions. This is a time for China to step up as a responsible world power, to speak the international language, and to provide international aid. Right now, “masks, ventilators, and PPE” are more conducive to realizing China’s national interests than “atomic bombs, aircraft carriers, destroyers, and artilleries.” Such is the case with China’s geopolitics at the time being.
*Founder of Anbound Think Tank in 1993, Chan Kung is now ANBOUND Chief Researcher. Chan Kung is one of China’s renowned experts in information analysis. Most of Chan Kung‘s outstanding academic research activities are in economic information analysis, particularly in the area of public policy.