Republican report on origins of COVID-19 serves U.S. hybrid war on China

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The United States Capitol in Washington, DC, the United States, March 25, 2020. / Xinhua

The United States Capitol in Washington, DC, the United States, March 25, 2020. / Xinhua

Editor’s Note: Andrew Korybko is an American political analyst based in Moscow. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.

The Republicans’ COVID-19 origins report simply repeated a slew of discredited conspiracy theories about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as it was allegedly responsible for covert biological weapons research and covering up an accidental outbreak of these. There is nothing new in this so called “report”. Its only practical purpose is to serve as a list of the most popular lies that have been shared since the pandemic was declared about a year and a half ago. Nonetheless, it could still be exploited for devious purposes related to the United States’ Hybrid War against China.

The timing of the latest release could be more than a coincidence. US President Joe Biden has ordered the intelligence community to report on this matter within 90 days. This deadline is expected to expire later this month. It’s unclear exactly what they will conclude and whether or not their conclusions will be scientifically correct, but the Republican report could play a role in shaping the overall narrative on this sensitive topic.

If American spy agencies respect the scientific findings so far and agree to reject the conspiracy theory of lab leaks, then the Republicans’ report can be seen as a preemptive partisan step to influence the mid-terms of the government. ‘next year.

The Republicans could then, as might be expected, lobby even more aggressively for sanctions and other illegal measures against China under this pretext. If the intelligence community were to accept this conspiracy theory, then the Republicans’ report could result in a bipartisan consensus for these same measures.

USNS Comfort arrives in New York City to help overcrowded city hospitals with COVID-19 patients, March 30, 2020. / AP

USNS Comfort arrives in New York City to help overcrowded city hospitals with COVID-19 patients, March 30, 2020. / AP

Either way, it could end up playing a role in escalating US-China tensions. At the very least, it will serve as a lightning rod for controversy ahead of next year’s mid-terms intended to galvanize the opposition base. After all, there was no other real reason why they should conduct their own study on this topic.

The US intelligence community has all the information it needs to reach an objective conclusion consistent with existing scientific findings on the matter if it has the political will, which remains to be seen. Opposition lawmakers cannot have access to more information than they do. The very fact that the Republicans report was commissioned in the first place was intended to pressure the intelligence community to comply with the opposition’s adherence to the lab leak conspiracy theory and to report confused voters that the federal government’s findings could be politicized even if theirs are.

Republicans politicized the COVID-19 pandemic before Democrats did after former US President Donald Trump began to blame China for the outbreak. Democrats also politicized the pandemic, but initially only in a domestic context in order to give themselves an advantage ahead of last year’s presidential elections. It wasn’t until after they came to power that they started flirting with the Republicans’ conspiracy theory, perhaps because it resonated with confused voters who clung to this false narrative for personal reasons. Going against it could be bad for Democrats’ re-election prospects, by some calculations.

Most people have already decided what to believe, so reports from Republicans or the intelligence community are unlikely to change what most Americans think. On the contrary, all they do is attempt to legitimize certain interpretations from their respective positions of authority. With that in mind, the Republicans report is starting to be seen as even more manipulative than some might have thought at first glance. As has been explained, there is no way they would have more information than the US spy agencies. All the opposition wanted to do was stand up and play the demagogic illusions of certain voters.

One can only hope that the U.S. intelligence community does the right thing by sticking to the scientific facts, distancing itself from irresponsible conspiracy theories, and ultimately debunking the Republicans’ report on the origins of COVID-19. . Nonetheless, this scenario cannot be taken for granted given the politicization of the entire pandemic, especially as a pretext to escalate the US hybrid war against China.

For this reason, the intelligence community might give some credibility to the politicized findings of the Republicans, both for partisan reasons ahead of next year’s mid-terms and also for strategic reasons vis-à-vis China. .

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