The United States risks becoming an unreliable partner in the fight against future pandemics

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Coronavirus with USA outline map. / Getty

Coronavirus with USA outline map. / Getty

Editor’s Note: Adriel Kasonta is a London-based foreign affairs analyst and commentator. He is the founder of AK Consultancy and former Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of Bow Group, the UK’s oldest conservative think tank. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US government has already decided on its origins. The virus, as first supported by President Donald Trump and pushed by then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was seen as the product of the Chinese government’s malicious intent and potential biological weapon produced to harm the “free world”.

Although the U.S. intelligence community issued a statement on April 30, 2020 that it “subscribes to the broad scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified,” once the propaganda of the disseminated “Chinese virus”, it has managed to harbor a seed of doubt in global consciousness, giving rise to extreme sinophobia both at home and abroad.

Despite high hopes on President Joe Biden to break with the stigmatizing destructive practices dear to his predecessor, the new Commander-in-Chief decided on May 26 to ask the intelligence community to “redouble their efforts” within 90 days. in the hopes of finding a “definitive conclusion” on the origins of the coronavirus amid increasing attention to the so-called lab leak hypothesis.

The report released in late August by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the country’s 18 spy agencies, said the investigation was inconclusive and could not unequivocally state whether the pandemic was the result of a laboratory accident or human contact with an infected animal. .

“All agencies assess that two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and an incident associated with the laboratory,” the report said. These were the same two assumptions the US intelligence community had “converged” earlier this year before Biden asked the agencies to conduct the most recent investigation.

What is most important about this new examination, while it may not have addressed the fundamental question of where the virus emerged, is the fact that intelligence agencies were able to “come to a conclusion. broad agreement on several other key issues, “including the judgment that” the virus was not developed as a biological weapon “and” Chinese officials had no prior knowledge of the virus before the outbreak of the initial outbreak of COVID-19 – the two most outrageous and outrageous accusations leveled by the United States against Beijing.

It is also worth mentioning that while the WHO-China joint study on the origins of SARS-CoV-2 published on March 30 concluded that the virus was most likely transmitted from bats to humans and was ” extremely unlikely “that it will escape the lab, a group of 13 countries friendly to the United States have expressed concerns about the independence of this investigation, citing delays and a lack of full access to the data.

Members of the WHO team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic inspect the Hubei Animal Outbreak Prevention and Control Center in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, February 2 2021. / Getty

Members of the WHO team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic inspect the Hubei Animal Outbreak Prevention and Control Center in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, February 2 2021. / Getty

Disappointingly, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, under heavy political pressure, also admitted that experts were struggling to get raw data and that the report did not collect enough evidence from which to base them. investigators could draw concrete conclusions, and called for further investigations. in the theory that the outbreak was the result of a lab leak.

As it has already become a standard ritual of shame, the recent summary of the report by US intelligence agencies claims that “China’s cooperation would most likely be necessary to reach a conclusive assessment of the origins of COVID-19”, further antagonizing the country by saying it “continues to obstruct the global investigation, resist information sharing and blame other countries, including the United States.”

Interestingly, the summary admits that “the international community is using the issue to exert political pressure on China,” which is undoubtedly still championed by the US president.

“While this review is complete, our efforts to understand the origins of this pandemic will not stop,” Biden said in his statement on the investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.

By claiming that his administration had “renewed American leadership in the World Health Organization and rallied allies and partners to focus again on this critical issue,” President Biden shows that he is not. willing to refrain from politicizing the origins of the virus tracing, and, as Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said, aims to “blame China.”

Instead of supporting virus tracing work based on open, transparent, scientific and cooperative principles, the United States wants to impose its will on China, which, as Professor Jeffrey Sachs noted, is an example a deep lack of “good manners”.

Continuing such behavior will cost the lives of others and hamper the ability of the international community to deal with similar or even worse pandemics in the future.

The United States would be well advised to listen to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin and “seek solidarity instead of confrontation, take responsibility instead of blaming it, be guided by science to instead of politics and supporting international cooperation in combating the virus and tracing the origins instead of disrupting relevant efforts. “

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