International relations between China and the US could be volatile in the coming days. During the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first virtual international assembly, China agreed that it would comply with the WHO’s review of global coronavirus response. Initially, Chinese President Xi Jinping was extremely resistant to such an investigation, but he eventually changed tunes saying the work “needs to be led by the WHO; and the principles of objectivity and fairness need to be upheld.” Meanwhile, President Trump has threatened to pull US membership and cut off funding to the WHO, saying that their connection to China and the subsequent covering of important COVID-19 related information is inexcusable. Trump was absent from the virtual meeting held on Monday.
Some on the Right agree with Trump’s criticism of both China and the WHO. NY Post reporter Steven W. Mosher agrees that America and her allies should decouple from China, writing, “No single cut will be fatal. But taken together, they will bleed China’s economy dry. They may also, it is to be hoped, shake the corrupt and incompetent Chinese Communist Party to its very foundations.” Over the course of the pandemic, lawmakers in a myriad of countries including Germany, the UK, and the Czech Republic align with the Trump administration in their view that “China represents a systemic threat to western values,” wrote a Wall Street Journal team. However, others on the Right criticize Trump for failing to come to the international table, and ask what we have to gain from such a move, noting recent history’s important and improved relations with the world power.
The Left calls Trump hypocritical and a blame-shifter, noting that it wasn’t only China that delayed the coronavirus response, but Trump’s own poor judgement and leadership. A Vanity Fair contributor noted, “I’m not denying that Beijing is trouble. Nor would I be sad to see an economic separation between the United States and China. But one of the most dangerous ways to get that is to indulge in incendiary scapegoating.” The editorial board for the Washington Post agreed that Trump’s blame tactics are “a crude scapegoating intended to divert attention from Washington’s own failures.”