By He Zhigao
At a time when it is imperative for all countries to work together to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and restore economic development, some Western politicians are politicizing the pandemic by claiming that China should be held accountable for the pandemic, compensate for the losses the virus has caused to the world and accusing China of exerting “pandemic diplomacy.”
Amid the US’ apparent inability to handle the pandemic, some American politicians are increasingly yearning to shift the blame on China. In addition to luring more Americans to their camp, these politicians have also tried to rope in US allies in this blame game.
Coronavirus has become a mirror, reflecting the narrow and biased attitude of some Western politicians. Their sense of superiority and deep-rooted arrogance and prejudice are hard to change. As China moves toward the center of the world stage, everything it does may face groundless accusations, because China’s rise is hard to digest for some Western countries.
Some observers believe there is a competition of ideology, national governance, and political system behind the coronavirus fight, but in reality, what is truly behind the combat is the opposition between populists and cooperationists, nationalists and cosmopolitans, and unilateralism and multilateralism.
The exclusivism and nationalism of the US have intensified, and the country has gradually embarked on the path of self-isolation and increased exclusivity. As a vital force in the international community, the US used to help maintain the stability of the global economic and political system and delivered public goods in the interest of the international community. However, now the US not only fails to comply with the international rules but also destabilizes the international order.
Since US President Donald Trump took office, transatlantic relations have been facing multiple challenges. The US-Europe disputes have extended to the field of public health security. The US halted the World Health Organization funding, which exposed the US-Europe divergence on multilateralism The European Union itself is a model based on multilateralism, and the core of its actions lies in multilateralism.
Although the US and the EU have some ideological similarities, the latter will not abandon its concept of multilateralism.
On the other hand, in the face of strategic competition between China and the US, the EU has three options: unite with the US against China, unite with China against the US, or keep strategic autonomy.
The EU hopes to strengthen its strategic autonomy in the era of resurging geostrategic games and competition among major powers. However, amid the pandemic, it is difficult for Europe to coordinate all parties to carry out joint actions, let alone effective countermeasures.
Therefore, even in this critical period, the EU’s decision-making mechanism – a mechanism dominated by its member states – cannot solve the bloc’s problems through short-term policy approaches, legislation, or system construction. As a result, the EU’s position in the changing international order may be further weakened.
From the perspective of pragmatic cooperation, the deadlock in China-Europe relations is more detrimental to Europe as its pandemic prevention and economic recovery will be affected.
At present, the most urgent task is to bring the pandemic under control, protect people’s lives to the greatest extent, and restore the normal order of economic and social development.
The mere portrayal of an imaginary external enemy, fabricating domestic uproar, and diverting people’s attention, will neither help a country solve its internal problems, nor contribute to international cooperation.
–The Daily Mail-Global Times news exchange item