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The U.S. should be working with China to end the Pandemic, Not provoking a new cold war

State and local officials can help save lives by independently reaching out to China.
By Anti-War Committee |
March 28, 2020
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Fight Back News Service is circulating the statement from the MN Anti-War Committee.

The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest global crisis since World War 2. Millions may die in the coming weeks as the coronavirus spreads exponentially on every continent, irrespective of national borders. Hospital systems will be overwhelmed, supply chains will be stretched, shortages will be widespread, and impacts will be universal. Humanity will be united like never before, in struggle against an unprecedented public health threat.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration seems hellbent on using this crisis to further divide us. Trump’s insistence on calling coronavirus “the Chinese virus” has fueled right-wing calls for so-called “consequences” against China, the country where the virus was first identified. This rhetoric of blame has led to stigma and racist attacks against Asian-Americans, and recently caused a diplomatic row that saw the expulsion of journalists from both countries.

Blaming China is also wildly unproductive for the U.S.’s fight against the disease itself. As the first country to experience a COVID-19 outbreak, China’s doctors have invaluable experience in treating and containing the disease. The World Health Organization has praised China for its efforts, and China’s public health response has been among the most successful in the world. Italy has invited and greeted planeloads of Chinese doctors with applause. Trump has only antagonized and mocked China’s hard-won expertise. Likewise, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has insisted on calling the disease “the Wuhan virus”, and laughably claimed that “the Chinese Communist Party poses a substantial threat to our health”.

This all comes on top of Trump’s long running trade war with China. The Office of the US Trade Representative has admitted that “the imposition of tariffs on certain Chinese imports has resulted in an overall decline in the availability of needed medical equipment and supplies.” US companies rely on China, “the world’s factory,” not only for medical supplies but basic machine parts and raw materials. The reality is that a decisive portion of the world’s productive capacity lies within China’s borders. Worsening political relations is a recipe for disaster.

Republicans are not the first to ratchet up tension with China. President Obama’s “pivot to Asia” policy saw further militarization of the Pacific region with increased US troop presence in places like the Philippines, Japan and Guam. This strategy, which largely continues under Trump, is a clear perpetuation of the anti-communist “containment” strategy pursued by the US during the Cold War, now aimed at China.

The Anti-War Committee says, “No New Cold War!” The world should be working together to build a better society for all, not dividing itself and preparing for mass destruction. A global pandemic calls for a global response. We want our leaders to work together with other nations to address this crisis.

We call on leaders at the state and local levels to urgently develop independent relations with China, and to stand with Asian-American communities against Trump’s racism. When it comes to COVID-19, poor and oppressed communities inside the US have the most to lose from the Trump administration’s warmongering and refusal to back down. Governors, county administrators, mayors and city council members should immediately seek out advice from Chinese experts and explore possibilities for material assistance. Lives depend on it!

Money for human needs, not war!

inspector