onsdag 18. mars 2020

Trump and Beijing agree on the coronavirus crisis: It's someone else's fault

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world and many governments prove themselves less than prepared to cope, the blame game is heating up. But while there is plenty of opprobrium to go around in areas where the virus is now rapidly spreading -- particularly over why precautions were not put in place earlier, when health experts were warning the outbreak would not remain contained in Asia -- some top officials are pointing the finger further afield.

In a tweet late Monday, US President Donald Trump said his administration would be supporting industries "that are particularly affected by the Chinese virus," echoing previous comments by Republican lawmakers tying the outbreak to China, where cases of the novel coronavirus were first identified. Trump has previously referred to a "foreign virus" in his speeches to the nation.

That has been widely viewed -- particularly in Beijing -- as an attempt to blame China for the pandemic itself, obfuscating any responsibility US and other officials have for their own handling of it. And while China's handling of the outbreak in the early weeks has come under intense scrutiny and deserved criticism, once the virus arrived overseas, so too did the responsibility to contain it.