søndag 22. mars 2020

Xi Jinping May Welcome Trump’s Racism

The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a new low-point for the already strained relationship between the U.S. and China—and it could get worse in the months ahead as the toll rises and there is more urgency to assign blame. At the White House press conference on Thursday, President Trump repeated his criticism of China for having kept the virus secret after it was first discovered in Hubei province, and argued that if it hadn’t done so the virus could have been contained there. Meanwhile, China’s foreign ministry is peddling insinuations of biological warfare, alleging that the virus was created by the U.S. military.

There is a crude geopolitical contest playing out, to be sure. But that contest is connected to domestic political realities in both countries, and in that regard, Trump is helping Xi Jinping immensely.

While the Trump administration has shown itself to be woefully incompetent at organizing key elements of the response to the pandemic—most importantly failing to make coronavirus testing available and accessible at the necessary scale and scope—it has been remarkably efficient at coordinating with Republicans in Congress and Fox News on calling the coronavirus the “Wuhan virus,” the “Chinese virus,” or even—according to a White House reporter—appallingly “Kung Flu.”