Is US President Donald Trump losing it?
No, no, what I mean is his re-election bid in November.
His rating is down. His insistence that the new coronavirus (COVID-19) came from a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan, rejected by Beijing, has not gained any traction even among US officials for lack of evidence.
Asked if he had seen anything to prove his accusation, Trump said: “Yes, I have.”
However, he refused to give any details and even Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had not seen any definitive evidence either. (Pompeo later claimed that China deliberately concealed the severity of the pandemic while stockpiling medical supplies, again without citing any concrete proof.)
The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said the intelligence community “concurs with the wide scientific consensus” that the novel coronavirus was “not man-made or genetically modified”.
The ODNI added that it“will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”
Furthermore, the US military’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said that US intelligence has looked into the possibility that the coronavirus outbreak could have started in a Chinese laboratory, but that the “weight of evidence” so far pointed towards “natural” origins.
The World Health Organization (WHO) which supported the theory that COVID-19 was not man-made lost its US funding after Trump accused it of its “China-centric” policy.
The British daily The Guardian said there is no conclusive evidence that the coronavirus came from the wet markets in Wuhan where wild animals were sold for meat.
The daily further said that “analysis of the first 41 Covid-19 patients in medical journal the Lancet found that 27 of them had direct exposure to the Wuhan market. But the same analysis found that the first known case did not.”
Scientists have been resolute in saying there’s no proof of it being engineered by humans. On the contrary, they say it appears to be quite natural in origin, likely coming from bats.
The UNC rumor
One unfounded theory that many seem to believe and amplified by right wing news channels in the US is the claim that COVID-19 was allegedly created at the University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health which is reportedly in the forefront of research in coronavirus.
The UNC rumor, albeit not widely reported in the mass media, continued to spread on social media and message boards although experts and researchers in the field who have examined the genomic structure of COVID-19 have overwhelmingly concluded that the virus originated in wildlife, that it is the result of natural evolution rather than bio-engineering.
Inflation or depression
Lest the readers misunderstand, this piece is not in defense of China. It can and should fend for itself, especially with respect to accusations levelled at it by the US as to the real source of COVID-19.
This is merely an attempt at giving Filipinos information that are withheld from them by the local mainstream media controlled by an oligarchy that is allegedly influenced by a foreign power. I believe it is very important for our people to have a fuller picture of what is happening outside our borders and its implications to us.
For instance, Trump has threatened to punish China for allegedly withholding information on COVID-19 in a more timely manner and “slow-walking” coronavirus data, thus putting US lives at risk.
He even went as far as saying that China “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid and would prefer to see his Democratic rival Joe Biden take the Oval Office in November.
The anti-China measures he has mentioned are more tariffs on Chinese goods and possibly withholding interest payment on the reported Chinese-held $1.5 trillion US Treasury bonds.
If Trump decides to do both, China may retaliate by unloading its US Treasury bonds. The move, however, is double-edged. It may, in the long run, be harmful to China.
But the immediate effect and the “economic war” that might ensue between the two powers, could result not only in a worldwide runaway inflation but could lead to an economic depression pretty much like the one in the l930s.
That would be disastrous for the world and, of course, the Philippines!
It will be noted that Trump has stopped his usual briefing of the White House press corps on COVID-19
Many attributes his decision to his “disinfectant remark.”
Trump has often claimed he is exceptionally smart.
His recent suggestion, however, about injecting disinfectants was not regarded by his own people as smart.
At one White House briefing, Trump said: “I’m not a doctor,” (pointing to his head), “but I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what.”
His suggestion that injections of disinfectants into the human body could help combat the coronavirus, did not sound like that of a doctor, a genius, or a person with a good you-know-what.
China condemned and registered its “strong outrage and firm opposition” to a message from the US Mission to the United Nations re-tweeted by its ambassador to the world body, Kelly Craft.
The message said:
“Barring #Taiwan from setting foot on UN grounds is an affront not just to the proud Taïwanese people, but to UN principles.”
Indeed, it was a provocative statement from the US, having itself recognized and accepted the One China policy in 1979.
On the other hand, China need not have reacted so “violently,” in a manner of speaking, to the US message.
As both China and the US are fully aware, paragraph 2, Article 4, Chapter II of the UN Charter provides that “the admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.”
The US must rue the day it insisted on giving the veto power to the five permanent members of the Security Council, namely, China, France, Russia (formerly Soviet Union), the United Kingdom and the United States. (ia/SovereignPH.com)