America cannot have its cake and eat it

05 Sep, 2021 - 00:09 0 Views
America cannot have its cake and eat it

The Sunday Mail

Kuda Bwititi

EARLIER this week, without any sense of irony, CNN’s David Culver ran a feature titled, “How China pushes conspiracy theory on Covid-19 origin.”

In that clip, Culver said: “China is pursuing an aggressive propaganda campaign aimed to sow doubt and deflect blame for the origins of Covid-19 – as an inconclusive US intelligence report left open multiple theories, including the possibility that the virus escaped from a Wuhan lab, China’s propagandists are pointing the finger back at the US.”

The irony is writ large.

The US has itself been at the forefront of pushing desperate propaganda about the origins of the Covid-19 virus, seeking to smear China as the originator of the disease either as a bioweapon or because of a leak from a laboratory.

The US intelligence community, which was tasked by President Joe Biden to corroborate and prove these claims, last week said its findings were inconclusive.

The US intelligence community was itself divided.

However, a more nuanced look at the situation will show that the division of opinion has more to do with politics than science.

The question that must now be dividing Americans is whether they must continue harping on about a discredited conspiracy theory and political smear campaign against China or not?

This obviously is something that is contentious given that hawks in the US establishment — including in the intelligence and media — seek to keep an unhealthy combative relationship with China for political capital.

This is why, on Monday, a report by US Republican lawmakers insisted that “preponderance of evidence” allegedly proved the virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic leaked from a Chinese research, claiming “ample evidence” and that scientists could modify coronaviruses to infect humans, and such manipulation could be hidden.

Such double standards are simply appalling.

The US cannot have its cake and eat it.

If the Americans want science to answer pressing questions of the day, they should accept when results come out in a way that does not serve politics.

It cannot go both ways.

From the onset, science has shown that not only is origin tracing a difficult proposition: it is also a costly exercise that could drag on for a time and requires objectivity rather than subjective political goals and processes.

If anyone was surprised about the inconclusive results, it was not health experts and officials.

In any case, in January when China allowed 200 experts from the World Health Organisation to investigate the origins of the virus, the conclusions were that China did not manufacture the virus, neither was it a definitive source where the zoonotic disease crossed to humans.

Those with experience hunting viruses in their natural habitats know just how difficult it is to track their origins.

Many had said from the beginning that there is insufficient evidence to pinpoint the moment in which the coronavirus infected its first human victim — and, based on experience with previous novel pathogens, the evidence will almost certainly never be found.

Scientists have been open from the start that the moment when a virus jumps from an animal to a human, known as a spillover event, is almost impossible to identify.

If the virus itself is unknown to science before it infects its first victim, health care professionals do not have the ability to test for it; if the victim is treated in a hospital setting, the doctors do not know what they are looking at.

Even in retrospect, once a pathogen becomes a global public health threat, finding evidence of its origins rarely occurs.

After half a century of occasional outbreaks in African nations, scientists have never firmly established the reservoir host of the Ebola virus, though a certain species of bat is the likeliest suspect.

Washington has adopted a “cold war” mentality when dealing with China, harking back to a time of little engagement and extremely tense relations between two superpowers.

The extreme China policy of the previous US administration under Donald Trump has caused serious damage and such a situation has not changed and is even continuing.

Therefore, it is prudent to end the politicisation of uncovering the origins of Covid-19, and extend a thorough study to secretive bases and biological laboratories in other countries where early cases were detected.

From the onset, Washington failed to manage the pandemic, continuing to ignore the hard work of scientists and sought to use intelligence means to carry out origin tracing, hyped the “lab leak theory” and politicised the pandemic.

Through painstaking efforts, China has led global efforts to bring the pandemic under control and has shown resilience and continues playing a critical role in fighting Covid-19 and helping other countries rebuild their economies during the pandemic.

 

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