Even before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China late last year, the Sino-U.S. relationship had been in a period of flux. Since coming to office in 2017, President Trump made rebalancing ties with China the centerpiece of his foreign policy. Claiming that it would no longer be business as usual with Beijing, Trump began to respond more forcefully to what he had long claimed were unfair Chinese trade practices, cyberespionage, military intimidation, and global propaganda campaigns.
Beijing’s propagandists believe the coronavirus pandemic will bring about the end of U.S. hegemony, “the American Century” as they call it. They are right in one narrow sense. The disease, which has reached almost every country and crippled societies across continents, has the feel of an epoch-ending event. What is likely to end, however, is not U.S. leadership. It’s Beijing’s audacious grab for global dominance.
As a plague compounds our political divisions, it’s essential to recall that the cause of the global carnage is not across the congressional aisle or parliamentary divide. This pandemic came courtesy of the breathtaking (literally, in this case) ruthlessness of the Chinese dictatorship, whose policies nurtured, hid, and fostered the spread of the COVID-19 virus currently killing our citizens by the tens of thousands and crippling economies worldwide.