Saturday, May 25, 2024

From quarantine against democracy

Author: Sefer Selimi Jr.

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic put the world in quarantine. Currently, one-third of the world’s population is in self isolation in an effort to stop the spread of the virus for which there is still no specific treatment or preventive vaccine, although scientific laboratories are eagerly trying with all their capacities to find the magic potion. Of course, this, in addition to gratitude, prestige and perhaps even the Nobel Prize, will bring billions of dollars into the accounts of pharmaceutical companies.

In spite of the superhuman efforts of doctors, security forces, journalists, volunteers and other front-line fighters against the virus, parallel clashes develop when the world is quarantined. The global scene that is filled with fear and uncertainty turns into fertile ground for old clashes in new forms.

Even before the outbreak of the pandemic, US-China relations developed in the context of a cross-tariff trade war in an attempt to renegotiate trade agreements between the two countries, which President Trump describes as harmful to the US economy and China’s dishonest advantage over the US. The main conflict was developing in the volume of trade exchanges and other important issues such as copyrights, spying, copying and technological innovation that China dishonestly abused by violating trade rules and fair competition for commercial advantage. This clash has now escalated to yet another front. The outbreak of the global pandemic began in Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei province of the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese Communist Party at the beginning of the crisis tried to hide the outbreak of the new Korona virus by checking official information and ensuring world leaders that everything was under control. However, the doctor from Wuhan Central Hospital, Li Wenliang, who first spoke publicly and warned colleagues about Covid-19, was fired and persecuted for false alarm by Chinese authorities. Unfortunately, the hero doctor died of a coronavirus infection, which he received while serving his patients.

Just as the virus is spreading globally, so is the game of culprit between the US and China, to the extent that the US president now calls it the “Chinese virus” while Chinese state propaganda, including spokesman of the Chinese government accuse the US military of fabricating and distributing the virus in China. The facts are that the virus originally spread in China, and research by various scientific centers confirm that the virus was not manufactured in a laboratory but is a mutation of the corona virus that most likely comes from illegal mammal markets in China, the markets where they even serve the bats who are believed to be the transmitters of the virus to humans.

The war further sharpened when the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced it would expel a number of journalists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Although this act was linked to the restriction of up to 100 journalists imposed by the Trump administration on some of the state-run media operating in the US that are described as propaganda tools by the Communist Party of China, the real reason lies with the work of American journalists who have reported since the outbreak of the Wuhan epidemic but also on a series of corruption scandals of Chinese officials.

The culprit’s game will deepen further, and of course, China, the country from which the epidemic broke out, will seek to take advantage of this situation to advance its strategic interests. We are beginning to see the efforts that, after overcoming its crisis, China tends to emerge as a global savior in the war against the emerging pandemic, tried to camouflage itself even though it was spread from it. Even more unscrupulous is the promotion of the conspiracy theories that the virus was fabricated against them, while the economy that is hit hardest is the US.

As in many other cases, this effort synchronously joins the efforts of Russia and President Putin to divide and deepen the crisis in the European Union. Recent reports suggest that centers closely linked to the Kremlin have launched a coordinated campaign of misinformation about the pandemic, with the aim of undermining confidence in European institutions in the hope of the eventual destruction of the Union.

Even at this time of pandemic when the war with the coronavirus is the main focus and concern, from quarantine continues the war against democracy to present a different model of governance, with authoritarian leaders who can produce quick solutions. Hard times follow, but every crisis comes with a new opportunity.

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