The COVID-19 pandemic affects not only the world economy, but also international politics. President Trump is seriously considering the possibility of demanding compensation from Beijing for its losses. Anti-Russian rhetoric has resumed with renewed force, both in the West and in the East European neighbors. In an interview with Leonid Slutsky, head of the Duma’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trump threatened to punish China for the coronavirus right up to the breakup of diplomatic relations, the Western special services and the State Department accuse Beijing of destroying and concealing data on COVID-19, the whole world is talking about “Bill Gates’ conspiracy”. Isn’t it premature to look for the culprits?
- Seeking to blame for the pandemic is the last case. It is now necessary to make a concerted and consolidated effort to finally defeat the spread of coronavirus in the world. Trying to point fingers at each other, building conspiracy theories, is an absolute dead end in terms of results.
There is a rather crude element of politicization in Washington’s attempt to shift the responsibility for the COVID-19 outbreak to China. Rather, this line is more related to domestic political factors: presidential elections, problems in the healthcare system, and the general economic downturn. And here the US administration did not invent the bicycle, using the old and longstanding political technology of searching for an external enemy in the American establishment.
And, in principle, it is impossible to say that on the foreign policy flank COVID-19 somehow weakened the battle for leadership, which the U.S. is leading with other world powers. On the contrary, it even escalated. The senators introduced a bill to sanction China unless it provides a full report on the virus outbreak. How do you assess the prospects for sanctions and compensation?
- When you talk about the prospects for claims and ultimatums, you should always keep in mind the boomerang effect. Any aggression breeds aggression. And we have already heard the corresponding counterclaims of Beijing.
But… China has been and remains open to any cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus. Moreover, within two years, Beijing is ready to allocate $2 billion to support states affected by the epidemic. And that’s what China’s leader Xi Jinping said just the other day, so if you are guided by reason again, the anti-Chinese sanctions are an absolutely unfair, meaningless initiative. Yes, however, as well as any sanctions, especially in the new “coronarity. And that’s not just my opinion. As a parallel head of the Russian Peace Foundation, the largest nongovernmental organization, in April I appealed to politicians in the world to abandon the policy of unilateral restrictions adopted in circumvention of the UN to effectively counteract the pandemic. To date, I have continued to receive letters of reply from world capitals in support of this appeal. It was especially important to receive such a response from the UN Secretary General António Guterres.