Although having the most confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths in the world and facing the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Trump administration seems indifferent about its own erratic response. In contrast, the Trump Administration seeks to shift blame for the U.S. outbreak and is constructing an offensive layered accusation strategy. China is undoubtedly in the central core of this strategy, the WHO occupies the second layer, Obama and others in the third layer. But excessively shifting blame is not helping America, it only adds domestic and international confusion.
China-centered blame game leaves U.S. blind for facts and makes other Five Eyes' members awkward
After years of acrimonious trade tensions, U.S. national strategy is driven by China. This trend is more obvious within this pandemic. "Anything but China" is at the core of the U.S. Layered Accusation Strategy. Since the beginning of the covid-19 outbreak, Trump vocal supporters have long sought to blame China and all their framing rhetoric can be divided into 3 parts.
The first part is about the origin of covid-19. When speaking publicly, governors are encouraged to say that covid-19 is definitely from China. Even if it was not leaked from a Wuhan lab, it was from the nature of China. Even if it did not originate from the nature of China, it was found by Chinese scientists.
The second part is to completely criticize all Chinese government reactions to fighting against the virus; If China use technology to track cases, that means violating human rights. If the situation is under control, that means a cover up. If Chinese international medical assistance gains praise globally, that is Xi's trick - 'mask diplomacy'.
The third part is about China's responsibility. The leading republicans have raised bills that China should pay financially for what they allege was a cover up that ultimately brought the U.S. economy to a near halt. The republicans clearly know this is difficult to reconcile, but all their effort is to shift U.S. people's anger and disappointment from Trump's late response to somewhere else.
Apparently, except for diverting people's attention, the Trump Administration's scapegoat seeking efforts like "China Virus", "Chinese government's responsibility" take no effect. After all, CDC's coronavirus "glaring scientific breakdown" in testing kits was not China's fault, and Trump's erratic response was not China's fault either.
Meanwhile, the U.S. intelligence community is concerned Trump's claims that he has seen evidence confirming coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab is disrupting intelligence work. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said "What I worry about is this (covid-19 originated from Chinese lab) now seems to be the focus of the White House and the president's animosity, and I am concerned if the White House is trying to influence our intelligence product."
Australia and other members of Five Eyes are also stuck in the U.S and China's debate. Pompeo has cited Australia by name as lending support to the White House claims about the origin of covid-19. But Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reiterated that his desire for an inquiry about the origin of Covid-19 is apolitical. "It's a pretty honest question, with an honest intent and an honest motive," he has sdaii.
U.S. arbitrarily changing minds for WHO funds further decrease U.S. credibility
Although Fox News recently reported U.S. President Trump's claim to "agree to pay up to what China pays in assessed contributions" to the WHO, his back and forth behavior diminishes US leadership. Bill Gates said,"Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds." The medical community and scores of leaders around the world said the halt would undercut global efforts to combat a pandemic. U.S. credibility is dangerously low and Trump's nationalism further downplays its leading role, especially in the developing world. After all, unilateralism can't help the global fight against the virus.
Helping Trump Administration escape accusations has no benefit on pandemic prevention and economic recovery
As the 2020 election approaches, Obama became Trump's main target. Trump has complained over and over that he inherited a depleted medical stockpile from the Obama administration, but he glosses over the fact that he had been in office for 3 years before the Covid-19 reached the U.S. He could have replenished that crucial medical equipment and supplies if that was one of his priorities. Blaming Obama or other senior U.S. health officers like Anthony Fauci will not save lives from Covid-19 or benefit the healthcare reform. Fauci had warned that reopening the economy too soon would result in massive infection, not only kill more people, but also impede the pace of economic recovery. But Trump refuted Fauci's warning saying it was "unacceptable". Although opening up America again might save the economy, Trump and his staff's intent on using this pandemic as an election tool will lead America nowhere.
Rather than racking his brains through this blame game, Trump should put more time and energy figuring out the real measures in terms of pandemic prevention, material supplement and economic construction. Mastering in the blame game will only bring disaster to Americans and the rest of the world. Although Trump may believe in realism international relations theory, in the irreversible trend of globalization, he is playing with fire, making scores of enemies across the world.