World Politics amid the Pandemic
(May 2020)

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, conflicts between the U.S. and China have further escalated. According to the Japan Times, the U.S. claims that a Chinese high-security biosafety center, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), may be the cradle of the pandemic. The Washington Post quoted anonymous sources who voiced concern that the virus may have come accidentally from the facility, and revealed that officials were especially concerned about the inadequate safety at the lab.

On the other hand, China promoted conspiracy theories that the U.S. army may have brought the virus to China. The Chinese government ordered the deportation of American journalists in March, which made international societies harden their attitude toward China. Furthermore, the Chinese government insists that their one-party autocracy is superior to democracy in containing the coronavirus epidemic. However, this propaganda may enhance Chinafs isolation, losing trust around the world.

As of April 30, in the U.S., the number of coronavirus infections topped 1 million, with a death toll 58,000. If this horrible situation continues, the U.S. economy will further decline, and as a consequence, China may supplant the U.S. as the leader of the worldfs economy.

But would Western nations suffering from the coronavirus pandemic appreciate an authoritarian nation like China? I donft think so. The value of freedom and democracy wonft be easily overturned despite Western nationsf failures in controlling the explosion of coronavirus. It can be said that Japan has pursued control of the coronavirus epidemic while respecting human rights as much as possible. Democratic nations and areas such as South Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan have reported succeeding in curbing their epidemics.

Professor Dani Rodrik of Harvard University insists that; Whatever excuses U.S. President Donald Trump uses to escape from his responsibility of gOvershooth in America, this calamity is a crisis that could have been anticipated and ought to be prepared. At first, President Trump made light of the gravity of this crisis. As a consequence, when infections and inpatients rapidly began to increase, a serious situation arose with a shortage of medical materials such as ventilators. (Summary, Nikkei Inc. April 24, 2020)

President Trump denies this point of view and has accused China of spreading the virus around the world. Even if these claims are attributed to the Presidential election on November, China should improve transparency surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and steer towards cooperation with international societies. Nevertheless, the Chinese government has raised the level of nationalism that makes other nations enemies, which will lead to the depreciation of China.

By Yuzuru Takeuchi