Assuming the US report says Covid-19 is a Chinese-made virus developed at the WIV that deliberately combined bat viruses with the as yet incurable AIDS virus so that it could transmit to humans, what is to be done?
The noose is finally tightening. China has presented a golden opportunity to the United States. For long years the US has appeased Red China despite its sharp trade practices, its espionage, the one-sided trade deficits, its diplomatic belligerence, its military sabre-rattling. All this because of its reliance on a profitable supply chain. It was a win-win situation for which some irritants were best ignored. But now, the world has lost 3.5 million dead to Covid of which the US accounts for over 591,265.
The world’s first global bio-warfare indemnities and reparations are about to fall due. But only sovereign executive action by the US can make them stick. Even US-based lawsuits are unlikely to yield enforceable results.
China, said Biden recently, is fixing to “eat our lunch”. The President, with decades of experience in government, knows a calibrated confrontation with China cannot be avoided, or put off any longer.
The decision to fix responsibility for Covid was taken soon after a two-hour conversation between Biden and Jinping, with the latter conceding nothing except a willingness to cooperate on climate change. And like the “thug” Biden called Xi informally, Jinping warned of a “disaster for both” if penalised for Covid.
China may well be running scared under the bluster. It is already reeling under massive internal and external debt, large scale unemployment, food shortages, simmering domestic discontent. Its GDP and exports are sharply down.
Former President Trump imposed tariffs and a trade war but the indemnities were waiting till the pandemic could be managed. Germany wanted to impose $160 billion for itself, but Trump was thinking in trillions.
China is also hard-pressed to continue financing its external infrastructure projects. However, with massive censorship, repression, propaganda and “wolf warrior” diplomacy, China strives to present a business-as-usual façade. Course correcting a little lately, Xi has asked his diplomats to become “lovable” and reach out to the international media.
Biden has tasked the US “intelligence agencies” including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This is in supersession of all the doctorly opinionating so far, and is a clear-cut geopolitical move.
In the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) centenary year, the foregone conclusions in the intelligence report will be submitted, unless Biden wants to absolve the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), of all blame. This, in less than 90 days from now.
Assuming the report says Covid-19 is a Chinese-made virus developed at the WIV that deliberately combined bat viruses with the as yet incurable AIDS virus so that it could transmit to humans, what is to be done?
China will have to pay for accidentally or deliberately leaking the virus. And then spreading it via at least 400,000 infected or carrier Chinese travelling from Wuhan, not to Beijing or Yunnan, but to the US, Europe, and other parts of the world, for over 90 days. Three months of spreading the virus before China announced the existence of Covid-19.
First, there will be formal indictments. Then, massive demands by way of fines and reparations. Avoiding the International Court of Justice that China does not recognise, and which has no power to enforce its decisions, is desirable. Ditto the UN where China has compromised many of its agencies, including the WHO. And where it possesses a veto in the UNSC.
If China refuses to pay, as is expected, the economic sanctions, confiscations and bans will have to begin. Both Chinese exports and imports will have to bear the brunt. Chinese services and infrastructure companies will probably also be banned.
The American actions taken will provide a template for countries the world over. The effort will be to severely punish China economically. Sovereign or diplomatic immunity will not be infringed upon to avoid retaliation. Visas to Chinese nationals may be denied. Chinese organisations, often used for spying, may be expelled. Ditto, Chinese students and academics. Chinese assets and investments in the US can be seized as compensation. Share values in all Chinese companies listed on US bourses can be captured.
India’s imports from China were at under $67 billion before most, plus services and companies were banned after Chinese aggression in Eastern Ladakh. That too was trying to take advantage of the Indian preoccupation with the pandemic.
The US imported almost $500 billion worth from China in 2020. Many countries, on their own initiative, including India and Canada, have banned Chinese 5G firms like Huawei, fearing espionage.
There will need to be a series of economic actions and sanctions to compensate for the trillions of dollars in US damages. America could redirect all imports from China to other countries. It supplies the US with electrical machinery, other machinery, furniture, bedding, toys, sports equipment, plastics, food and snack items. Services from China are worth $20 billion.
In retaliation China will probably ban $125 billion worth of US imports. Compared to the damage done to America, this loss would be minuscule. Besides, this pandemic as bio-warfare was planned by the Chinese military two years ago. This is documented.
While up-to-date figures are still being compiled, the US economy contracted 3.5% in 2020, something not seen since 1946. The US budget deficit at nearly $3.5 trillion was at 16% of GDP. To bounce back, huge stimulus packages are being processed as part of an unprecedented $6 trillion annual budget by the Biden administration.
America has suffered over $12 trillion in losses during 2020, plus equivalent indirect losses. That is almost two years’ US gross domestic product (GDP). Halfway through 2021, a third wave or more only has the massive and costly vaccination drive to stave it off.
The US unemployment rate in May 2020 was at 14.7%, up from just 3.5% before the pandemic. This has not been seen since the Great Depression.
Many countries, led by the US example, will not buy Chinese despite temporarily increased costs. This will create new trade linkages outside Chinese influence. This will be awkward at first, because China has long been a supplier of raw materials, manufacturing parts and finished goods. It will also be monitored and prevented from channelling its goods via proxies.
China has penetrated the sovereignty of many of its debtor nations like a latter-day East India Company ruthlessly seizing territory. It has inadvertently shown the way on how to deal with it. Seizing Chinese assets seems eminently fair.
All this, while checking and curbing China’s military and diplomatic attempts to wiggle out of the situation, and its pursuit of world domination.
In the end, it must be remembered that a prosperous Red China was created by the Nixon-Mao entente in the 1970s. But China only began its double-digit growth under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s. 30 years later, China was a US-fuelled powerhouse and second biggest economy in the world. But this prosperity turned its head and changed its attitude.
The CCP, its militant generals and supreme leader now think it is time to topple the US. However, the unseemly haste of this pandemic, engineered to bring the world to its economic knees, may be China’s Pearl Harbour moment.
To check any military adventurism, coalitions of battle-hardened military checks by multiple countries will indeed be active in the Indian Ocean and the Indo-Pacific. There will be an unprecedented policing of all the possible flash points in the land and seas of the region, and heightened alerts elsewhere. China’s belt and road, silk route, and string of pearls initiatives will be constrained using diplomatic pressure on its junior partners. Those who supply China with raw materials, petroleum and even access, will be asked to stop if necessary. The Straits of Malacca, a main conduit for Chinese supplies to its Pacific ports will be watched and monitored. Along with Hambantota, Gwadar, Chabahar, Djibouti, and elsewhere where China has bases or access.
China could, in turn, menace non-nuclear states in the Pacific/South/East China Sea region such as Vietnam, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan. It could also move against India knowing that nuclear weapons cannot be used.
However, once China undertakes any overt military action, it will allow others to retaliate, and possibly expose its lack of battle experience.
There has been a grave miscalculation on Xi Jinping’s part. It is the failure of megalomaniacs throughout history who underestimate their adversaries. This hubris will, instead destroy the hold of Xi Jinping and the CCP over the hopefully titled Middle Kingdom.