The Cowardliness of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and the Fragility of Chinese Power
Ever since Donald Trump announced he was halting funding to the World Health Organization, Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has extolled the virtues of international solidarity and cooperation while not facing the music for his own misdeeds. According to Adhanom’s defenders, Trump isscapegoating the WHO and China for the current pandemic. Real leaders, we are told, come together during times of crisis to solve problems.
Which is exactly Adhanom needs to go.
Criticizing Trump is probably the least brave thing any international figure could do. He’s not exactly very popular. Standing up for Taiwan? Now that would be difficult, but Adhanom’s WHO spurred them in December when Taiwan was warning about a likely pandemic and potential human-to-human transmission.
Another thing that would be difficult would be to stand up for Trump and the United States. Did Adhanom tweet about solidarity while his CCP benefactors were propagating the conspiracy theory that the virus was brought to China by the U.S. Army? No, of course he didn’t.
But, Taiwan is not a member of the WHO and defending the big, bad United States is not exactly popular. Surely he can at least defend Australia, right? Maybe not
There have bipartisan calls in Australia for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak. The Chinese government has blasted the idea and the Chinese Ambassador in Canberra responded with veiled threats that Australia could suffer economically from such a proposal, ‘“Maybe the ordinary people will say ‘Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?’”
Canberra has rejected such threats and the rest of the world should too. All three examples show the cowardliness of the World Health Organization and its director, but it also shows what the world can expect from a raising China.
Chinese leaders have a seemingly paradoxical view of themselves. They are extremely self-confident. They, of course, agree with the view that the 21st century is the Chinese Century. They view the raise of Chinese power as inevitable and therefore every other country, especially the U.S. and it’s Pacific allies, should get with the program.
They are also extremely self-conscience. To a CCP official, the Chinese Century, is a chance to right a historic wrong, mainly China’s embarrassment and dismemberment at the hands of foreign (i.e. Western) colonizers in previous centuries. Any criticism of them hits a sore spot. Criticism or failing to acquiesce to its foreign policy demands — such as turning the South China Sea into it’s own private lake — is equated with racism which is equated with said historic embarrassment and dismemberment.
To ensure compliance with Beijing’s dictates, officials use threats against private organizations such as the NBA and against foreign countries, such as Australia. In it’s view, China’s massive economy and market size should compel smaller entities into compliance, because nobody purposefully acts against their own economic self-interest.
The problem for Beijing is that their cover-up of the virus may go down in history as the worst geopolitical own goal since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
There is already talk, and so far it is mostly just talk, about Western nations decoupling from China. There has been some walk. For instance, Japan has paid businesses to pull out of the country, the U.K., is having second thoughts about Huawei, and Sweden has closed its last Confucius Institute, but there has not been a tectonic shift in world geopolitics… yet. Time and the November election will tell just how far the West is willing to go in distancing itself from China.
Beijing's power and influence depend on the current international system. That is why you see a growing number of Americans, mostly on the right, urging a decoupling from China. While they seek to replace the United States, it’s raise depends on the U.S. and our allies seeing their rise on benign. Trade and domestic manufacturing have made China rich. It uses those riches to further its influence abroad, whether that be in money for development projects in foreign countries or in military modernization programs.
It then uses that influence to censor international criticism and as it specifically relates to West, play it against itself domestically because many in the West are sensitive to allegations of racism where as others view such allegations as a censorship tactic.
One of those it has intimidated as been Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and his World Health Organization, which is why he needs to go, an investigation into the organization needs to be conducted, and needs to be reformed before the U.S. reinstates funding.