Up For A New Cold War—with China?

Up For A New Cold War—with China? By Pat Buchanan.

According to Politico, a 57-page memo [PDF] from Mitch McConnell’s senatorial committee instructs GOP candidates to blame the coronavirus pandemic on China, commit to stand up to China, end U.S. dependence on Chinese manufacturing and tell voters “my opponent is soft on China.”

“China is not an ally, and they’re not just a rival—they are an adversary and the Chinese Communist Party is our enemy,” reads one of the talking points.

Sunday, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas echoed the memo, charging that China’s leaders wanted the coronavirus to spread because they “did not want to see their relative power and standing in the world decline.”

Cotton went on: “It’s a scandal to me that we have trained so many of the Chinese communists. If Chinese students want to come here and learn Shakespeare and the Federalist Papers—that’s what they need to learn from America; they don’t need to learn quantum computing and artificial intelligence from America.”

The Wall Street Journal ran back-to-back editorials last week urging a more confrontational stance toward Beijing and endorsing GOP plans for new defense spending on U.S. air and naval forces in the Western Pacific.

Cotton and the Journal are not wrong in their characterization of China’s behavior. It is belligerent toward its neighbors and hostile toward the United States.

That pdf he refers to is very interesting. Recommended reading for the political buffs. It is the Republican strategy, as of 17 April. You can see it echoed in the last week’s media.

The right-wing strategy gives no truck to the theories based on misinformation about nearing herd immunity, or that the number of undetected COVID cases is many times the number of confirmed cases. (There are many reports misquoting or misunderstanding studies in Iceland, Santa Clara in California, Chicago, and other places that try to make this point. The only properly randomized study to date is in Austria,which found that there are four times as many people in total with COVID as confirmed cases. About 75% of those infected were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms. This is similar to what China claimed. All the other studies selected people who were more likely to have COVID. Some didn’t even rise above the false positive rate of antibody tests, yet they are trumpeted as fact in certain echo chambers.)

I wonder if President Bolsonaro of Brazil is the victim of that misinformation? He adopted a very dramatic and hardline stance against locking down, echoing the initial Chinese propaganda that it was no worse than the flu. Unfortunately, having gone so public, he is locked into his position politically. Brazil will suffer many unnecessary deaths as a result, before he finally capitulates and locks down.

Remember, this is a coronavirus. Immunity to other coronaviruses typically only lasts two to three years. At the rate they are going, Brazil and Sweden will never build up herd immunity simply because those initially infected will have lost their immunity well before herd immunity is reached, and then they will catch it all over again. Even if they did somehow build up herd immunity after years of widespread sickness and death, they would lose it again in another couple of years — and have to go through it all over again. Herd immunity to a virus is not inevitable. There is no herd immunity to HIV, rabies, ebola, or the black plague.

Bolsonaro would have been better off paying attention to what the US Republicans or the US Government were doing. Get out of the way of this virus and wait for a biotech solution (which may well not be a vaccine — there is still no vaccine to HIV).

*Edited, the Austrian study showed 4 times as many infections as were confirmed that week not 2 times.