Is Incompetence Behind Trump’s anti-China Rhetoric? Covid-19 in Perspective

Op-ed By Azhar Azam

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By Azhar Azam – The global impact of Covid-19 is expanding from human to economic and labor crisis and if the world did not respond with urgent, large-scale and coordinated measures of protecting workers, stimulating economy and supporting jobs and incomes – up to 25 million people could be unemployed that can trigger up to $3.4 trillion of income losses to workers.

The study by the International Labor Organization (ILO) also estimated that this strain on income resulting from the decline in economic activity will push the workers close to below the poverty line and could increase the working poverty by up to 35 million around the world in 2020 as compared to original estimate of 14 million.

Given that that the global financial crisis of 2008-09 elevated the worldwide unemployment by 22 million, the latest ILO projection portrays a ghastly global economic outlook which could spur the universal joblessness by more than 13% to 213 million in “high” scenario. The three low, mid and high situations were assessed on the basis of decline in GDP by 2%, 4% and 8%.

UN agency’s “mid” scenario present a whitish look about high-income countries where 7.4 million people are anticipated to be unemployed out of a total of 13 million. It sounds alarm for the rich nations, such as the US, which would be exposed to the risk of a significant GDP drop in the aftereffects of coronavirus pandemic.

With the coronavirus already beleaguered and laid the country in an undeclared lockdown, the suspension of manufacturing and production activities accompanied by flattened consumption of goods and services, inside and outside the US, would put a squeeze on its economy and speed up the employment seepage from the national job tally.

At a time when the US President Donald Trump should overlook all the discords, at least provisionally, and develop cooperation and engagements with all the nations, especially with China, due to its hands-on experiences in fighting and flooring the coronavirus – Alas, he has moved exactly on the opposite side and ratcheted up criticism on Beijing using a racist tone.

Since the signing of phase-one trade deal, Trump has been pretending to be a responsible, soft-spoken and placatory leader though was relying on his top aides to nitpick China on economic, trade, political and most recently on coronavirus issue. But the unusual public façade of being a serene and placid US president couldn’t last long and he bounced back into his original instinct quickly.

The very same guy, who until last week was praising China for shouldering international fight against Covid-19 by sharing critical information and taking impressive measures to control the spread of virus, suddenly hit the roof and started to blame Beijing for the pandemic. For him, “Chinese virus” isn’t a corrosive or racist term because coronavirus came from China and against which he is leading America’s war.

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Other than Trump himself, perhaps everyone agrees that his repeated comments are racist and provocative. Scot Kennedy, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, slammed his remarks stating “use of this term can’t but be interpreted as xenophobic and tinged with racist overtones.” His rash attitude is now inciting the countrymen to use xenophobic slurs and physically abuse the Asian-Americans.

As the experts, global media outlets and even the public health officials in the White House have avoided practicing such discriminatory behavior – ILO projection about significant economic slowdown and job losses in high-income countries gives an idea why Trump has become so consistent in using the racist expression.

It is not just the UN agency that foresaw a slump in the global economy, predominantly in the rich economies. While the Goldman Sachs last week forecasted that the Covid-19 would drive the US economy into recession through the first half of 2020, Moody’s Analytics too expected the havoc in American economy over the disease prevalence.

David Wilcox, a top economist and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics said earlier this week that an economic downturn due to the coronavirus would put an abrupt end to the longest-running expansion in the US history. He further noted that if it were like an average recession, it would translate into roughly 6% unemployment from existing 3.5% and wipe out 3.5 million jobs from American market.

Behaving the way he is, Trump is played his part “sincerely” in making the jobs disappear from the US. During China’s battle with the coronavirus, he and his aides didn’t take the threat seriously rather “relished” the proceeding alongside attempting to deal a blow to China’s economy by making efforts to steal its manufacturing jobs, investment and exports.

Trump thought that his travel restrictions should be enough to keep the coronavirus outside the border of the US. After his sole gadget to prevent Covid-19 entrance flopped pathetically, he ought to come up and take the responsibility of his languor in responding the challenge that has destroyed small businesses and millions of daily wagers for a longer period.

Meanwhile, the life is returning to normalcy in China which is quite vexing for the Trump administration that hoped Beijing to collapse economically but in the end, has endangered the US economy and jobs by driving it en route for a disaster and is now shrouding its incompetence in anti-China rhetoric.

About Mr. Azam

Azhar Azam works in a private organization as “Market & Business Analyst” and writes on geopolitical issues and regional conflict

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