The American Factor in the Chinese Virus

Did American taxpayer money fund the Chinese virus that ravaged the world? I believe that many people are now afraid to deny that this possibility not only exists, but is quite large. The big reason, of course, is that last week Vanity Fair magazine systematically exposed the inside story of the U.S. tech elite’s downplaying of the “lab leak theory” of the Chinese virus. Frankly, I have long suspected that Peter Daszak, president of the U.S. nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance, has played a highly unsavory role in helping the Chinese Communist Party cover up the truth, but the details revealed in the Vanity Fair article still make me wonder how far he has gone. I was surprised to see how far he had gone.

I used to watch many of the science programs on PBS with which White House medical advisor Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was involved and was very impressed. Therefore, it has been difficult to understand why Trump supporters are so intolerant of Fauci. Now it seems they have a political instinct for tech elites like Fauci that I don’t have, and that political instinct is really largely justified in judging that people like Fauci pose a major threat to America.

That Daszczak plays a despicable role is no longer much in dispute, but how does one define the respective roles of such people and tech elites like Fauci in the U.S.-China confrontation, or more broadly, in the clash of civilizations between China and the West? What are the differences between them? Thinking about this question reminds me of the time when American scientists voluntarily leaked the secret of building the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. The leaker risked his life, not for fame or fortune, but for what he thought was a very noble motive: to deny the United States a monopoly on nuclear weapons and to increase the chances of a U.S.-Soviet balance of deterrence. If one looks at the outcome of the end of the Cold War peace, it seems to prove that they were right to do that at the time. But this logic does not really stand up to deeper scrutiny. It is impossible to prove that the Korean War would not have broken out if Stalin had not had nuclear bombs. And the result of a draw in the Korean War played a very significant historical role in solidifying the bloody rule of the Chinese Communist Party. What is even less provable is that in the future Xi Jinping will not press the nuclear power twist in a moment of desperation.

Fauci’s embarrassment today is likely to prove once again that good intentions and noble motives are a major mechanism for human self-destruction. One interpretation is that Fauci used his power to support the highly risky virus-enhancing research funded by the U.S. at the Wuhan Virus Institute, one consideration being that such research would help enhance humanity’s ability to control future pandemics of viruses. But conservatives in the United States restrict the conduct of such dangerous research, and by funding Chinese virus experts, Zhengli Shi, to conduct such research in China, not only would significant results be obtained, but the cost would be significantly lower than in developed countries.

It is the huge difference in the cost of scientific talent between China and the developed West that has given rise to the role of Daszak, whom some friends have defined as a “global arbitrageur. In the Cold War environment, there were few such arbitrage opportunities, but one of the secrets of China’s rapid rise was to take full advantage of such arbitrageurs in the West. It has often been noted that “globalization arbitrageurs” were present in large numbers in the business world, and then it was recognized that they were also present in the political world. This time, one sees that there is no shortage of such people in academia, especially in the natural sciences, and that they can be a far greater threat to freedom and the future of humanity than even the arbitrageurs in business and politics.

I am encouraged by the ability of the United States to correct its mistakes when the Western media so quickly reveal to the public the relationship of the U.S. scientific and technological elite in this global rampage of the Chinese virus. But a great challenge for the U.S. elite is whether it is too late to “mend the fold”. In the face of this daunting challenge, it is difficult to avoid hindsight accusations among the various political forces, but I see a growing and deepening bipartisan consensus on how to address Xi’s challenge, and the Biden administration’s cooperation with Congress has become more tacit and robust as a result. This time, the U.S. military C-17 transport aircraft suddenly landed at Taipei’s Songshan Airport, bringing timely rain, is clear evidence of this. The dead sheep certainly need a little luck, including the stupidity of your opponents, to help you awaken more people to realize and join.