The Trump administration is pushing back against China’s attempts to gaslight the world over its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is hailing nearly $300 million in health and humanitarian aid the U.S. State Department is sending to countries struggling with the pandemic, The Washington Times reported Sunday. The aid package comes amid a propaganda campaign out of China to blame America for the virus’ spread while portraying itself as the hero to nations suffering from COVID-19 outbreaks.
Pompeo: America is leading
Indeed, with more than a little help from credulous Western media, China has attempted to sell its flattering self-image of an altruistic power to a world reeling from the pandemic that it failed to contain. As Americans struggle to supply U.S. hospital workers with adequate medical equipment, China has flexed its leverage over supply chains to play the hero to countries like Italy, where the virus has taken a ghastly toll.
The State Department appeared to push back against Chinese propaganda with a fact sheet Friday asserting that America is “leading the humanitarian and health assistance response to COVID-19,” The Washington Times reported. According to the document, the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will make an “initial investment” of “nearly $274 million in emergency health and humanitarian assistance” to help “64 of the most at-risk countries facing the threat of this global pandemic.”
The new aid consists of roughly $100 million in emergency health assistance and $110 million in humanitarian aid. The U.S. is also sending $24 million to “international organizations like the WHO [World Health Organization] and UNICEF” and $64 million to the United Nations’ Refugee Agency to help developing nations fight existing humanitarian crises that coronavirus will likely worsen.
Dozens of governments will receive millions in health and humanitarian aid to help their governments track and fight COVID-19, including roughly $39 million to the Middle East and North Africa, $23 million for Latin America and the Caribbean, $45 million for Asia, $14 million for Europe and Eurasia, and $59 million for Africa. Some of the largest single beneficiaries are Nigeria, which will receive $7 million; Iraq, which will get $15 million; and Afghanistan, which will receive over $5 million. China is getting nothing.
The United States also allocated over $1 billion in foreign assistance with its first, $8.3 billion coronavirus emergency bill in early March, The New York Times reported.
China gaslights the world
The aid comes amid a war of words between the United States and its top economic rival. Pompeo, for his part, has accused China of covering up the initial outbreak, leaving the world exposed to a deadly pandemic, and then waging a “disinformation campaign” to blame America for the pandemic, according to Reuters. But beyond denying any blame for the crisis, some say that China is exploiting the crisis it helped create to bolster its global image.
ABC News reports that China has been dispatching doctors and medical supplies to countries around the world, including nations like Italy — where over 10,000 people have perished from the disease, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker — to portray itself as a global leader during the crisis. But critics say that the regime is lying about both the nature and benevolent intentions of its coronavirus aid, insisting that China is hoarding supplies and selling, rather than donating, desperately needed equipment to vulnerable countries.
“China creates the poison and sells the solution to it,” foreign affairs expert Gordon Chang told Fox News.
The coronavirus pandemic has also brought renewed attention to China’s dominance of global supply chains, to the alarm of countries around the world grappling with a shortage of supplies with which to fight the deadly disease. In Spain, where more than 7,000 people have died from the virus, authorities say that that thousands of testing kits bought from China are faulty, according to the BBC.
Peter Navarro, a Trump trade representative and notable China hawk, is leading efforts to make the United States government “buy American” to wean the nation away from dependence on China, Fox News notes. Navarro is also in charge of Trump’s efforts to mobilize the production of equipment like respirators and ventilators under the wartime Defense Production Act, according to The Hill.