Nearly 90% of the ingredients used to create pharmaceuticals used by Americans come from China. The lion’s share of masks and other gear necessary to slow the spread of infectious diseases are produced in China. There are Chinese components in nearly every piece of equipment used in hospitals across our country. Most importantly, the bulk of the data pertaining to the coronavirus is centered in China.
For these and other reasons, President Trump must maintain solid diplomatic footing with China regarding the coronavirus. Despite efforts over the last three years to reduce our dependency on China, decades of bad policies and corporate desires for cheap labor and resources have placed China squarely in the center of our healthcare system. It will take years to disentangle ourselves from this web, and that’s assuming President Trump is reelected. If not, it may never happen.
This should be the trumpet call for an “America First” mentality within the healthcare industry. Placing so much prominence on Chinese imports to keep our medical readiness and effectiveness at high levels is nearly as idiotic as relying on China to supply us weapons. We wouldn’t put Chengdu J-20s on our aircraft carriers because we couldn’t trust them. Why do we trust China to supply our medical needs?
The reality is, we don’t. At least this administration doesn’t. But until the outbreak of the coronavirus, weaning ourselves from China’s iron grip on the healthcare industry was secondary to securing a proper trade deal. It was the right order of steps; we needed the various trade deals before we started pulling back on our dependence. But that was before the coronavirus, something nobody (other than maybe Dean Koontz) could have predicted.
Now that we’re face-to-face with a possible pandemic unlike anything we’ve seen in decades, it’s time to adjust our priorities. The President knows this. But he can’t make that play right now because even though China is hurting, they still hold all the cards. If it turns out we need to bring in more supplies quickly, the President needs to be able to fall back on both leverage, which he has, and diplomacy, which he is maintaining.
Congratulations and thank you to our great Vice President & all of the many professionals doing such a fine job at CDC & all other agencies on the Coronavirus situation. Only a very small number in U.S., & China numbers look to be going down. All countries working well together!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2020
For some reason, there are fools on both the left and the right attacking the President for not lambasting China on Twitter over their botching of the coronavirus. It’s true, they really did botch it and are likely still holding back crucial information in an effort to save face for the Chinese Communist Party.
Perhaps there will be a day in the near future when the President can Tweet to the world what he really thinks about how China has handled this outbreak. In the meantime, he must maintain a positive diplomatic stance, and if that means Tweeting platitudes at them, so be it.
Some people want the President to annihilate China on Twitter the way he has in the past, the way he continues to do with Democrats and mainstream media. But now’s not the time. Let’s see the coronavirus contained. Then he can lambaste them.