Punishing China for COVID
Mike Pompeo and Scooter Libby lay out just what Joe Biden and others need to do.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, we’ve argued he was Donald Trump’s best hire. He showed everyone why once again Tuesday with an op-ed coauthored with former Dick Cheney aid Lewis “Scooter” Libby and published in, of all places, The Washington Post.
It’s remarkable enough to see the Trump wing of the GOP collaborating with the George W. Bush wing on a policy recommendation, but it’s even more significant that the objective is essentially recommending ways to, as Mark Alexander wrote last year, “send Xi Jinping the bill” for the ChiCom Virus pandemic. And the WaPo published it.
Pompeo and Libby cut right to the chase:
A great diplomatic challenge lies before the Biden administration. Chinese Communist Party malfeasance sped the coronavirus into an unsuspecting world, killing 3.7 million people so far and inflicting global economic havoc. President Biden has an opportunity and responsibility to lead a fair, effective international response. Whether he does so will have enormous implications for the future.
Unfortunately, they write, “Biden shows little sign of rising to this task.” They point to Biden’s intelligence community investigation as a good sign, but they diplomatically leave out the fact that Biden killed Pompeo’s State Department probe. They also warn that Biden has hedged on whether the true source can ever be known.
The pair continue:
The bill of particulars against the CCP begins with the overwhelming evidence that for weeks in late 2019 and early 2020, as the coronavirus was loose in China and people fell ill, Beijing covered up its dangers, exponentially accelerating international harm. Even as CCP leaders eventually imposed domestic restrictions, they allowed unwitting travelers to visit infected zones and then spread disease and death abroad.
And it was China’s reckless conduct of inherently dangerous activities — whether in unsanitary “wet markets,” where live animals are sold for food, or in CCP-run virology labs — that unleashed the virus in the first place.
Again, Pompeo and Libby choose the diplomatic path, allowing the “wet market” theory to still stand as a possibility. As we have documented extensively, however, it is nigh on certain that the coronavirus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, not a wet market. And as former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy duly notes, the strong circumstantial evidence is more than solid enough to put this beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s not a criminal case; it’s international policy.
The real problem lies in what happens if the world looks the other way in the face of such blatant ChiCom malfeasance. Pompeo and Libby put it this way:
China already knows it can go largely unpunished for its push into the South China Sea, for its outrages against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, for throttling democracy in Hong Kong, for intellectual property theft that costs foreign states hundreds of billions of dollars annually. If the CCP similarly escapes consequences for playing the central role in a cataclysm that strikes innocents in homes across the world, it will grow ever bolder, seeing few lines it dare not cross.
So what do we do? Many nations must work together and use their economic power as leverage to exact some form of payment or otherwise “impose heavy costs on CCP leaders and China’s economic activities.” China may be quite strong, but it cannot withstand concerted economic pressure from numerous other nations. China “would surely retaliate harshly,” Pompeo and Libby warn, including by causing further disruption in our already disjointed supply chains. So, they conclude, “Finding ways to deflect the blows from China’s response would be the most demanding part of Biden’s diplomatic challenge.”
Donald Trump was the first American president to take the Chinese threat seriously. Now the entire world has been given 3.7 million reasons to do likewise. What will Joe Biden do now — continue to be beholden to the ChiComs, or work to exact the justice we all deserve?
Start a conversation using these share links: