This Is How America and China are Weaponizing the Coronavirus


This Is How America and China are Weaponizing the Coronavirus

The two most powerful countries in the world have been engaged in a war of words and conspiracy theories.

For Olshaker, the spread of such conspiracy theories is as virulent in the political population as the pandemic is in the human population. “You know I’ve spent a lot of time studying conspiracy theories,” he says. “It’s a part of my line of work, because it’s important to be able to discount the implausible. That’s what conspiracy theories do: they pile implausibles on top of remotely implausibles and string them together to come up with something they hope sounds probable. But it’s always shaky. And you see this among those who spread the theories—their standard line is that what they say can’t be disproved. Well, you know, you can’t disprove alien abductions either, but that doesn’t mean they happen.” Or perhaps, as the scientist with whom I spoke says, the spread of conspiracy theories on China and the coronavirus is the predictable outcome of a nation led by a president “who believes that windmills cause cancer, that stealth aircraft are literally invisible, that we should rake the floors of our forest, or that a disease can be conquered by injecting lung tissue with disinfectant.”

That said, the China-is-responsible narrative has accomplished its primary political goal, at least in part, by substituting a Seward-like war of words between Beijing and Washington for the real war the United States should be fighting. Or, as Lincoln might put it, given America’s struggle to defeat a deadly national pandemic, a war of words with China is one war too many

Mark Perry is a contributing editor at The American Conservative and an author whose books include Partners In Command and The Most Dangerous Man In America. Follow him on Twitter at @markperrydc.

Image: Reuters