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The Lethal Threat of COVID-19 Isolationism

The pandemic has revealed a vacuum in global leadership that now threatens us all. With the US and China stirring up geopolitical resentment, Europe must embrace its responsibility and reinvent itself on the global stage.

BERLIN – Under President Donald Trump, the United States is not actively seeking cooperation with other countries in combating COVID-19, leaving the global fight against the coronavirus fractured. Far more than the US-European dispute over the role of NATO, the silence surrounding the pandemic between the two sides shows that one can hardly speak of a transatlantic community.

Even worse, the US is resorting to conspiracy theories. Just as China claims that the coronavirus was developed in US military laboratories and serves to damage China’s rise, the Trump administration calls COVID-19 the “Chinese virus,” stirring up geopolitical resentment.

At the same time, China is trying to make its mark in the crisis by providing aid to hard-hit countries. It is not the US or Europe that is currently providing the most support to Italy, Spain, or Africa; it is China, which has sent medical teams and supplies. Seldom has it been possible to observe so clearly how China is replacing Western global leadership.