Apr 05, 2021, 12:18
The United States and its allies in the West share a common history. Their economies developed first through the imposition of colonialism in the underdeveloped world. Colonialism began what is now a centuries-long trend of Western nations erecting immense barriers to economic growth and political independence for Africa, Asia, and Latin America so that their economies could grow wealthy at the expense of the peoples indigenous to these regions.
Many of these barriers exist today. While some believed that the "America First" orientation of the Donald Trump presidency would end under Joe Biden, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that the U.S. and the West maintain a deep commitment to unipolar and unilateral dominance in world affairs. Throughout the duration of the pandemic, the U.S. and its Western allies have maintained unilateral sanctions on countries, such as Venezuela and Iran, and hampered their pandemic response.
Rather than cooperate and learn from successful efforts to contain the virus, the U.S. and the West utilized every means at their disposal to spread misinformation and escalate a dangerous new cold war against China.
Leaders in the U.S. and West assume that economic, military, and political dominance in the world are permanent fixtures to be protected at all costs. Warfare, in all its forms, is a means to an end. The end for U.S. and Western leaders is for the inequalities between their nations and those in the formerly colonized world to continue uninterrupted.
Oxfam International reported in 2017 that just eight individuals own as much wealth as half of the world's population. Seven of the eight individuals are major executives of U.S. and Western corporations while nearly 85 percent of the world's poorest people reside in African and Asian countries. It should come as no surprise that such inequalities have been reproduced in the race to vaccinate the global population from COVID-19.
While China has been accused of exercising "vaccine diplomacy" for its willingness to share its vaccines with the poorest nations, the U.S. and the West have engaged in an open war against the equitable distribution of the vaccine worldwide.
Nearly six of 10 of all vaccine doses administered have taken place in richer countries that represent just 16 percent of the global population. African countries, which possess 17 percent of the global population, have only administered two percent of all doses.
The U.S., UK and European Union nations have partnered with for-profit drug companies to essentially horde the global vaccine supply. Last month, it was estimated that the U.S. will have nearly 500 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses than necessary to inoculate its population.
Vaccine inequality is no accident. Private companies such as Pfizer hesitate to offer information and supplies to poorer nations because doing so does not serve their bottom line. The U.S. and its closest European allies have made no formal commitment to distributing extra doses of the vaccine because these countries have a track record of placing their own "national interests" over the well-being of humanity.
The Biden administration has made it clear on several occasions that most of its hoarded vaccine stockpiles will not be made available to the world until the U.S. population is fully vaccinated.
Vaccine warfare is counterproductive. Vaccine warfare ensures that the most vulnerable among us experience the most harm from the continued spread of COVID-19. But the longer the virus spreads, the more it mutates in ways that are impossible to predict. These mutations are likely to disrupt economies and human life everywhere. No one country is immune to a pandemic in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world.
In his first press conference as president, Joe Biden promised the American people that China would not surpass U.S. global leadership under his administration. This remark underscores the U.S. and West's obsession with superiority.
Leadership is misconstrued to mean domination, more specifically dominance over others. The U.S. and its Western partners never define what its continued leadership means for humanity. The U.S., for example, leads the world in COVID-19 deaths, military expenditure, prison population, and healthcare debt.
This is not the kind of leadership the world needs in a period of immense crisis. Climate breakdown, economic inequality, war, and racism will require just as much global cooperation and solidarity to defeat as the COVID-19 pandemic, if not far more.
Maximum public pressure must be exerted on the U.S. and its Western allies to end their campaign of vaccine warfare. A victory here would serve as a model for what it means to truly come together for the common good of humanity.
By Danny Haiphong, a journalist based in the United States and activist with the No Cold War international campaign. (Source: CGTN)