Fallout from Covid-19 outbreak puts Beijing and
Washington on a collision course
By Pepe Escobar
March 17, 2020 "Information
Clearing House" -
Among the myriad,
earth-shattering geopolitical effects of coronavirus,
one is already graphically evident. China has
re-positioned itself. For the first time since the
start of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in 1978, Beijing
openly regards the US as a threat, as stated a month
Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the
Munich Security Conference during the peak of the
fight against coronavirus.
Beijing is carefully, incrementally shaping the
narrative that, from the beginning of the
coronovirus attack, the leadership knew it was under
a hybrid war attack. Xi’s terminology is a major
clue. He said, on the record, that this was war.
And, as a counter-attack, a “people’s war” had to be
described the virus as a demon or devil. Xi is a
Confucianist. Unlike some other ancient Chinese
thinkers, Confucius was loath to
discuss supernatural forces and judgment in the
afterlife. However, in a Chinese cultural
context, devil means “white devils” or “foreign
devils”: guailo in Mandarin, gweilo
in Cantonese. This was Xi delivering a powerful
statement in code.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign
Ministry, voiced in an incandescent tweet the
possibility that “it might be US Army who brought
the epidemic to Wuhan” – the first blast to this
effect to come from a top official – Beijing was
sending up a trial balloon signaliing that the
gloves were finally off. Zhao Lijian made a direct
connection with the Military Games in Wuhan in
October 2019, which included a delegation of 300 US
He directly quoted US CDC director Robert
Redfield who, when asked last week whether some
deaths by coronavirus had been discovered
posthumously in the US, replied that “some cases
have actually been diagnosed this way in the US
Zhao’s explosive conclusion is that Covid-19 was
already in effect in the US before being identified
in Wuhan – due to the by now fully documented
inability of US to test and verify differences
compared with the flu.
Adding all that to the fact that coronavirus
genome variations in Iran and Italy were sequenced
and it was revealed they do not belong to the
variety that infected Wuhan, Chinese media are now
asking questions and drawing a connection with
shutting down in August last year of the
“unsafe” military bioweapon lab at
Fort Detrick, the Military Games, and the Wuhan
epidemic. Some of these questions had been
asked – with no response – inside the US itself.
Extra questions linger about the opaque
Event 201 in New York on October 18, 2019: a
rehearsal for a worldwide pandemic caused by a
deadly virus – which happened to be coronavirus.
This magnificent coincidence happened one month
before the outbreak in Wuhan.
Event 201 was sponsored by Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the CIA,
Bloomberg, John Hopkins Foundation and the UN. The
World Military Games opened in Wuhan on the exact
Irrespective of its origin, which is still
not conclusively established, as much as Trump
tweets about the “Chinese virus,” Covid-19 already
poses immensely serious questions about biopolitics
(where’s Foucault when we need him?) and bio-terror.
The working hypothesis of coronavirus as a very
powerful but not Armageddon-provoking bio-weapon
unveils it as a perfect vehicle for widespread
social control – on a global scale.
Cuba rises as a biotech power
Just as a fully masked Xi visiting the Wuhan
frontline last week was a graphic demonstration to
the whole planet that China, with immense sacrifice,
is winning the “people‘s war” against Covid-19,
Russia, in a Sun Tzu move on Riyadh whose end result
was a much cheaper barrel of oil, helped for all
practical purposes to kick-start the inevitable
recovery of the Chinese economy. This is how a
strategic partnership works.
The chessboard is changing at breakneck speed.
Once Beijing identified coronavirus as a bio-weapon
attack the “people’s war” was launched with
the full force of the state.
Methodically. On a “whatever it takes” basis. Now we
are entering a new stage, which will be used by
Beijing to substantially recalibrate the interaction
with the West, and under very different frameworks
when it comes to the US and the EU.
Soft power is paramount. Beijing sent an Air
China flight to Italy carrying 2,300 big boxes full
of masks bearing the script, “We are waves from the
same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers from
the same garden.” China also sent a hefty
humanitarian package to Iran, significantly aboard
eight flights from Mahan Air – an airline under
illegal, unilateral Trump administration sanctions.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic could not have
been more explicit: “The only country that can help
us is China. By now, you all understood that
European solidarity does not exist. That was a fairy
tale on paper.”
Under harsh sanctions and demonized since
forever, Cuba is still able to perform breakthroughs
– even on biotechnology. The anti-viral
Heberon – or Interferon Alpha 2b – a
therapeutic, not a vaccine, has been used with great
success in the treatment of coronavirus. A joint
venture in China is producing an inhalable version,
and at least 15 nations are already interested in
importing the therapeutic.
Now compare all of the above with the Trump
administration offering $1 billion to poach German
scientists working at biotech firm
in Thuringia, on an experimental vaccine against
Covid-19, to have it as a vaccine “only for the
Social engineering psy-op?
Sandro Mezzadra, co-author with Brett Neilson of
the seminal The Politics of Operations:
Excavating Contemporary Capitalism, is already
conceptualize where we stand now in terms of
We are facing a choice between a Malthusian
strand – inspired by social Darwinism – “led by the
Johnson-Trump-Bolsonaro axis” and, on the other
side, a strand pointing to the “requalification of
public health as a fundamental tool,” exemplified by
China, South Korea and Italy. There are key
lessons to be learned from South Korea, Taiwan
The stark option, Mezzadra notes, is between a
“natural population selection,” with thousands of
dead, and “defending society” by employing “variable
degrees of authoritarianism and social control.”
It’s easy to imagine who stands to benefit from this
social re-engineering, a 21st century
remix of Poe’s
The Masque of the Red Death.
Amid so much doom and gloom, count on Italy to
offer us Tiepolo-style shades of light. Italy chose
the Wuhan option, with immensely serious
consequences for its already fragile economy.
Quarantined Italians remarkably reacted by singing
on their balconies: a true act of metaphysical
Not to mention the poetic justice of the actual
St. Corona (“crown” in Latin) being buried in
the city of Anzu since the 9th century.
St. Corona was a Christian killed under Marcus
Aurelius in 165 AD, and has been for centuries one
of the patron saints of pandemics.
Not even trillions of dollars raining from the
sky by an act of divine Fed mercy were able to cure
Covid-19. G-7 “leaders” had to resort to a
videoconference to realize how clueless they are –
even as China’s fight against coronavirus gave the
West a head start of several weeks.
Zhang Wenhong, one of China’s
top infectious disease experts, whose analyses have
been spot on so far, now says China has emerged from
the darkest days in the “people’s war” against
Covid-19. But he does not think this will be over by
summer. Now extrapolate what he’s saying to the
It’s not even spring yet, and we already know it
takes a virus to mercilessly shatter the Goddess of
the Market. Last Friday, Goldman Sachs told no fewer
than 1,500 corporations that there was no systemic
risk. That was false.
New York banking sources told me the truth:
systemic risk became way more severe in 2020 than in
1979, 1987 or 2008 because of the hugely heightened
danger that the $1.5 quadrillion derivative market
As the sources put it, history had never before
seen anything like the Fed’s intervention via its
little understood elimination of commercial bank
reserve requirements, unleashing a potential
unlimited expansion of credit to prevent a
derivative implosion stemming from a total commodity
and stock market collapse of all stocks around the
Those bankers thought it would work, but as we
know by now all the sound and fury signified
nothing. The ghost of a derivative implosion – in
this case not caused by the previous possibility,
the shutting down of the Strait of Hormuz – remains.
We are still barely starting to understand the
consequences of Covid-19 for the future of
neoliberal turbo-capitalism. What’s certain is that
the whole global economy has been hit by an
insidious, literally invisible circuit breaker. This
may be just a “coincidence.” Or this may be, as some
boldly arguing, part of a possible, massive psy-op
creating the perfect geopolitlcal and social
engineering environment for full-spectrum dominance.
Additionally, along the hard slog down the road,
with immense, inbuilt human and economic sacrifice,
with or without a reboot of the world-system, a more
pressing question remains: will imperial elites
still choose to keep waging full-spectrum-dominance
hybrid war against China?
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