Come What May, China is NOT Our Friend

ALPERN AT LARGE--It's normal to find the need to blame someone, or some entity, for a given crisis. It's also normal to misplace the blame and lose focus as to how to respond to a crisis or prevent a future crisis by that lack of focus. 

Donald Trump did not cause the Coronavirus/Wuhan Virus/China Virus/COVID-19 crisis. Neither did Nancy Pelosi. Neither did Mitch McConnell nor Chuck Schumer. 

And neither did the Chinese people, who have and will suffer more than anyone because of this crisis, which appears to be causing an inevitable recession of historic proportions.  

Business with China will suffer, tourists from China next January (presuming our health concerns from the COVID-19 virus have been resolved) will be feared rather than embraced, and China might suffer an economic depression the likes of which might also be of historic proportions, and greater than any other major industrial nation on the planet. 

Pharmaceuticals and manufacturing will, inevitably, become more evenly distributed throughout the planet because our world's overreliance not so much on the Chinese people, but on China's government has come home to the roost in the worst of economic (and public health!) consequences. 

Because China's economy is government-driven, with economics and public health being also government-driven, and tightly controlled by a government which allows no such free speech as that we see throughout Europe, the Americas, and Asia. 

The term "China" therefore does NOT refer to its people, but to its top-down, Communist government. And both major political parties in the U.S. are eschewing Communist governments more than ever (ask Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden supporters how open the Democratic Party is to Communism). 

It was China who booted out journalists, and kept out scientists who wanted nothing more than to help. The courageous Chinese doctors who wanted to expose and take action against the sudden viral outbreak in Wuhan, China were silenced and belittled. 

And the suppression of information and prevention of the annual Chinese New Year migration of Chinese tourists to the rest of the world is to be blamed ONLY on the Chinese government. 

Italian, Iranian, Spanish, and even American citizens are sick, dead, or will die because of a host of decisions by President Xi and the Chinese government to change a preventable crisis into an inevitable crisis. 

Reparations will be demanded, although how much an economic disaster, let alone the loss of human life, is worth is beyond mathematical consideration.  

Should vaccinations and a hopeful summer reduction to new COVID-19 virus cases result in an economic rebound by this fall is anyone's guess--the power of Big Pharma and the federal/world health agencies is not to be minimized--but this memory won't go away any time soon. 

This winter there will be fears of the next SARS, COVID-19, Coronavirus, or other virus from China. 

But it won't be the Chinese people we fear. It will be the Chinese government. 

And until the term "China" means a Chinese government very, very different from their current government, our economic relations will likely (and rightfully) take a very different turn than what we've seen over the past few centuries. 

Russia has Putin, but its government and economy are very different from the Stalinist Communist government of old.  

But we never did get over the lack of respect for human life that Chairman Mao imposed on the Chinese people, despite the greater allowance of capitalism that China's central government allowed over the past few decades. 

And now WE are paying the price. 

On a final note, you entrepreneurial types reading this who made "major bank" outsourcing our American manufacturing to China did a great job of creating a Chinese middle class while thrashing our once-powerful American middle class. 

So maybe you can consider working with our federal, state, and local governments to bring those jobs back, and to re-create a system where it's financially beneficial to all to restore a once-mighty American industrial base. 

Because the economic and physical health of our nation and world now depends on just that.


(CityWatch Columnist, Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He was (termed out) also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee and Vice-Chair of its Planning Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at Ken.Alpern@MarVista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)