Have you ever read a major op-ed and thought to yourself, "no! no! no! That's just not right!" Us too. This week, Ian Bremmer is joined by analysts Kelsey Broderick and Jeffrey Wright to take the Red Pen to former World Bank president Robert B. Zoellick's Wall Street Journal op-ed.
What is going on between the WHO, the US and China?
We need someone to blame for this virus crisis, right? Trump will be elected or not in November on the back of well over 100,000 deaths, horrible economic performance and unemployment. No real bounce seen before November. Probably a second wave just before elections, given the seasonality of the virus. Which means you've got to blame China, the World Health Organization. And that means the Americans threatening to pull out of the organization as a whole, saying that they're doing lifting for China and also demanding investigation, as are other countries, of China for how they handled the initial outbreak of the disease. I am much more sympathetic to calls about Chinese responsibility because it's clear they did mishandle and did cover up the early days of this virus. The Chinese are saying they're only prepared to accept an investigation after the crisis is over. The WHO is saying that's three to five years from now. I agree on the time frame. Don't agree that that would be an appropriate way to handling it. A lot of countries around the world, particularly allies of the United States, are increasingly putting pressure on China. Big trade dust-up between the Chinese and the Australians as a consequence. Not directed by the United States, which is interesting. Australia did that all by themselves.
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With new coronavirus cases emerging in Wuhan, what does that mean for China?
Well, it means that transmission is very much a concern, even in a country that has the most draconian capacity to keep people in place, quarantine and track and surveil them. So, you've got, I guess, 11 new cases already that they're telling us about. Almost certainly more than that. And they're saying that they're going to test 11 million people in Wuhan in the coming six days. Let's see if they're able to actually get that done. But to be very clear, there is no country in the world that would be able to do broader and more immediate mandatory testing than the Chinese. And what they really want to show, I mean, for all of the backlash internationally for being responsible for the original cover up and the pandemic and also for not handling international leadership well, a lot of the mask diplomacy was more about propaganda than really making a difference for countries that needed the help, but at least in terms of getting the economy running again, while the Americans and Europeans are still locked down, the Chinese are not. And indeed, the supply chain is back up. And that really does matter. And that's what they want to focus on, both for domestic purposes and internationally. So, I think that's a big deal. And we're going to see that China will do everything possible to allow for continued confidence in their supply chain. That matters immensely for Xi Jinping's tenure.
What is the coronavirus update? Have emerging markets been spared so far?
The biggest news is that the US might have a lot more mortality from coronavirus than previously expected in the models. Particularly as we start seeing opening of economies. The US is a federal system and states don't necessarily listen to each other. They don't follow the federal government, and people don't necessarily pay attention to what state governments say. Put all that together, expect to see a lot more people get sick. Whether that is 3,000 or 800 deaths a day, two wildly different models, for the next month. What I've seen so far makes me feel a bit more optimistic, because opening up economies isn't people in full engagement. Big difference in what government says and what people do.