US intelligence investigation of coronavirus origins exposes its four ‘Achilles heels’: Global Times editorial
Published: May 30, 2021 09:51 PM Updated: Jun 03, 2021 09:51 PM
Screenshot of US non-profit educational organization the Academy of Achievement's website

Screenshot of US non-profit educational organization the Academy of Achievement's website

US President Joe Biden has demanded US intelligence agencies to confirm in 90 days if the coronavirus emerged from a laboratory, sparking a great uproar in the international community. There have been some political statements in support of Biden's decision. The clearest came from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Meanwhile, India's Ministry of External Affairs also spoke implicitly in support. 

However, scientists such as Australian and Dutch representatives on the World Health Organization (WHO)'s investigation team to Wuhan have defended that there was no evidence to back up the "lab leak" theory. The WHO emergencies chief, Irish Michael Ryan, said the effort to find the origins of coronavirus "is being poisoned by politics." WHO virologist Marion Koopmans, who was part of that field visit to Wuhan, told the BBC that if the US authorities have any information they should share it.

As for the so-called undisclosed US intelligence report that some Wuhan researchers were infected by COVID-19 before an epidemic was confirmed, Dutch virologist Koopmans attributed that to regular, seasonal sickness as early as in March.

Scientists know the difficulty of finding the origins of contagious diseases, and it is tantamount to a myth to have a "definitive conclusion" in 90 days, especially when the origin is preset to be a laboratory in China's Wuhan. US intelligence agencies do not have superior research capability than the WHO, nor did they have more information. What they will get in the end is nothing but political. They will have to make a political decision either to produce a slanderous report that is in line with the US' anti-China campaign, or to step back in front of mainstream opposition from scientists and do their best to save the reputation of the US government that is already stuck in a dilemma.

The US' political manipulation on the origins of the novel coronavirus has gone too far, exposing to the world its four "Achilles heels."

First, the US government is full of arrogance and disrespects the first-phase work report of the WHO expert group, simply exerting political pressures on the WHO. The Trump administration cut its ties with the WHO for political purposes, while the Biden administration restored the relationship with the WHO, but maintained the strong and tyrannical demand that the WHO should serve the political interests of the US. This is playing political games to hijack science.

Second, the work of tracing the origins of the coronavirus itself is difficult and complex, and there are many possibilities. The presumption of guilt imposed by the US against the Wuhan Institute of Virology has gone in opposite directions with the conventional cognition and normal traceability methods of the scientific community. What the US is doing is hardly to convince the masses in the scientific community. Despite a handful scientists supported the lab-leak theory, some of them have undermined the credibility of their claims by trimming their sails according to the political circumstances. 

Third, the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies have a long record of fabricating lies for political purposes. They lied about the Saddam Hussain regime's possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) to launch the Iraq War, which was later proved completely false. A vial of white powder presented by then-US secretary of state Colin Powell as a witness at the United Nations was teased as "washing powder" and left a deep impression on the world. This time, the US intelligence agencies are coming out again but have lost their credibility at the very beginning of this race.

Fourth, we are now in the age of the internet. The US is attempting to shift the blame to China and is trying to control what the WHO and most scientists around the world have to say. However, it will be difficult for the US to do what it did 18 years ago when Washington fabricated evidence of Iraq possessing WMDs to fool the international community. So far, the US intelligence agencies can ask only the US media to help spread those rumors anonymously because they do not have any real proof that can be shared with the whole world. This traditional strategy of a frame-up is powerless in today's environment.

Washington is too arrogant to realize that its vicious accusations against China have become a political gamble for itself. It has staked too many bargaining chips on credit from international morality. It actually has no way to back down from this dangerous status. The US could meet its Waterloo in this battle: It might lose its credibility by abusing its soft power.