March 20, 2020

Virus Competition Is Wrecking China-U.S. Cooperation Hopes

By Richard Fontaine

As Washington shifted its worldview over the last several years to a sharp focus on China competition, even the most claw-bearing hawks generally left open the possibility of cooperation. Key transnational issues, such as climate change and nonproliferation, challenge all nations and require collaborative responses even among adversaries. While the United States and China compete fiercely, it previously seemed to most that enhanced rivalry should not preclude working together when interests dictated it.

But amid an unprecedented crisis as the new coronavirus spreads, cooperation is the last thing on either side’s mind. Fighting pandemic disease, which threatens every country, should be the paradigmatic example of a joint cause compelling U.S.-China cooperation. Unfortunately, it has been anything but. Where the need to fight the coronavirus might once have brought the United States and China closer together, today it is driving them further apart. COVID-19 is becoming one more feature of great-power competition, rather than an exception to it.

Read the full article in Foreign Policy.

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