The Covid vaccine as a weapon of the cold war 2
The United States is preparing the first delivery of the half-billion doses of coronavirus vaccine it pledged at the Group of Seven (G7) summit last June, donating more than 500,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech to the United States. Rwanda.
“This is just the start,” proclaimed the White House spokesman.
G7 members have pledged to distribute a billion doses to countries struggling with dwindling vaccine stocks. The Biden administration hopes the Rwandan shipment will inspire the rest of its partners to keep their commitments.
The magnanimous gesture of the G7 is commendable. But it would be naive to assume that the world’s richest nations have the purest and noblest intentions to save the world.
The Carbis Bay press release is essentially the G7’s playbook for a post-pandemic era and to vaccinate the world “by providing as many safe vaccines to as many people as possible as quickly as possible” is just the kicker.
Further down in the press release, the G7 pledges to “defend the international system based on rules and international law”. He specifically called on China “to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially with regard to Xinjiang and the rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong enshrined in the Sino-British joint declaration. and the fundamental law “.
He also urged Russia “to put an end to its 20 destabilizing behaviors and malicious activities, including its interference in the democratic systems of other countries, and to fulfill its international human rights obligations and commitments”.
We see the communiqué as the opening salvo of the Second Cold War. The G7, which represents 59% of global GDP, has established itself as the knight of the West in shining armor.
Players should now be familiar with the numbers they are dealing with:
– 31.8% of the world’s population have received at least one dose of vaccine
– 23.9% are fully vaccinated
– 4.8 billion doses were administered
– 1.3 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.
The West and the China / Russia alliance are undoubtedly deeply engaged in their outreach efforts, strategizing on how best to deploy the Covid vaccine to gain an initial advantage. The G7 billion-dose initiative is a rather late response to the successful vaccination campaign in Moscow and Beijing. Russia has donated thousands of Sputnik V photos to poor countries. Chinese vaccine makers Sinovac and Sinopharm have long been shipping free doses to their own coterie of friendly states.
The Philippines is a prime example of how the Covid-19 vaccine is being used as a tool to win hearts and minds. President Rodrigo Duterte has never hidden his undying admiration for China as a friend and benefactor, and his contempt for the United States for denying a visa to former National Police Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa. The president constantly reminds the people that China was the first country to deliver vaccines to the Philippines.
Duterte suddenly changed his mind after the United States shipped a million doses of the vaccine to Manila. The dispatch was enough to make him decide to keep the Visiting Forces Agreement, which he had threatened to revoke.
During one of his recent briefings, the president asked the United States for more doses. This should be Washington’s signal to step up its efforts to get into the good graces of the Philippines. The United States must strengthen its influence in the Asia-Pacific region, where the South China Sea is emerging as one of the main front lines of the Second Cold War.
China will have two options: cut or limit vaccine supplies to the Philippines or deliver more doses to blunt US efforts to gain a foothold in the region.
In vaccine diplomacy, each side plays the role of god, demanding a country’s loyalty in exchange for life-saving drugs.
There is a slim chance that the West, China and Russia, driven by a genuine desire to help the world defeat the coronavirus, will find a way to come together and create a global vaccine distribution system, similar to the Covax facility but on a much larger climb.
We can always hope for a miracle.