oppn parties US Versus China: President Trump And The Intelligence Establishment Differ In Their Opinion

News Snippets

  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek admitted to hospital for coronavirus
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US Versus China: President Trump And The Intelligence Establishment Differ In Their Opinion

By A Special Correspondent
First publised on 2020-05-01 19:02:16

Two conflicting news items from the US showed how the Covid-19 crisis is being viewed differently by different sections of the decision making machinery in that country. In the first item, the US Office for the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement confirming Covid-19 originated in China. But it also said that "the intelligence community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the Covid-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified." The agency also reported that the intelligence chiefs were working to find out whether Covid-19 "began through contact with infected animals, or if it was the result of an accident in a laboratory in Wuhan."

In direct contrast to this, US President Donald Trump seemed to trash intelligence reports and suggested that he had evidence to prove that the Chinese made the virus and released it. When he was asked if he had seen anything that has given him such a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the source of the outbreak, Trump replied in the affirmative. Trump said he could "do it differently" and act in "probably a little bit more of a forthright manner" when asked about reports that he could cancel US debt obligations to China.

President Trump had earlier accused China of spreading the virus and misleading the world and the WHO in this regard. He even stopped the US funding for the WHO pending an inquiry. It is now clear that he will make China’s involvement in releasing and allowing the spread of the Covid-19 virus his main reelection plank. But since reports are emerging from the scientific community that suggests that the virus does not show any genetic modification and is probably not man-made, it remains to be seen how the US public will take his assertions in the absence of any solid proof linking China’s active involvement.

It seems his charge of China’s initial attempt to mislead the world is going to stick. China did not do enough to alert the other countries or the scientists across the world about the emergence of a novel off-shoot of the coronavirus which was not responding to any current vaccines or medicines. Neither did it act promptly to stop its spread by imposing travel restrictions. Hence, Trump’s ire with China is justified. But the US public will also question his initial carefree attitude, despite the problems that were being faced in Europe, that allowed the virus to spread so rapidly in the United States.