What Is Washington’s Goal in Pursuing the Lab Leak Conspiracy?

The blame-China crowd is loud and boisterous in the United States, and it knows there is a willing accomplice in the nation’s corporate news media to keep the coronavirus ‘controversy’ alive.

Your first question: What do you think is motivating the media and the political elites in the United States as they continue to push for another detailed international investigation into the cause of the coronavirus pandemic?

Your possible answers:

A: Uncover the truth

B: Continue antagonizing China

I believe the answer is B, and I also believe that ought to be your selection. As an American citizen, it disappoints me to suggest that antagonism is the goal because A should be the only answer as the world continues to grapple with the deadly pandemic. Unfortunately, the politics of coronavirus has overwhelmed the science of coronavirus in the U.S., and you can point the finger of blame at the country’s political elite for advancing the narrative that more poking around inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology is necessary. After you are done pointing that finger, then redirect it and make sure you point it at the American media for also latching onto the idea.

To illustrate why I am certain that politics, not science, is the guiding interest, let’s go back to the spring of this year. Do you remember when the Japanese government announced its plan to dump waste water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean? A large number of Western political and business leaders immediately joined with their Japanese colleagues and dismissed any need for further substantive discussion into the plan. Their message was rather clear: The Japanese say the water will be treated before it is released into the ocean, and we believe them. And we also accept their statements that there will be no legitimate possibility of widespread contamination of the ocean or the fish in it because of that treatment scheme. Case closed. There is nothing more to discuss.

The Washington political elite were among those Western leaders who gave a thumbs up of support to the idea. The American media followed along, and within a day or two, the story was gone from the headlines. I do not think I have seen another story from a U.S. news media agency about the Japanese scheme since then.

That brings me to your second question: Why do you think that is?

Your possible answers to that question:

A: Because the plan is 100 percent guaranteed safe, just like the Japanese said

B: Japan is an ally, so the U.S. government does not want to be seen constantly questioning the integrity of that government

Yes, B is again the answer.

A staff member carries out testing at the inactivated COVID-19 vaccine quality inspection lab of Sinovac Life Sciences Co., Ltd. in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 23, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)

Forgive me if the question-and-answer game seems sarcastic or inappropriate. I used it to make my argument as simple as possible: The incessant questioning about China and its integrity in discussing the origins of coronavirus really has little to do with fact and everything to do with friction. Friction results when two items conflict or rub against each other. That is what we have in this situation: China says it has answered all the questions about coronavirus while the United States insists more questions are required. And, the U.S. extends its argument to suggest that if China refuses to answer more questions, then there is all the evidence the country’s leadership is hiding something.

Friction, indeed.

The blame-China crowd is loud and boisterous in the United States, and it knows there is a willing accomplice in the nation’s corporate news media to keep the coronavirus “controversy” alive.

Keep in mind that China is not alone in making the case that another investigation into what might have taken place inside the Wuhan lab is unnecessary. Leaders from multiple nations have stepped forward to question the World Health Organization’s claim that a second investigation is necessary at this time. But more importantly focus on the number of prominent people within the scientific community who continue to push back on the need for more probing.

Their comments generally fall into one of three categories. First, China offered the kind of assistance it should have during the first international investigation. Second, they say that a lab leak remains an almost impossible cause of the pandemic. And finally, they want us to know that there is no indication that any scientists or technicians who worked inside the institute became ill from coronavirus systems during the final couple of months of 2019.

So, you have two competing agendas you must consider. Are you going to side with the media and the elites who cherry pick what they want you to believe is a controversy? Or are you going to stand with the scientific community that sees little tangible benefit coming from further rooting around inside China?

That choice ought to be an easy one.