It only took a year, but the always-plausible theory that the Chinese coronavirus originated with a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has finally gone to credible from conspiracy among our Ruling Class.
The most remarkable thing about this episode is how little there is in known new evidence to have effectuated this seismic shift, making this the most damning episode for our betters since Russiagate.
We’ve long known that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from the earliest days of the outbreak had done everything it could to prevent an investigation into the origins of the pandemic—stonewalling, silencing, and obfuscating—and then, of course, sought to cynically exploit the pandemic while the world suffered.
We’ve long known that WIV engaged in research into bat-based coronaviruses, and in dangerous gain-of-function exercises.
We’ve known since at least five months ago, when the still-Trump-led State Department put out a fact sheet regarding activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, that there was evidence several Wuhan researchers became sick in fall 2019, before the first identified outbreak case, “with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses.”
The primary changes seem to be that prominent scientists and science reporters started challenging the groupthink of their peers, additional reporting further corroborated the plausibility of their arguments in favor of lab leak, and the Biden administration seemed to awaken from its slumber and deference to the CCP-dominated World Health Organization (WHO), calling for a 90-day intelligence community (IC) review into the origins of the pandemic—only after news broke it had quashed the Trump State Department-led probe into a lab leak, just as momentum was picking up behind it.
The failure to seriously consider the lab leak theory was particularly epic because it was borne of the dereliction of duties of the political class tasked with defending our national interest, the should-be apolitical scientific community over which it exerts control, which failed to sufficiently test the hypothesis, and that of a media that has readily admitted it refused to do so because the likes of President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Sen. Tom Cotton, among others, said it might be so.
An election season might have had something to do with it as well.
Making this failure even more outrageous is that in effect, our Ruling Class did the CCP’s bidding by obscuring focus from the WIV and China’s culpability in the spread of the pandemic. Beijing has been doing the same since the earliest days of the pandemic because the more closely the regime is linked to this global disaster, the greater the risk to its hegemonic ambitions.
Now that the lab leak theory has been deemed politically correct, here are 11 questions that need to be asked about this entire saga.
- What else changed in this past month that suddenly made the lab leak theory credible, when there’s been a dearth of new evidence as to its viability? President Trump has been out of office for several months, so this is no longer about using what was once a conspiracy theory as a political tool against his administration.
Are we really to believe that some prominent people dissented from other prominent people, and that’s why the dam finally broke? And why is no one curious about this, and simply chalking it up to the breaking-up of groupthink? Now, we see reports coming out suggesting evidence COVID-19 was actually man-made. Was this evidence previously known? If this really is a case of unbelievable political, scientific, and journalistic malpractice, will any heads roll? They didn’t with Russiagate, so I’m not optimistic.
- With the Biden administration ordering a 90-day IC review of the origins of the coronavirus, what exactly would our intelligence operatives and analysts expect to find in the next 90 days that they wouldn’t have known already? Shouldn’t we assume the smoking guns are already long-past buried? Are we confident we would have the power to unearth the truth, given the threats that would exist to those on the Chinese side who could blow the whistle?
- Why should Americans have confidence in the IC’s visibility into China in the first place, when our spy network there was liquidated during the Obama administration years, and that aside, our leaders have persistently misjudged China’s capabilities and ambitions historically?
- What was the Office of the Director of National Intelligence doing putting out a statement about its current view on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic just after the Biden administration called for the 90-day review? Why would it not have kept mum until it conducted its review?
- Even if there are smoking guns to be found, and even if our IC was capable of finding them, why should Americans have confidence we would get straight reporting on it? The IC was tasked with investigating foreign election interference associated with the 2020 election. When the IC’s analytic ombudsman conducted an independent review of its analysis, he found that intelligence officials politicized their work. They treated China and Russia differently.
According to the review: “Given analytic differences in the way Russia and China analysts examined their targets, China analysts appeared hesitant to assess Chinese actions as undue influence or interference. These analysts appeared reluctant to have their analysis on China brought forward because they tended to disagree with the [Trump] Administration’s policies, saying in effect, I don’t want our intelligence used to support those policies.” Will China be held to a different standard here? And to what extent will the review be impacted by the soft-on-China Biden administration leading it?
- To what extent was our government culpable in using our tax dollars to fund work at the WIV, including gain-of-function research, and potentially involving Chinese military work, have those ties been fully disclosed, has any related information been covered up, and overall, again, will anyone pay a price for it?
- What did the Biden administration know and when did it know it about the plausibility of the lab leak theory? Presumably, it had all the information and intelligence the Trump administration did on Jan. 20, so why is there only movement now?
- What is the whole truth about why the Biden administration quashed the Trump State Department-led inquiry into the lab leak theory?
- Knowing of the CCP’s control over the WHO, why did the Biden administration almost immediately rejoin it, without preconditions, lavishing on it hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, and let it conduct a so-called investigation into the pandemic’s origins that was quite obviously going to be a China-orchestrated sham from the jump?
- Were the Biden administration to assess that the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan lab, would it punish the CCP for its lying, deception, and the outrageous ways it has sought to exploit this pandemic?
- Did Joe Biden ever challenge General Secretary Xi Jinping about any of the foregoing?
In April 2020, I wrote a piece at American Greatness, in which I dubbed the coronavirus pandemic our Tiananmen Test.
The Test was as follows:
With the CCP inflicting incalculable costs in blood and treasure through its unique role in spreading the coronavirus, and its related menacing behavior, will we demand reparations, or will we let the regime off scot-free, emboldening it, and encouraging it to act with impunity and still more reckless abandon in its quest for hegemony going forward?
In 1989, when presented with the image of “Tank Man,” we did something even worse than turning our back on him. Our immediate response to the CCP’s massacre of democracy protesters was toothless. Ultimately, we proceeded still further to embrace the communist regime, effectively rewarding its villainy by integrating it into the global economic, financial, and geopolitical system.
This time, Americans—and peoples the world over—were the victims of the CCP’s malevolence.
We cannot afford to fail this test.
We must use every element of national power to hold the CCP to account, or China will be confident it can get away with far worse, and achieve its desire to supplant and dominate America.
It will have drawn so much American blood, destroyed so much American treasure, and pushed America worst of all into sacrificing so much of its liberty, and paid no price for it.
These are the stakes the free world today faces.
Ben Weingarten is a fellow of the Claremont Institute and co-host of the Edmund Burke Foundation’s “The NatCon Squad.” He is the author of “American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party” and is currently working on a book on U.S.–China policy and its transformation under the Trump administration.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.