Dealing With Chinese, Iranian Lies in a Time of Pandemic

March 22, 2020 Updated: March 23, 2020
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Commentary

This will be a big story when the CCP virus panic is over, although our ability to forget such things is apparently limitless.

The London Times reports:

“Chinese laboratories identified a mystery virus as a highly infectious new pathogen by late December last year, but they were ordered to stop tests, destroy samples, and suppress the news, a Chinese media outlet has revealed.

“A regional health official in Wuhan, centre of the outbreak, demanded the destruction of the lab samples that established the cause of unexplained viral pneumonia on January 1. China did not acknowledge there was human-to-human transmission until more than three weeks later.”

In other words, the Beijing regime lied about the virus from the beginning, and then destroyed the evidence that they had lied. Once they thought they had covered up the scandal, they continued their air traffic with the Europeans, a practice that was emulated by the Iranians.

As the Jerusalem Post reported:

“German airports and authorities defied on [March 18] the announcement from Transportation Minister Andreas Scheuer to bar flights from the coronavirus-infected hotspots of the Islamic Republic of Iran and China.

“The daily Die Welt titled its [March 18] online article: ‘Flight IR721 [IranAir] exposes Scheuer’s ban on landing as an empty promise.’

“German media outlets reported that IranAir flight IR721 from Tehran arrived in Frankfurt on [March 18] and additional planes are slated to arrive from China, including China Southern Airlines flight CZ461, which departs from Shanghai and will arrive in Frankfurt.”

Meanwhile, Western reporters in China were telling their readers that Chinese officials were still lying about the true state of affairs, that the disease was still rampant, and that in fact in Wuhan, “in a video circulating on social media, residents can be seen shouting at visiting leaders from the apartments where they’re being quarantined—’Fake, it’s all fake.'”

Chinese and Iranian citizens weren’t fooled; they saw the facts with their own eyes. Only Western leaders were taken in by the lies, but by now, the facts are known to everyone, and the regime in Beijing is expelling American correspondents from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. That way, Chinese officials hope to blame the pandemic on the United States.

We don’t know the effect of Chinese and other disinformation, but we do know that there are big arguments in the White House about the proper response to Iranian and Chinese lies. They are more or less the same divisions, on the one hand, led by  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump, pushing for a tough response, while on the other hand, the secretary of defense and the military service chiefs taking it slow, arguing that, for instance, we don’t have convincing evidence that Iran was behind the rocket attacks that injured U.S. soldiers.

And for the umpteenth time, a tough response didn’t bring about a change in Iranian behavior.

According to The New York Times, “Some American officials now admit that the killing of General Suleimani has not—as some had hoped—led Iran and its proxies to think twice about fomenting violence inside Iraq and elsewhere.”

There is 40 years’ worth of evidence to document the Iranians’ refusal to make a deal with the United States, and the Americans’ insistence that, eventually, a deal would be reached. With the exception of the brief moment following the assassination of Soleimani, Trump has persisted in his conviction that Khamenei and his cohorts would eventually make a solid deal.

Unfortunately, this is a terrible moment to maximize the pressure on Tehran, since anything that brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets would threaten the demonstrators. No American president would want his name associated with such a debacle.

Trump is accordingly forced to hope for a miracle: that the combination of the virus and the sanctions will be lethal to the Khamenei regime, and bring to power a new generation of Iranians.

Not likely, but the world is increasingly unlikely, isn’t it?

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

Michael Ledeen is freedom scholar at Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He has served as a consultant to the National Security Council and the departments of State and Defense, and as a special adviser to the secretary of state. He is the author of 35 books, most recently “Field of Fight: How to Win the War Against Radical Islam and its Allies,” co-authored with retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.