Mar 14, 2020 - Health

China seizes a new role in the world

hand holding a kleenex
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The world once looked to the U.S. for leadership and aid in global health crises.

  • But the Trump administration has rejected global leadership in the fight against the coronavirus and much of the initial domestic response was focused on shoring up the economy.

Compare this with China’s response. After a series of early decisions that allowed the coronavirus to spread rapidly in China (and thus abroad), China’s leaders made a 180 degree turn and implemented a set of unprecedented measures, including quarantining entire cities, to get the epidemic under control.

  • As the growth in the number of new cases in China slows, Beijing’s leaders are ramping up a nascent bid for global public health leadership in the fight against the coronavirus.
  • China is sending masks and diagnostic swabs to Italy, which is in the throes of a severe outbreak. 
  • China sent a team to assist Iran.

What they're saying: “The 2009 financial crisis was a decisive moment emboldening Beijing and altering global perceptions of relative power between U.S. and China,” Ely Ratner, a former deputy national security adviser under Vice President Joe Biden, said on Twitter recently. 

  • “I worry now we’re at risk of another decisive moment for U.S.-China competition as Trump administration badly mishandles coronavirus.”

Go deeper: Bethany discusses China's response with Dan Primack on Pro Rata.

Go deeper