It’s safe to say that America’s “America first” response to the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t exactly settled well with the rest of the world. The US has been in the spotlight for the past month or so but not necessarily for the right reasons as Iranian leaders are now accusing America of crippling its medical and healthcare system amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, autocracies such as Iran blaming others for their woes is absolutely nothing new. It seems that the country tends to blame pretty much everything on America, even going as far back as 40 years ago. That being said however, it does sort of feel like this time, it’s different.
Iranian President called out the White House in a televised address last Wednesday, slamming the US sanctions on the country and urging the International Monetary Fund to grant a $5 billion loan to help in the country’s fight against coronavirus.
“History will remember that the White House, so far, has been an economic terrorist, and in medical care has been a terrorist as well,”Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Iran has been absolutely ravaged by the spread of the coronavirus and currently suffers from a total of 73,303 cases with 4,585 deaths, making it the hot zone in the Middle East. The current sanctions on Iran technically exempt food and medical supplies but that’s not exactly the issue.
The issue is the impact sectoral sanctions are having on the country’s ability to gain access to essential medical equipment such as medicine, respirators and protective gear for its healthcare workers. With experts saying that Trump’s policies are putting Iran in a world of pain, all eyes are on the US.
And it’s not just in Iran too. Venezuela and Cuba have also been demanding that the sanctions placed on their countries be lifted as the pandemic spreads through South America. These sanctions impede their access to global financial systems and is really hurting them. With the US usually playing the role of the responsible leader in a time of crisis, this new approach puts the country at risk of losing global trust in Washington.
It seems that the days where American presidents have taken the global lead is long gone. America’s response to the outbreak seems to be making it more enemies than friends. The country’s European allies seem to not only disagree with Trump’s policy on Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, but also its “America first” approach to the pandemic.
The situation is rather embarrassing. European powerhouse Germany is setting an example by extending goodwill towards its European neighbours by sending ventilators and treating its citizens, while China and Russia are earning a good name for themselves by sending supplies around the world. The US, on the other hand, are being accused of hijacking medical supplies meant to be shipped to Europe for use on its own soil instead.
For all of Trump’s economical acumen and seeming prioritization of American lives, he’s losing the trust of his fellow colleagues. It’s ironic that in his pursuit of “making America great again”, he loses whatever respect the US still commands on a global scale. Wasn’t the plan to prove that America is better than the likes of China and Russia?
Well, now’s the time to prove it.