Chinese-Russian vaccine cooperation will save the Global South
Andrew Korybko
The COVID-19 vaccine developed in Russia, /CFP

The COVID-19 vaccine developed in Russia, /CFP

Editor's note: Andrew Korybko is a Moscow-based American political analyst. The article reflects the author's views and not necessarily those of CGTN.

The recent agreements for China to manufacture over a quarter-billion doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine will save the Global South from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. This development will greatly improve inoculation rates among some of the world's most desperate and impoverished countries, thereby helping the international community more quickly recover from this crisis, not to mention saving countless lives. 

Instead of being praised for this humanitarian vision, China and Russia are once again being criticized by the Western mainstream media as evidenced by CNN's latest hit piece against the two countries.

The outlet published an article on Wednesday titled "China and Russia want to vaccinate the developing world before the West. It's brought them closer than ever." The seemingly innocuous title disguises an information warfare attack. Firstly, it implies that China and Russia are somehow politicizing their vaccination efforts as part of an unexplained competition with the West. 

That's not true. They're not trying to do anything "before the West;" they're simply doing it on their own for humanitarian reasons due to their global responsibilities as members of the UN Security Council. It's not their fault that the West doesn't even care about this.

Accusations abound about Western countries hoarding vaccines, which CNN to their credit mentions in their report. One of the experts cited in the piece dishonestly claims that it's "a really convenient narrative for both Beijing and Moscow" to talk draw attention to this, but the reality is that they don't have to do anything at all in this respect since the entire developing world is pleading for vaccines but is being ignored by the West.

Those who most desperately need them the most know for themselves that the only reliable partners that they have right now are China and Russia, not Western countries, some of which are their historical partners.

CNN also takes a swipe at both of them by repeating the fake news claims that they propagate "disinformation" about Western vaccines. That's not only false, but it's also irrelevant to the topic being discussed. It's not like the Global South even has access to those Western vaccines in the first place to be misled into refusing to take them due to disinformation. 

On the contrary, CNN and other Western mainstream media outlets are trying to provoke suspicion among those people about Chinese and Russian vaccines by wrongly claiming that they're being provided for political reasons and hinting at possible safety issues, which is very dangerous to imply.

A production line at Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine facility. /CFP

A production line at Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine facility. /CFP

The concept of so-called "vaccine diplomacy" is also brought up in the article, but it too is irrelevant to the discussion. There is no competition between Western and non-Western vaccines in the Global South because the West is mostly hoarding its own supplies and not doing much to share them with the developing world. 

It's therefore natural that those desperate people who receive Chinese and Russian vaccines will have a better view of those countries than of the Western ones who denied them these lifesaving treatments. The West could have supplied its own vaccines to these people but is more interested in inoculating its own citizens first.

The party that's really politicizing vaccines has always been the West. Their leaders' selfish motivation to vaccinate their own people before all others resulted in a situation wherein the developing world is becoming resentful of them for denying these life-saving treatments to the planet's most desperate people. 

Some Westerners finally realized how counterproductive their "vaccine nationalism" has been for their soft power, but it's too late to change the dynamics that they've created through their short-sighted policy, hence why their mainstream media have instead taken to spreading scaremongering propaganda about China and Russia.

The presumed target audience is less so the people of the developing world who are sincerely grateful for China and Russia's humanitarian support against COVID-19 and more likely their own Western people. It's inevitable that the decline of Western influence across the Global South will become increasingly obvious to their citizens with time and they'll eventually demand answers from their leaders as to why this was allowed to happen. 

Those same leaders don't want to admit that their selfish "vaccine nationalism" was responsible since it's much more "politically convenient" for them to blame an entirely fabricated joint Chinese and Russian conspiracy instead.

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