The Central Intelligence Agency recently stirred up an unusual degree of attention for its widely mocked recruitment video featuring an absurd level of “wokeness”—including staff members discussing their mental disabilities, while stressing a diverse, inclusive environment that made the nation’s premier foreign intelligence service sound like a liberal arts college. Yet the CIA is hardly the only organ of the Biden national security apparatus that has been infected with increasingly confused left-wing ideology—and as a result, the Biden administration is stumbling into one foreign policy disaster after another.
Among the most recent examples is the Administration’s decision to publicly endorse a proposed waiver of patents for Covid-19 Vaccines, allowing anyone in the world to reproduce these medical breakthroughs without paying for the intellectual property. Surely, the Biden Administration thought that a little “virtue signaling” at the expense of giant pharmaceutical companies would be welcomed by their liberal allies worldwide while allowing Biden to claim he was helping third world countries more rapidly vaccinate their populations. Indeed, within the insular circle which makes up the American political elite, the idea must have seemed like an obvious winner.
But the decision has blown up on them spectacularly.
While Vladimir Putin was quick to embrace Biden’s proposal—evidently not satisfied with the quality of his own Sputnik Vaccine—America’s European allies have reacted with outrage.
It seems that in the Biden Administration’s mistaken conviction that America is the only nation on earth with a “capitalist” healthcare system, they failed to consider that the United States is not, in fact, the center of the global pharmaceutical industry. Indeed, many of the corporations with the most money on the line are European.
While Pfizer, the maker of the first vaccine, is an American company, it is partnered with BioNTech SE, a German firm. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the pharmaceutical arm of Johnson& Johnson, is headquartered in Belgium. The CEO of Moderna is French. Thus the Biden Administration, in advocating for waiving these companies’ patents, was in effect offering to give up something that was partially owned by other countries. And to add insult to injury, it appears the administration did not bother consulting with Germany, France, or Belgium before doing so.
As the Financial Times reported, “EU officials said Washington had given Brussels advance notice of the patent move shortly before it was made public on Wednesday, but that there was no consultation or attempt to co-ordinate positions.”
The reaction was swift and predictable. German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that a patent waiver would harm innovation and pointedly noted that the United States maintained a ban on the export of vaccines and the supplies for the production of vaccines, a ban which had harmed the vaccine rollout not just in the developing world but in Europe as well. “I think that we need the creativity and innovation of the companies — and for that, we need patent protection,” Merkel warned.
Merkel’s complaints were echoed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who said, “I call very clearly on the US to end export bans not only on vaccines, but on ingredients of those vaccines.”
Evidently, Europe’s leaders intend to stand up for their nation’s businesses, even if the Biden Administration does not intend to do the same for America’s. Moreover, European leaders apparently harbor a strong suspicion that the Biden Administration never intended for there to be a patent waiver anyway. As they pointed out in their statements, patent waivers are mostly useless if the U.S. maintains an export ban on the critical materials needed to actually produce the vaccines. The lack of consultation, combined with the absence of any moves by the White House to lift U.S. export restrictions, have led European leaders to conclude that the entire exercise was a PR stunt designed to make the Biden Administration look good. Meanwhile, the Europeans were forced to be the “bad guys” fighting for the interests of their own companies and nations and American firms, and the United States.
Macron and Merkel may well be missing Donald Trump already. He was aggressive when he wanted something. But at least he told them what he wanted, rather than simply stabbing them in the back.
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