The Biden administration should force China to pay restitution for the deaths and economic havoc caused by the coronavirus, according to retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who was a senior National Security Council official in the Trump White House.
Kellogg, in a new doctrine produced by the America First Policy Institute, a nonprofit research group, says the coronavirus pandemic must serve as a wake-up call to the American people and government about China's threat to global stability.
"By immediately holding China accountable through restitution efforts and building new global efforts focused narrowly on violations of international standards and human rights, the United States will undercut China's long-term ambitions," Kellogg and his colleagues write, according to a full copy of the policy paper obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Kellogg and the America First Policy Institute will distribute the policy doctrine to congressional leaders and foreign-policy insiders to help create pressure on the Biden administration to take a tougher line on China. Kellogg said that one of the "disturbing pieces" about the U.S.-China standoff is that President Joe Biden does not appear to understand the severity of the threat. "That needs to be focused in on. We did it during the Trump administration, [but] I haven't seen that by this administration," Kellogg told the Free Beacon in his first interview on the policy paper.
"This nation and its people need to understand that China is an emergent threat. They need to be accountable and held accountable for their actions and it may take some tough choices going forward, and they need to be ready for that," Kellogg said. "China is looking at us in a way where they think we're a weakening nation. … They don't think we have the national will to challenge them, and Americans need to ask themselves, 'Do we have leaders that are willing to challenge this emergent threat from the East?'"
While the United States has long viewed China as an economic and military competitor, the spread of the coronavirus must forge an approach that Kellogg and his colleagues call "great tragedy accountability." This policy approach includes the acceptance of the possibility that coronavirus leaked from a Wuhan lab, which the Biden administration has not fully embraced.
A primary peg in the doctrine includes forcing the Communist regime to pay the world restitution for its decision to hide the existence and severity of the coronavirus. While this plan has been floated by some Republicans in Congress—and is supported by around two-thirds of Americans recently polled on the matter—the Biden administration has given no indication that it is pursuing this type of accountability. Biden in his first speech before the United Nations General Assembly this month did not once mention China or its responsibility for the coronavirus.
Restitution efforts should be spearheaded by the United States, which could create a coalition of allies to create pressure on China, according to the policy paper. These efforts could be channeled through the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where China could be tried for its behavior surrounding the pandemic. If the Communist Party refuses to participate in an ICJ trial, there is existing precedent for the United States and its allies to boot China from a range of international organizations of import to Beijing, such as the World Trade Organization.
"The potential for restitution could follow the hearings and verdicts that result from efforts at the ICJ. One outcome of the hearings and verdicts could be an Emergency Relief Fund designed to pay restitution to the world's victims of COVID-19," the paper states.
Coronavirus accountability could also underpin and guide a vast array of U.S. policies towards China, including its military and economic approach, the America First Policy Institute says. A policy that accounts for the Communist Party's culpability may also drive many other nations to join the U.S. efforts to contain Beijing.
"The era of great tragedy accountability represents a new chapter in China's relations with the United States and the world," the paper states. "Though China's circumstances today differ from those of other nations during the last century, the United States has the responsibility to take action on behalf of Americans who lost their lives due to COVID-19, which emanated from China, and no longer let China get away with flouting the rules-based international order that the United States helped build and that has delivered untold global prosperity and security."