Let’s say, as a hypothetical example, that you are the leader of a major economic power in a world full of chaos and confusion. Let’s say you have over a billion people to feed and are engaged in a struggle with a smaller, but slightly more powerful enemy power across the world with a very different governing philosophy than yours. Let’s say you want to find a way to dominate that smaller power by unleashing an unforeseen weapon that strikes at the most vulnerable aspect of your enemy. What might you do?
Here’s an idea. Unleash a potentially fatal and highly mutable virus into the world and then deny having done it, and blame your enemy. Assume that the high-tech potential of your enemy might be able to develop a vaccine against the virus but that the political atmosphere and the crazed, divisive mindset of your enemy would lead to many not taking advantage of the advanced science and thus leaving them susceptible to the viral infection. Then, count on that divisive politics to create even more chaos that multiply the untoward effects of the virus and bring your enemy to its knees, not so much because of the infectious nature of the virus, but because of the ignorant societal response to the challenge that you launched. Who needs nuclear weapons when you can play on your enemy’s ignorance?
It is easy to believe that this is the reality we face at the present time.
Despite overwhelming evidence that the novel coronavirus emanated from Wuhan, whether from a wet market or the Wuhan Lab, whether purposefully or accidentally, the consequences to the west and the rest of the world are the same. In this game, China wins.
It is not so much which of the scenarios really occurred that troubles me so. I neither believe or don’t believe this was a purposeful act by the Chinese. I certainly believe the virus came from their bats whether through a pangolin or through a sloppy lab tech. What troubles me so as a former scientist and physician is the woeful way in which the United States has mounted a response to the threat despite our advanced science. We used to be the country capable of doing big things in response to a crisis. The FDR response to the Depression, the mobilization of World War II and the development of the atomic bomb all gave Americans great pride in their collective efforts to thwart external and internal enemies. Since Vietnam, we have not done as well with the Gulf War being a shining example of American fortitude, inventiveness and leadership on the part of President Bush 41. His son made a mess of both Afghanistan and Iraq and it’s been downhill since then.
We have really not had an effective leader in the White House since Bush 41 and some of the presidents (Clinton, Trump) have been embarrassments. The Chinese leadership is having us for lunch and so are the Chinese people. This trend can change, but only with fresh leadership. Neither Mr. Biden nor Mr. Trump can bring the vision or will necessary to move America into the rest of the 21st-century.
I have no idea how purposeful the unleashing of the coronavirus was by the Chinese. If it was an accident, what were they doing playing gain of function games with a lethal virus anyway? And if this was not an accident, give them credit for being both clever and diabolical. This may be the greatest evil let loose in the world since Pandora’s Box.
It is time for America to get serious in this very dangerous world and no one can take Joe Biden or Donald Trump seriously. In other words, once those two were the nominees in 2020, we were in trouble. Let’s start by crawling out of trouble with some good candidates for Congress in 2022. Then let’s get some fresh blood in the Presidential arena in 2024. Make no mistake about it, this is international blood sport. Winner take all.