We can all understand how China's role in world trade has fueled the spread of Covid-19. The fact that those countries nearest to China--South Korea and Taiwan--seem to have been the best prepared and to have reacted the most effectively may not be coincidence. Countries further afield from the Middle Kingdom were more inclined to view this as happening far away.
Today at The Federalist Helen Raleigh explains the linkage between China's One Belt One Road (OBOR) neo-colonialist initiative led directly to the Covid-19 debacle in Italy and Iran. It's a lesson on getting one's own house in order and keeping Chicoms at arm's length--literally and figuratively. Fortunately for the US, we have a leader who acted decisively even as the Establishment was seeking to oust him.
Iran and Italy's economies are worsening, and their people are suffering most in this Wuhan virus outbreak — all because of their leaders’ short-sighted and foolish decisions.
Italy and Iran have very different social, economic, and political systems. Yet both nations share something in common: Their leaders refused to implement economic and political reforms in their nations. Instead, they sought close ties with communist China in recent years, selling out their countries and their people’s interests, hoping Beijing’s red capital would rescue their failing economies. Now their economies are worsening and their people are suffering most in this outbreak — all because of these leaders’ short-sighted and foolish decisions.
Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent article at NRO that focuses on the boomerang effect that the Covid-19 crisis could have on China's ambitions--hopefully:
Its bad behavior in the wake of COVID-19 will leave it in its weakest global position in memory. And the U.S. will emerge stronger.
Of course, never underestimate the shortsightedness of the corrupted Western societies and their leaders. Again, the US is very fortunate in its president at this juncture. As an aside, Hanson is on a similar page to the one I'm on in expressing optimism for the US situation. Excerpts:
Sometime in late November the Chinese Communist Party apparat was aware that the ingredients of some sort of an epidemic were brewing in Wuhan. Soon after, it was also clear to them that a new type of coronavirus was on the loose, a threat they might have taken more seriously given the similar Chinese origins of the prior toxic SARS coronavirus and the resources of a Level 4 virology lab nearby.
Yet the government initially hid all that knowledge from its own people in particular and in general from the world at large. Translated into American terms, that disingenuousness ensured that over 10,000 Chinese nationals and foreigners living in China flew every day on direct flights into the United States (Washington and California especially) from late November to the beginning of February, until the Trump travel ban of January 31.
All this laxity was also known to the Communist apparat in Beijing, which must have been amused when Trump was roundly damned by his liberal critics as a xenophobe and racist for finally daring to stop the influx on January 31 — the first major leader to enact such a total ban.
Yet, no thanks to the Chinese, America, so far, has been comparatively lucky — despite the grave risks of damaging a multi-trillion-dollar economy with the strictest quarantining, isolation policies, and social distancing in its history. Half the country lives in the interior away from ports of entry on the coasts. Medical care, sanitation, hygiene, and meat markets operate on different premises than in China, ... The result is that as of mid-March, the U.S., the world’s foremost immigration destination and among the most visited of nations, had suffered fewer virus fatalities than some European countries a fifth or sixth of its population size.
No doubt when mass testing begins, the figures of known cases will soar, and fatalities will rise. Yet while we know pretty well the number of Americans who have died from the virus, we have in truth little idea of how many now carry it or how many have recovered from it, without knowing what sickened them or even whether they were ostensibly sick at all. In other words, the rate of new cases identified by testing may exceed the rate of new deaths, apprising us of a more precise — and perhaps lower — degree of viral toxicity.
Whereas annual flu toxicity is adjudicated by modeling case numbers, and by sophisticated and learned guesses at the number of likely infections, so far the death rate of the coronavirus is calibrated a bit differently — apparently predicated both on known deaths and known cases. When we make facile comparisons between the flu and coronaviruses, they may prove valid, but for now it’s still wise to remember that annual flu cases could be fewer than what is guessed at through modeling each year, and corona infections may be higher than the current known numbers of confirmed positives. The former reality might mean that the flu is at times a little more lethal than we think and the corona virus a little less deadly. That is not to suggest that most strains of flu are as lethal as the coronavirus, only that for the vast majority of Americans the current U.S. COVID-19 case-to-fatality ratio of 2 percent may eventually prove less, and influenza’s commonly cited 0.01 lethality rate may prove higher. In any case, 98–99 percent of Americans may well recover from the coronavirus — a rate that is not typical of most of history’s plagues.
The realities are paradoxical: If the coronavirus infects as many Americans as an average flu strain, then ten times more Americans could die — mostly over the age of 65 — even as the vast majority of all Americans will not. Statistics change hourly, but the CDC as of the afternoon of March 16 reports that there are currently 3,437 cases of known coronavirus infections and 68 deaths attributed to the virus, or about two deaths per 100 infected — the majority of them again likely over 65.
The coronavirus could be the straw that breaks the proverbial back of the Chinese camel, stooped under the recent weight of a trade war with the U.S., the revelation of 1 million Uighurs in reeducation camps, the crackdown on Hong Kong democracy protesters, and news of the sprawling Chinese internal-surveillance apparat. The world is now both terrified and put off by China, and such anathemas will only harm its already suspect and misbegotten Silk Road neocolonial schemes.
Here in the U.S., COVID-19 will create bipartisan pressure to adopt policies of keeping key U.S. industries — such as medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and military applied high-tech — in America. Americans will not again wish to outsource the vast majority of their chemotherapy-drug, antibiotic, and heart-medicine production to a government that cannot be trusted and that sees such globalized output as a weapon to be used in extremis.