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Corona – virus is no gloating matter.

The Corona virus looks threatening. Most nations are affected – it is a pandemic. Let’s hope it can be stopped quickly. Apart from coping with the direct assault on the US however, it suggests a Foreign Policy opportunity  that should not be overlooked.

Many nations are already suffering badly – at all levels from the leadership to the man in the street. Some are our friends, some are long term adversaries, their economies already shattered by our geo-economic warfare. 

Iran is an example. As of yesterday it has announced 388 infections and 34 deaths. The US embargoes have already meant border closures – the economy has been crippled by our international sanctions. Black market efforts by the Iranian revolutionary guard and the Iraqi Shiite groups have  kept open the oil smuggling routes into Baghdad but the corona virus could close this limited avenue for income. Iran’s health system is already jeopardized – it has 10 doctors per 10,000 people – we have nearly 5 times that number! It is simply  not equipped to respond, there have been riots, curfews are threatened. 

But, and here’s the point, this is no time for us to gloat – especially if ,as the President insists, we are on top of the menace, fully prepared. This is a chance to stretch out a hand – to help – to show our concern for humanity and to finesse the mangling relationships that our warfare has helped to produce.

America First has been the myopic thought of a two dimensional administration. It is especially misleading in the context of the world superpower’s foreign policy. Climate change, Technological transformation, coping with poverty and now health management  – all demand inclusive, global and scientifically expert leadership. The US has this capability – we should deploy it as part of an opportunistic global and humanitarian response.

Have a good day, James