Coronavirus 'war' has turned leaders into wimps
PARIS -- Years from now, historians will still be studying how the entire world whipped itself into committing collective economic suicide. And all because of an illness with a mortality level approximating that of the seasonal flu.
The flu was responsible for about 57,000 deaths in the United States last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The coronavirus had caused nearly 43,000 deaths in the U.S. at the time of this writing.
This fun little experiment in totalitarianism -- which has involved suspending the most basic human rights of movement, assembly and work, keeping people locked up in their homes under threat of criminal sanctions, and forcing them to rely on government handouts -- is starting to wane.
As lockdown-defying protests ramp up in France and the U.S., it takes someone of extraordinary privilege and entitlement to criticize those who are taking to the streets to fight against their livelihoods being yanked out from under them. Those who are either too scared or too rich to bother fighting for their rights accuse protesters of prioritizing economic viability over health. But that's what America has always done when it has sent troops to fight and die in wars in order to secure U.S. economic interests. And, after all, we keep being told this is a war. So why are there so many wimps and whiners around?
Our leaders consistently and ridiculously refer to this virus in militaristic terms. U.S. President Donald Trump calls it the "invisible enemy." French President Emmanuel Macron said six times in a single speech, "We are at war." But this is the only "war" where nations are being required to economically implode to reduce combat deaths.
At the outset of the crisis, the rhetoric was all about "flattening the curve." Then we were told that the lockdown had to continue until there were "no new cases." Now we're starting to hear about the need for lockdown to head off a "second wave." Based on this logic, governments during World War II would have just locked everyone in their homes until after the Nazis had taken over the world and Adolf Hitler's attack curve had "flattened" -- along with the infrastructure of many world capitals.
This is the only "war" in history that features millennial health care workers crying in viral videos, blubbering: "I've never seen anything like this before!" Can you picture World War II medics doing that?
This is the only war in history that features government apparatchiks who crawled out of the bowels of our modern-day ministries of science and information to present wildly speculative models of death to the public, fostering body bag sensitivity and hypochondriasis during wartime. Wherever you look, these apparatchiks are all singing from the same hymn book, selling out national sovereignty and decision-making by constantly deferring to the thought-droppings of a thoroughly inept institution of global governance: the World Health Organization.
Either the WHO was misled by China about the magnitude of the early localized outbreak there, or it really didn't consider the virus to be a big deal -- or maybe both. In any case, the WHO blew its chance to be taken seriously. But apparently, that's not going to stop the whitecoat bureaucrats advising our hapless leaders from placing our welfare in the WHO's certifiably inept hands. Which is why, regardless of how untouched any particular jurisdiction might be by coronavirus, all of the health experts seem intent on following the same deconfinement timeline dictated by the WHO.
Can you imagine how World War II would have turned out for the Allies if there had been some supranational bureaucracy headed by a political glad-hander from a random country dictating to world leaders the timing and means by which the war would end? Yet that's exactly what's happening in the world right now.
Looking out over the global landscape in search of a leader confident enough to defy unproven global groupthink, we mostly see a barren wasteland of political insecurity. Our leaders' photo ops and press conferences are merely attempts to make it look like they're doing something useful at a time when anything short of lifting lockdowns and opening economies is completely useless.
This war, like all others qualified by governments as such, will end with winners and losers, and it will significantly affect the future world order. To the victors -- not the wimps -- go the spoils.
(Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and host of an independently produced French-language program that airs on Sputnik France. Her website can be found at www.rachelmarsden.com.)