This article is a note from the E-Conclave arranged by India Today with Thomas Friedman. For entire video discussion, you can visit India Today.
Impact of pandemic on US hegemony
We were already on decline. American exceptionalism is on decline. And the COVID-19 crisis has exposed all our weakness. This has exposed our health infrastructure, cognitive immunity. It has exposed US leadership. We have a leader who only thinks in terms of profit & gain. And he is worst possible president you can have while facing worst possible crisis in history. We are cursed to have him as a president in such time.
However, China cannot supplant America in global leadership. China owes the world explanation. If it came from lab or from vet stores? China was already asked to ban vet stores for zoonotic diseases.
Historically America played 3 roles in global crisis. 1] Led efforts for coordinated response. 2] Aid & comfort to others. 3] Rigorously science & fact based innovation to solve challenges.
But in this situation, we’re none of these. This is one crisis where USA is not leading. We are not who we think we are. We spent last 20 years thinking we can be as dumb as we. We can elect complete huckster – Trump. & assume that he can be better than car salesman. If we’ve done this – we get what we deserve. USA needs healthy conservative party. We don’t have it.
Comparison of different leaders dealing with crisis
“The world needs the leadership that can mange the unavoidable and avoid the unmanageable”
This is different crisis, because the enemy here is not another country. You cannot use the terms win & loose. Your goal is not to defeat mother nature, but to adapt. In natural world, mother nature rewards not the strongest, not the smartest, she awards the most adaptive, those who are able to evolve accordingly. What every country is facing is huge adaptation challenge. Sweden is choosing herd immunity. Some are choosing lockdown.
Tight culture vs Loose culture
Tight culture stands for top down approach, while loose culture denotes individualistic preference. Presently it seems that states with tight culture like China are able to handle the crisis better. And if USA wants to persevere its loose culture in future, we’ve to invest in healthcare.
Debate after crisis
Who will be bailed out. Everyone has suffered from crisis and everyone is demanding compensation from govt. Govt.s have to decide what should we go let under? I suggest that in short term, you just have to borrow & spend it. All cannot be bailed out, rather stimulus to economy should be provided.
Impact of pandemic on climate change?
Pandemic & climate change are different things. Climate change doesn’t peak grow. It is gradual. You cannot get herd immunity in climate change. All you get is desperate pounding of herds. We’ve invaded & affected ecosystem. Killed apex predator, iconic species. This leads to proliferation of generalised species like rats, bats, primates. And these species has evolved with viruses, when we hunt them & sell them these viruses which were never meant for humans, jump to us.