In a speech that sowed fear and confusion, US President Donald Trump announced the introduction of a travel ban for citizens of most European countries. In this, Trump described COVID-19 as a “foreign virus” and tried to blame European countries for not reacting as quickly as he claimed the US did.
But the new coronavirus is not an external problem now.
It has never been, nor could it be, in an era as globalized as it is today, writes James Palmer, senior editor at Foreign Policy. The arrival of the virus in the US was as inevitable as McDonaldis’s in Beijing over two decades ago.
When the contact chains are rebuilt, they will indicate patterns of infection within American communities, possibly long before the virus is first detected. The same thing happens worldwide.
The virus is not a Chinese or a foreign problem. It’s universal, writes Palmer.
Certainly, the number of coronavirus cases in the US is smaller than in Italy, France or Germany, despite the larger population. But US cases are growing exponentially. Far from the vision described in Trump’s speech, the Americans’ reaction is harshly criticized.
Two things make Trump’s ban particularly absurd, writes the Foreign Policy editor.
The first is the exclusion of US citizens, permanent residents and their families. From a humanitarian point of view, it is a good thing. But the viruses do not respect passports.
The second concerns the fact that it is confined to the countries of the Schengen Area, excluding Great Britain and Ireland.
The UK has far more confirmed cases than most European countries, and travel between the UK and the countries concerned is constant and frequent.
The exclusion measure can only be understood as a political measure, an attempt to attract a British prime minister whom Trump sees as an ideological ally against an EU that he openly despises, writes James Palmer.
The virus is likely to spread through the developing world as it spreads in the US. Perhaps Trump hopes to expand such measures and has targeted Europe first to defend himself against accusations of racism. But the exclusion of Europe alone has no logic.
Trump, of course, has loved such bans for a long time, even before the outbreak of the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump’s vision has always been of a Fortress America, snooping away from the dangers of the world while leading it. The president may not realize that one of the dangers that threatened the fortresses was the plague, which wreaked havoc among the populations enclosed within them, writes the Foreign Policy editor.
Article taken from zf.ro
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