It Took a Pandemic to Show Us That.....
An isolated country is disadvantaged if facing a world-wide crisis. For that reason, organizations like the United Nations, The North American Treaty Organization (NATO), and The Organization of American States (OAS) were created to protect the United States (and the world) from political and military aggression. International trade agreements like the recently-passed United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) and ongoing trade negotiations with China and other countries demonstrate our commitment to pursuing more balanced, fair trade arrangements, and as a founding member of The Paris Agreement, took the first major step to protect us from the effects of climate change. Finally, The World Health Organization (WHO) was established to monitor and protect the world’s health against dangerous illnesses.
Recently, all of these organizations have come under fire for being too costly to the U.S. , outdated, and ineffective. Several years ago, our position in the Paris Agreement was totally abandoned, with the U.S. abdicating its leadership role entirely. We CANNOT let the same thing happen with the others, especially the World Health Organization.
There are valid concerns regarding the costs and performance of these organization, frequent review would lead to improvement but dismissing their critically-important work, or threatening to and actually withdrawing vital funding, will work against us when facing a common threat that strikes regardless of nationality, race, age, gender, or political party affiliation.
It took a pandemic to show us that we need a strong federal government - Rather, along with strong leadership, we need one that takes direct, decisive actions to protect its citizenry. It is exactly what is needed to harness the incredible power of our military and economy to do what needs to be done.
An attack against our nation requires a national (federal) response. It cannot be left up to the individual states to fend for themselves. Imagine if Franklin Delano Roosevelt, responding to the attack on Pearl Harbor, asked the other states to each raise, arm and coordinate their own military response, and take on Japan and Germany alone? It would have been an utter disaster. The same goes for a viral breakout that hits any state.
The Defense Production Act of 1950, enacted during the Korean War, authorizes the president to direct businesses and manufacture to accept and prioritize contracts for materials deemed necessary for national defense. This also can be used to outlaw hoarding or price-gouging. The right powers needed to manage a crisis from the top down. These are immense powers that a president with a proper sense of responsibility could have used effectively to direct the development and mass distribution of COVID-19 testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE) for those who are treating the stricken, and manufacturing specialized, life-saving equipment. But it is not enough to “be in charge”. A true leader must be willing and capable to “take charge” when required.
The serious near-miss with Ebola back in 2014 led that past administration to plan for the next inevitable viral outbreak by creating a National Security Council Directorate to mitigate the impact of such a crisis. And to further support an effective response, they developed a “pandemic playbook”, outlining a step-by-step plan on how to marshal those vast resources to
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