From Russia with Love

With united Europe MIA in its Covid-19 response, worst-hit nations turn to ‘evil’ Russia & China for help

And thank heavens for Russia and China, because if either Italy or Spain had been looking to the EU — or the USA for that matter — for real, on-the-ground assistance that would enable them to simply stop people dying in their thousands in overcrowded hospitals, then they would have found themselves waiting in vain.

Iran rejects Trump’s virus aid offer: “The American leaders are liars, manipulators, impudent and greedy … They are charlatans,” he said, also labeling them “absolutely ruthless” and “terrorists”. The American proposals “to help us with medicines and treatments, provided we ask for them, are strange”, he said, noting that the United States itself suffers from “a horrible shortage not only of disease prevention equipment but also of medicines”.*

23 Mar, 2020

Brussels has all but abandoned them to their fates, so is it any wonder that Italy, Spain and other European countries have turned to Moscow and Beijing for meaningful support in terms of expert advice and medical supplies?

When this coronavirus pandemic has passed and the nations of the European Union are counting the cost of decimated populations, shattered public health infrastructures and economic meltdowns, one thing is certain: the dynamics within the bloc will have changed forever.

Before the global outbreak of this killer virus, Russia and China were always the West’s undisputed bogeymen. Troublemakers, always up to mischief, playing dangerous geopolitical games intended to undermine Western democracies and divide allies in the EU and NATO.

The Chinese are not seeking to destroy Americans’ way of life. The Chinese accept fundamental aspects of our capitalist marketplace, and they have similar interests in halting climate change, fighting terrorists, and combating pandemics. China should be regarded as a serious rival as well as a crucial partner.

Many in the Western mainstream media are addicted to a daily fix of either Russian or Chinese conspiracy, so they probably don’t appreciate the irony here. Because things have changed.

In a big way.

It’s largely due to the generosity of these two “tricksy” outsider superpowers that some European nations, fully paid-up, long-term members of the EU, have even a remote chance of getting to grips with the immense public health demands caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus.

And thank heavens for that, because if either Italy or Spain had been looking to the EU — or the USA for that matter — for real, on-the-ground assistance that would enable them to simply stop people dying in their thousands in overcrowded hospitals, then they would have found themselves waiting in vain.

Sure, the ECB weighed in only last week, with an unprecedented fiscal bazooka aimed at reducing the economic impact that is being caused by the virus (ar at least by the measures governments are taking to try to stop it). But that’s fighting the virus in one manner only, very much after the fact and certainly not on the frontline.

This significance of that fiscal help will only really be apparent once the health crisis is over and the full, disastrous economic consequences are realized. And the fact that it is far from over right now is what needs immediate attention, like providing more medical staff, personal protection gear, ventilators, hospitals and, obviously, a vaccine.

But the message from Brussels to Italy, Spain and other EU members is clear: in dealing with the pandemic and the thousands of dead citizens it leaves in its wake, you are on your own.

The EU’s abject hopelessness and indifference started to become clear some weeks back in the face of the escalating virus, when the export beyond national borders of facemasks and medical equipment was banned by some EU members, including Germany.