“That would almost certainly pull down countries that had escaped the worst ravages of the virus itself, simply because the countries that would be hit hardest are the great industrial and food-producing countries,” Dr. Alan Ned Sabrosky said in an interview with the Balkans Post.
Balkans Post: What do we know about the origin of the coronavirus? Which claims are mere speculations and which ones are facts?
Alan Ned Sabrosky: From what I can discern other than the likelihood that this virus first appeared publicly in Wuhan China, almost everything is speculation. It is not certain if the virus was first transmitted by an animal (a bat) or originated in a biological warfare laboratory. If the latter, we do not know if the laboratory was solely Chinese, or if there was some foreign involvement - overt or covert. If it was released by or from a biowar laboratory, we cannot tell if the release was deliberate or accidental. If deliberate, was it a test that simply got out of hand, or a deliberate attempt to do - something. (The very last I doubt, because anything that was not absolutely devastating would simply alert others to the existence of the virus, and allow countermeasures to be prepared and taken.)
BP: You have recently contracted the coronavirus. How has the virus impacted you personally?
Alan Ned Sabrosky: Fortunately, I had a mild case of this virus, formally called COVID-19, and began to recover quickly. It was for 3-4 days still an exercise in misery. Worse than the physical effects have been the social effects: self-quarantine and self-isolation when almost everything is shut down are not a joy. Worse was the sense of uncertainty - not knowing how the virus is transmitted among people, what is the best way (if there is any!) of avoiding it or treating it, how long symptoms last (varies greatly) and how long one is infectious (unknown as of now).
BP: What are the short-term and long-term impacts of the virus on different countries throughout the world?
Alan Ned Sabrosky: Complicated question. Let us look at short-term impacts first. What is ironic is that with few exceptions, those Western countries with good healthcare systems, good supplies of food, good water supply and sanitation - these are the ones that have been hit the hardest. Many other countries in Africa, North Africa & the Middle East, Asia & Latin America that often have none of these things, have barely been touched. (A look at the national differences in total cases and especially in total deaths makes this abundantly clear: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ Clear disruption of many societies, especially those hit the hardest, severe economic hardship - unemployment soaring, many small businesses closed, schools closed for the rest of the year, and so forth.)
Long-term impacts depend largely on the virus itself. The growth curve is flattening in many places and even declining in some but not all others. If that continues, globally we may pull out of this as if it were a very bad recession. BUT if it spikes and rises again, forcing societies that have begun to emerge from lockdown back into closings & quarantines, accompanied by significant increases in total number of cases and total number of deaths, then I fear we globally are heading into something likely to be as bad as the world-wide depression of the late 1920s - early 1930s. That would almost certainly pull down countries that had escaped the worst ravages of the virus itself, simply because the countries that would be hit hardest are the great industrial and food-producing countries.
BP: How was the United States’ response to the pandemic?
Alan Ned Sabrosky: Generally slow in starting to respond, as was virtually every other country. Then an attempt at both national and state levels to contain the spread of the virus by closing down all but essential industries & businesses, mandating (and in some cases actually enforcing!) "stay-at-home" orders for almost everyone and quarantine or hospitalization (in severe cases) of those showing symptoms of the virus. Politically, the Democrats have not covered themselves with glory, seeing in the crisis caused by the virus an opportunity to take down President Trump in the 2020 election - if it actually takes place as scheduled. Trump himself has alternated between - well, determination and what I would call diffidence. His strongest card going into the election was a great economy and low unemployment. Now he has a badly shaken economy, unemployment at 30 million and rising, a possible disruption of the food supply chain (not helped by labor unions almost all affiliated with his political opponents), and a mainstream media that is with the partial exception of Fox News utterly hostile to him. It is an "interesting time," in the sense of the ancient Chinese curse.
BP: You have recently said “I do not know if Trump (except – and this is a BIG ‘except’ – for his bonding with Israel) is part of the swamp or someone who wanted to clean it out.” Could you elaborate on this point?
Alan Ned Sabrosky: Trump came into office proclaiming his determination to "drain the swamp" - i.e. the entrenched political appointees, professional bureaucrats and such. As far as anyone can determine, that hasn't happened. A few people have been fired, some things done internally, but the apparatus of government largely lumbers along as it did under Obama and his predecessors, despite mutterings of tens of thousands of sealed indictments that will brings hordes of transgressors to justice. I find it a nice dream, but no more than that. Most of America's ills come from the Jewish-dominated "Deep State" and its overt control of money (financial institutions) and media (networks, newspapers & magazines, printed and digital) publishing and education. These are largely untouched by Trump. Many neo-cons & dual Israeli citizens swarm in his administration, but all of the generals of whom he was initially so proud publicly are gone. And obviously, he is the most pro-Israel president in U.S. history - and given his predecessors, that is saying something. But he rose in the social and economic circles of New York City and Hollywood - how could he be any different? How could he NOT be a creature of the very swamp he professed (or pretended) to want to drain?
Alan Ned Sabrosky (PhD, University of Michigan) is a ten-year Marine Corps veteran. He served two tours in Vietnam with the 1st Marine Division, and is a graduate (as a civilian) of the US Army War College.