The World Is Taking Pity on Us

Timothy Egan in The New York Times:

“The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful,” wrote Fintan O’Toole in The Irish Times. And he asked: “Will American prestige ever recover from this shameful episode?”

…“The United States reacted like Pakistan or Belarus, like a country with a shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering.” That’s the indictment of The Atlantic’s George Packer, calling the United States a failed state. He’s half right. As scientists note, you can’t stop an outbreak from happening, but you can stop it from becoming a catastrophe that brings down a society. The United States spends more on health care, per capita, than any other rich nation. And yet, here we are: a full-blown disaster, in lockdown with a narcissist for a president.

A country that turned out eight combat aircraft every hour at the peak of World War II could not even produce enough 75-cent masks or simple cotton nasal swabs for testing in this pandemic.

A country that showed the world how to defeat polio now promotes quack remedies involving household disinfectants from the presidential podium.

A country that rescued postwar Europe with the Marshall Plan didn’t even bother to show up this week at the teleconference of global leaders pledging contributions for a coronavirus vaccine.

A country that sent George Patton and Dwight Eisenhower to crush the Nazis now fights a war against a viral killer with Jared Kushner, a feckless failed real estate speculator who holds power by virtue of his marriage to the president’s daughter.

More here.