Why are some countries dealing with the COVID19 pandemic much better than others? The question is deceptively simple, yet the answers are highly contested. The difficulties arise from a misleading polarisation between allegedly ‘authoritarian’ and ‘liberal’ strategies.
This has led to misinformed criticism of so-called ‘lockdowns’ on the grounds that they are unavoidably repressive which, when coupled with demonstrably false claims that the danger from COVID can safely be disregarded, has led to tragic result – as in the UK, top of the charts with 667 deaths per million at the time of writing. Second, the polarisation has led to a serious misunderstanding of China’s actual strategy, based on the widespread perception – boosted by the charged political atmosphere generated by US attempts to pin the blame for COVID on China – that China’s ‘authoritarian’ political system has facilitated a highly repressive response to COVID which accounts for its success. This is leading to further tragic results as countries reject both China’s strategy, and its assistance, writes Alan Freeman
, Co-Director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group,
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, in the Valdai Parer #115