The many instances of the Trump regime’s America-first sabre-rattling in the history of the pandemic so far seems to have sparked off a debate on such cut-throat approaches. Trump may have once called Covid-19 a hoax and later claimed it would simply vanish on its own; however, his administration’s actions seem to suggest the exact opposite thinking. Germany and France have accused the US of waylaying consignments of masks meant for their citizens, while the US government found itself surrounded in controversy over the seizing of a consignment of 20,000 ventilators the Caribbean nation had paid for. The American president had even tried to arm twist India over its short-lived export ban on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). Earlier this month, it was reported that the US had bought the entire supply of Gilead’s remdesivir, which has reported some success against Covid-19. Such action has sparked off strong criticism globally, especially given the trough that the US is in terms of its relations with many nations.
No one nation—or a handful of nations (the UK, France, etc, already have mega-vaccine-deals)—should corner the bulk of anything that helps fight the pandemic. But, governments across the world are facing an unprecedented health crisis with economic and even potential law & order fallout. And, thus, such exceptionalism has become the order of the day. Protectionist policies and even export bans—India only recently lifted its export restrictions on masks and sanitiser—are all being done to safeguard respective populations’ interests. The need is to reconcile the interests of nations with the global goal of stopping Covid-19—else, the choice will be rapid deglobalisation or the pandemic continuing into the foreseeable future.