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Media / News>br> Fareed’s Global Briefing June 13, 2020

Fareed: If Cities Don’t Bounce Back, Blame Bad Government // Global Governance

Burgess COMMENTARY

Peter Burgess
Fareed: If Cities Don’t Bounce Back, Blame Bad Government Inbox x Fareed’s Global Briefing Unsubscribe Jun 12, 2020, 6:21 PM (13 hours ago) to me View this email in your browser Image Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN's Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Chris Good Seeing this newsletter as a forward? Subscribe here. June 12, 2020 Fareed: If Cities Don’t Bounce Back, Blame Bad Government Will Covid-19 spell the end of cities? As Camilla Cavendish wrote last month in the Financial Times, high rents, the ease of telework, and the utter lack of bustle raises an existential urban question: Is there much point to living in a city these days, given all that? But as Fareed writes in his latest Washington Post column, the death of cities has been predicted before—in 1793, Philadelphia was decimated by yellow fever; in the 1970s, the automobile and the flight of industry had combined to produce a bleak forecast—and they’ve always bounced back. That should be the case again today, Fareed argues. While New York City has fared poorly in its battle against Covid-19, we shouldn’t assume dense urban areas are simply fated to fall victim. “Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei are all dense cities with packed mass transit systems—millions traveling on subways—and yet their covid-19 deaths have been amazingly low,” Fareed writes. The difference is that they’ve handled Covid-19 better, having reacted early and adeptly. “If New York City and other urban centers founder this time, it will not be because of pandemics and technology,” Fareed writes. “It will be for the same reason that countries and cities have failed throughout history—bad government.” Does Getting Sicker Make You More Immune? As cities around the world reopen, and as people slowly emerge, immunity looms as an important question for anyone who thinks they may have already had Covid-19 but isn’t sure. (In Bloomberg Businessweek, Stephanie Baker wrote last month of maddeningly conflicting results from a series of antibody tests. Baker suspected she had fallen ill and recovered from Covid-19 and wondered, without satisfactory conclusion, if she still needed to worry about catching it.) Relatively little is known about Covid-19 immunity—how durable it is, for instance, and whether those who have antibodies can still infect others with the virus—but a new study published in the Oxford journal Clinical Chemistry suggests that a severe case of Covid-19 produces a more significant immune response. Scientists with The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, in China, tested 192 confirmed Covid-19 patients for antibodies and found the sicker patients had more of them. Specifically, they found that patients with “[s]evere cases had significantly higher” concentrations of IgM antibodies than those with milder cases, six days after symptoms began. (Some of the first antibodies produced by the human body after infection, IgM antibodies are considered to carry fewer long-term benefits than other types.) Among milder cases, only 46.9% tested positive for IgM antibodies; among severe cases, 85.7% did. “From samples taken within Days 7-12 post-onset, the IgM positive rate of severe cases was higher than that of mild cases … Additionally, all severe patients were IgM positive from Days 13 to 18 post-symptom onset, whereas only 57% of mild patients were positive in this period.” Racism: Not a New Problem for US Foreign Policy As the rest of the world watches protests against racism and police brutality unfold in the US, some have suggested the killing of George Floyd, President Trump’s response to it, and the chaos that ensued have downgraded America’s global standing. But domestic racial inequality has long plagued American foreign policy, Mary L. Dudziak writes in a Foreign Affairs essay, recounting the John F. Kennedy administration’s concerns in the 1960s that the struggle for civil rights in the US—unfolding as it did with police batons, water cannons, and dogs wielded against black protesters—would damage America’s message of liberalism and democracy and reinforce critics calling it hypocritical. “Secretary of State Dean Rusk, in Senate testimony on legislation, stressed that the impact of racism on U.S. foreign relations was ‘very grave.’ For many foreign policy leaders, civil rights reform was essential to protect the nation’s image in the Cold War competition for the hearts and minds of peoples in newly independent nations,” Dudziak writes, noting that the government spun America’s problems in its favor. “The Kennedy administration was wary when hundreds of thousands of people planned to march on Washington that August in support of the Civil Rights Act and broader social change”—the famed March on Washington, at which Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke in 1963. “But the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) tried to ensure that the ‘right’ message about the march was heard around the world. In U.S. propaganda, the march was a symbol of progress, an example of black American political participation, and the realization of American democratic ideals.” Foreign-policy elites have tended to see America’s domestic problems with race as “aberration[s],” Dudziak writes, arguing that this isn’t the case—and that the US would do better by dealing with racism directly. “Calling it out, as have millions of Americans in the past week, does not undermine the nation by revealing its well-known failings to the rest of the world,” Dudziak writes. “The world has known of these failings for centuries. Instead, the protests are a first step toward redress. As other nations are challenged about their own legacies of injustice, a serious U.S. reform effort could be an example of strength worth emulating.” What Is the G7 Good for, Anyway? The G7—consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US—comprises seven of the world’s top 10 economies by GDP, all democracies, and its leaders meet once a year in a confab of global power. But what does it actually do? Not much, according to an essay in The Hindu by former Indian diplomat Jayant Prasad. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she wouldn’t attend this year’s planned summit in Washington, listing Covid-19 as the reason and prompting its postponement until September, but Prasad suggests this isn’t such bad news, as these gatherings “have had desultory results” of late, anyway. The G7 failed to respond to the 2008 financial crash, while the larger G20 proved more effective, Prasad writes. It also “has not covered itself with glory with respect to contemporary issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, the challenge of the Daesh, and the crisis of state collapse in West Asia.” G7 members saw massive flows of foreign fighters travel to join ISIS, Prasad writes; they are now abandoning their liberal values and rejecting migrants seeking entry to Europe, he argues. As President Trump suggests the reinclusion of Russia, Prasad argues that expanding the group would be wise. A 2017 PwC report projected that in 2050, the world’s 10 top-performing economies (measured by purchasing-power parity, a metric that has China as the current leader) would be China, India, the US, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Japan, Germany, and the UK, in that order. Prasad suggests a better grouping than the G7 would be those countries plus France, Turkey, South Korea, and Australia. At Foreign Policy, Erik Brattberg and Ben Judah back a similar idea, advocating a so-called D10 of the world’s 10 leading democracies: the current G7 plus South Korea, India, and Australia—a group that notably would not include China and could focus on issues (China-sensitive ones, we might note) including 5G technology and supply chains. Brattberg and Judah see it as a way for Britain, in particular, to throw its liberal-democratic weight around. Will North Korea Come Out Ahead in the Pandemic? At the Lowy Institute’s The Interpreter blog, Khang Vu suggests it might. While we don’t have accurate information on Covid-19 cases or deaths coming out of the Hermit Kingdom, Khang writes, the pandemic has afforded leader Kim Jong-un some benefits. China opposes strict enforcement of sanctions on North Korea, Khang notes, and the “pandemic allowed Beijing to cooperate with Pyongyang to help fight Covid-19 and ‘provide assistance’ to the country without the negativity associated with breaking” them. “On the military front, North Korea did not let the pandemic slow its missile progress and used the time to develop its nuclear capability,” according to Khang. “In March, North Korea conducted four short-range missile tests, one more than the first quarter of 2017 before an improvement in inter-Korean and North Korea-United States relations,” as the country hints that a new, strategic weapon is in development. After Kim’s “charm offensive” in recent years succeeded in winning over China, Khang suggests, the pandemic has given the North some room, bolstering the case for sanctions to be lifted and allowing time for weapons development.
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