It is only natural that the reactions of any country’s administration to the global epidemic will have political consequences. There are leaders who will pass this test, and others who will not. States, governments, leaders, regimes, or administrations are tested, and rightly so, in times of crisis.
There may be deep gaps between a country's spot in the global rankings as an economic and military power and the success of its response to the safeguarding of public health.
In this context, it will be striking to make a comparison between the U.S. and Vietnam in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Vietnam, which has a population of 97 million, the total number of cases did not even hit 300, and so far no casualties have been recorded.
Vietnam shares a 1,100-kilometer border with China. This geographical characteristic makes Vietnam more vulnerable to the epidemic than other countries.
Vietnam's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), ranked 46th globally, was worth $255 billion in 2019. This amount corresponds to one third of the defense expenditure of the U.S. However, the U.S. and Vietnam are governed by regimes that can be described as polar opposites.
Although Vietnam has so far proven successful in its fight against the epidemic, the U.S. healthcare system was extremely ill-prepared and dysfunctional. Be it for reasons that have to do with arrogance or ideology, Vietnam's success did not even figure at all in U.S. media coverage. The Vietnamese had learnt their lesson from the SARS epidemic in 2003, and were on alert for COVID-19 and thus acted very quickly.
From the very beginning, the Vietnamese administration declared mass mobilization and dealt with the epidemic as if it were an all-out war.
All those who came into contact those infected were identified and taken under surveillance as soon as possible.
Vietnam, taking extra care to not overlook any detail, has succeeded with this strategy.
The U.S. was selling its brand to the world as the "American Dream." Now the shining star of said dream has been muffled due to the New York outbreak.
The United States, which manufactures the world’s most powerful weapons, and not long ago established a "Space Force," and is constantly churning out prototypes for driver-less cars, flying cars, smart cities, was not as successful as Vietnam in its fight against Covid-19.
Boasting the world's most powerful army and largest economy, the U.S. fell short on masks, test kits, medical gowns and intensive care units.
The epidemic has once again exposed the weaknesses and maliciousness of the capitalist system.
Forces trying to diminish the state have set their sights on public resources. As in previous crises, they are still looking for ways to make the public foot the bill for their loss of profit.
“Bad eggs” such as Vietnam have laid bare the capitalist deception in the central country of the global system.
What good is a system that cannot keep its people safe in crucial times despite all its prowess, success, and flair?
People in America are now seeking answers to this question, along with other countries of the Western world that have been hit hard by the epidemic.
If you recall, when the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, American ideologues dubbed it as the "End of History".
Accordingly, the U.S. and the world of values it stands for represented the last outpost of human civilization. It supposedly couldn't get any better for humanity than this. However, neither the end of history has come nor has the U.S. been able to maintain its global hegemony.
American arrogance has once again been shattered in the face of Covid-19 as “American” and “helplessness” have become synonymous during the pandemic. Desperation is pushing the U.S. to the point of holding China completely responsible for the epidemic. The elites that decide U.S. policy prefer only to blame China instead of having a discussion about their own system of governance.
Past experiences tell us that outbreaks have changed the course of history. Now it’s changing once again. Currently, Covid-19 has wrecked the economy. It has exposed the flaws of the current economic system. The American response to Covid-19's challenge proved that this system was not in service of the people, but the super-rich minority. The rest, as we know, is just a smokescreen. Covid-19 seems to have completely shattered this global illusion.