China's COVID-19 contagion has demonstrated that America's two oceans that once symbolized an enduring national myth of invulnerability from faraway malevolent threats no longer offer any such illusion. Our new reality is that we all live in a connected world where a sneeze anywhere might send almost everyone everywhere else running for shelter.
Wherever this latest pandemic came from, whether it escaped from a Chinese wet market — or was bio engineered for non-malevolent purposes in a research laboratory — it has nevertheless provided the world with an extraordinary demonstration of what could be accomplished with weaponized biology.
Devastatingly virulent diseases that once invaded on foot, horseback and slow sailing ships, now hitch rapid rides on transoceanic jet aircraft, spreading their invisible progeny with deadly abandon. Such invisible natural and diabolically-invented agents of widespread dread, death and destruction spare no populations. Nor, since they constantly evolve to exploit new victim vulnerabilities, are there any permanent interventions.
The present coronavirus crisis painfully clarifies urgent responsibility for our nation to establish reliable early warning systems to detect, identify, isolate, and treat suspicious infectious threats – both natural and malevolent –well before they take hold in the general population. Just as with cyber defense, the pandemic has taught America that we cannot rely exclusively upon foreign or international expertise – whether friends or foes – to accomplish this vital service for us.
We should always remember the egregiously epic consequences of counting on prompt and reliable reporting of the COVID-19 (Wuhan virus) by the disastrously misguided or intentionally disingenuous United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO). Ignoring known contrary evidence reported two weeks earlier from non-member Taiwanese medical officials, Chinese Communist Party-beholden WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted in mid-January that "Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission."
It took a pandemic emergency to wake us up to a realization that China's Communist Party was in a position to leverage our vulnerability to the crisis of their making through control over vital medical response supply chains we have foolishly ceded to them. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), China is the largest supplier of medical devices and basic ingredients used in U.S. pharmaceuticals. Included is the chemical starting material used to create doxycycline, the recommended treatment for anthrax.
Former chief economic advisor to president Trump, Gary Cohn, argued against entering into a trade war with China because a Department of Commerce study determined that we depend upon them for up to 90% of all U.S. antibiotics. Cohn said, "If you're the Chinese and you really want to destroy us, just stop sending us antibiotics."
There is ample reason for concern. An article posted in Beijing's state-run Xinhua newspaper directly claimed that China could impose pharmaceutical export controls to plunge America into "the mighty sea of coronavirus."
In a post-COVID future, we should expect that some dangerous actors will be tempted to seek the capacity to create plagues, and that every country will need to defend against them. The ability to recognize new diseases quickly and to develop treatments and vaccines has become a cornerstone of national defense.
While America focuses first and foremost on the home front, there must also be powerful economic leveraging safeguards and consequences to prevent other countries from irresponsibly or even intentionally releasing future viral waves of havoc upon the world.
Actually, biological warfare really isn't a new idea at all. Weaponized disease was practiced long before the modern era.
Attacking Hittites drove infected people into enemy lands as early as 1000 B.C. Attacking Mongols catapulted the corpses of plague victims into the besieged Crimean City of Caffa in 1346.
More recently, both Axis and Allied governments developed biological weapons during World War II. Japan produced them on a significant scale in its war against China – including the use of ceramic bombs containing bubonic-plague-carrying fleas against the city of Ningbo.
Imagine now, for example, a far more sophisticated bioengineered capacity to unleash a plague upon an opponent's agricultural crops as a strategic advantage. Then shudder to contemplate that this power falls into the hands of a jihadist terror group or other criminal organization.
The urgent takeaway lesson in all of this, is to consider the threat posed to America – to the world – if a country – any country – produced both a coronavirus and a vaccine to protect its own people; then – after the plague accidentally spread globally – withheld the cure from other countries until its negotiating demands on economic or territorial conditions were met.
In the final outcome – whether COVID-19 flew in on a Chinese bat, was stewed up in a laboratory vat, or both, the grave warfare threat implications are no less terrifying either way.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. Larry has written more than 700 articles for Newsmax and Forbes and is the author of several books. Included are: "How Everything Happened, Including Us" (2020), "Cyberwarfare: Targeting America, Our Infrastructure and Our Future" (2020), "The Weaponization of AI and the Internet: How Global Networks of Infotech Overlords are Expanding Their Control Over Our Lives" (2019), "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity" (2019), "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful" (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2011). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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