In the past two years, the West has shown its inherent cultural weakness, lack of ambition, and its willingness to lay flat and die, and this has been manifested through its crude fatalism towards managing and controlling the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic.

From the first yelps of dying hubris as the US and UK leadership decried COVID not to be a fundamental threat, and both its governments and citizens refusing to take measures to stem its inflow, to the abrupt reversal and years of social, economic, and political turmoil that have threatened the entire international order, the US-led Western bloc has essentially taken the view that either COVID is not a threat, or if it is, that it is inevitable, and that taking measures to actually stop it would be too costly, other than developing cheap but inefficient solutions like vaccines.

Other states, including totalitarian China, and even Taiwan through an oscillating and somewhat disappointing serious of positive steps followed by blunders by Chen Shih-chung 陳時中, by contrast, have instead shown their ambition, and their national will to not accept the inevitable nor fatalism.

Despite China being the original source of the virus and their deliberate actions designed to spread the virus across the world, they are aiming for a 0-COVID policy, with no tolerance, meaning action, regarding any outbreak cases.

Such policies has been derided by many in the West for their impracticality, stemming from the outdated idea that countries must eventually “open,” itself an unclear word, which is utterly false.

Definitions matter when defining “openness,” and even the WHO has reiterated the distinction between blanket travel bans and comprehensive quarantine restrictions being put in place, including on elites who are often highly-exposed and the most dangerous, yet often score exemptions from such protocols put in place to protect the population.

Outlets like the Economist and even DW are busy perpetuating the falsehoods that such measures are ineffective, and have been vaccine-centric to the exclusion of all other relevant policies.

The implication is that continued economic growth and connectivity with the outside world are stymied by inward travel bans for non-citizens, and lengthy quarantine requirements. Such views are blatantly false, and based on crude opinion-based assumptions. The most basic evidence instead shows that countries like China and Taiwan which have strict bans and lengthy quarantines have experienced far better economic growth numbers than have the West. This is largely because Taiwan did not have to deal with mass hysteria, crippling shutdowns, and protests over domineering social controls enacted when countries lost their capacity to control its spread.

The economic and social stability brought about by the virtually zero cases experienced by states like Taiwan for most of the past two years have meant instead that economic growth has increased despite such restrictions in place. Thus the notion that countries will “have to open eventually” is patently wrong, and is based on long-dead economic and social paradigms that assume that trade must be based on freedom of movement for transnational cosmopolitan business elites.

Rather, because of such crude and outdated fallacies, and the unwillingness of states to enforce their own quarantine rules, consequent economic devastation, political unrest, and demographic tolls have meant that West has essentially sacrificed two years of growth, untold trillions in lost output, and led to millions of premature deaths.

Most of all, they have sacrificed their political and institutional legitimacy by demonstrating that democratic states and societies are no more capable, and are in fact often less

Instead, the West, and indeed China, have put most of their eggs in the vaccine basket, hoping that relatively untested, rushed to market, and quickly deprecated inoculations will make up for the gross incompetence of states, paired with the low expectations, compliance, and nihilistic defeatism of their people.

Fatalism is driving the developed world into cultural and then demographic extinction. Without the willingness to accept the truth, that vaccines alone, especially when they are only made available to OECD elites, and not to densely packed residents of megacities in the global South where most of the mutations occur, will barely scratch the surface.

COVID might indeed rip apart the foundations of the modern international order should this continue for the next decade, which increasingly appears likely as annual mutations could simply reset the clock on so-called “herd immunity.”

States can try repeating what has failed for nearly two years now: a complete lack of enforceable quarantines, which allow new strains to rapidly infect the entire world, repeated lockdowns with no penalties where people simply socialize indoors rather than going to work, efforts to force the holdout 3-5% of eligible people in Western states to take vaccines rather than distribute those limited shelf-life vaccines to those in need in Africa, South America, and South Asia, prematurely loosening mask restrictions in densely packed areas, and finally, allowing the monstrous WHO to continue its mismanagement without removing its head, and restructuring to prevent political interference.

Or, states and their citizens can either heed the evidence, and make smart common sense policies to restrict non- essential travel, quarantine all incoming travelers, track and quarantine domestic cases, and provide vaccinations and treatments to those who both want and need them.

It has worked for Taiwan, whose economy is now more vibrant than almost any in the West. Such results could also be achieved if only the outside world would drop its hubris and heed the evidence rather than its feelings.

Staff writer: Ari B