Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Ugly American

Probably first coined in a 1958 novel, The Ugly American is a term that, unfortunately, has clear and immediate relevance:
The US has bought up virtually all the stocks for the next three months of one of the two drugs proven to work against Covid-19, leaving none for the UK, Europe or most of the rest of the world.

Experts and campaigners are alarmed both by the US unilateral action on remdesivir and the wider implications, for instance in the event of a vaccine becoming available. The Trump administration has already shown that it is prepared to outbid and outmanoeuvre all other countries to secure the medical supplies it needs for the US.

“They’ve got access to most of the drug supply [of remdesivir], so there’s nothing for Europe,” said Dr Andrew Hill, senior visiting research fellow at Liverpool University.
That this rapacious and selfish ethos should come to the fore now is really not surprising. While doubtlessly quite happy to exploit an ethnocentric orientation that seems to define so many Americans, the Infant-in-Chief is reacting in a typically craven manner to some unpleasant truths that may cost him his re-election:
The deal was announced as it became clear that the pandemic in the US is spiralling out of control. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading public health expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Senate the US was sliding backwards.

“We are going in the wrong direction,” said Fauci. Last week the US saw a new daily record of 40,000 new coronavirus cases in one day. “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around,” he said. He could not provide an estimated death toll, but said: “It is going to be very disturbing, I guarantee you that.”
Even though he has proven by his abysmally inept handling of the pandemic to be quite willing to sacrifice his fellow Americans, I doubt that Donald Trump, even in his most delusional state, believes that kind of statistic will serve him well during his campaign.

Hence, a reappearance of The Ugly American in full selfish splendour who, if Trump's disciples remain true to form, will be lustily cheered.

Not a sentiment, I suspect, that will be shared by those with a conscience and a recognition of their obligation to the larger world, i.e., real human beings.


  1. It's time we treated both China and the United States as predators. There's ample reason to forge new, streamlined alliances of nations liberated from both hegemons.

    1. Clearly, Canada needs a new vision to guide its relations with the rest of the world, Mound.