What Americans Can Learn From the Coronavirus in Italy By Julio Loredo (quarantined in Milan, Italy) What Americans Can Learn From the Coronavirus in Italy When future historians study the huge crisis triggered by the coronavirus, they will ask many questions, some of which might already have answers. Amid the crisis today, with Italy still in quarantine, we have to make do with the questions, which are not few or trivial. The coronavirus crisis brings to light many contradictions and shortcomings of our modern world, which have long laid in the background, buried by the prevailing optimism. Taking advantage of the extra time available to us, perhaps we should raise these questions now, trying to learn some lessons from them. The Fragility of the Modern World The first question involves the fragility of the modern world. It is truly astonishing how a being so small, indeed microscopic, could bring to its knees a world that boasted of being solid, powerful and enduring. The economy has ground to a halt as stock exchanges are plummeting. Shops are closed, flights canceled and roads deserted. We see events postponed, sports banned and borders closed. We used to think that things like this could only happen as a result of a world war or an extraordinary natural disaster. However, we now see this is not the case. The culprit is a tiny being a few microns in size. It disrupted our lives and shattered the myth of the world’s stability. This is a great first lesson if we want to listen to the signs of the times. Our Lady spoke at Fatima about a series of scourges that would fall upon sinful humanity, followed by a general conversion and consequent restoration of Christian civilization. Many did not heed her words, not because of a doctrinal objection but rather because of the conviction – more pragmatic than intellectual – that this world would last forever. They believed that they could continue to enjoy it undisturbed. However, the coronavirus crisis teaches us that things can change and even quickly. We cannot take anything for granted. This state of affairs is not eternal. Everything can vanish; only God remains. From Criminal to Heroine: the Chinese Transformation The second question involves this Chinese maneuvers in the crisis. In the coming years, historians will find it hard to explain how China manipulated the coronavirus narrative to the point that it transformed itself from a criminal to heroine in a few weeks. The epidemic began in China, where it spread due to the extreme neglect and arrogance of the Communist government in Beijing. The first sign of the epidemic was an outbreak of bronchitis in Wuhan on November 17, 2019. Those infected had one thing in common: they frequented the city’s open livestock market. As early as December 15, Drs. Ai Fen and Li Wenliang raised the alarm of an ongoing epidemic. On December 30, Dr. Wenliang was arrested for “spreading false news.” On January 7, the Wall Street Journal published a report about the outbreak. The Beijing government reacted by expelling its journalists. The authorities also forbade any further reports under very severe penalties. With the epidemic now out of control, President Xi Jinping made a public statement only on January 30. Three days later, he decreed the state of emergency. If China had reacted promptly in late November by sealing off the Wuhan market, there probably would be no epidemic today. The real culprit is China. Two intertwined questions arise: Why did China act this way? Why does no one accuse China of wrong-doing? The answer to the first question is explained by the totalitarian mentality proper to communism. Such regimes always react by keeping secret anything that might affect their image. This happened in 1986 with the Chernobyl disaster, and with the Kursk submarine disaster in 2000. However, this mentality does not explain everything. Another factor is the reluctance to hamper the Chinese economy on which half the world now depends. The world powers preferred to keep the Chinese locomotive running, even at the risk of triggering a pandemic. A certain capitalist mentality joins with the faults of the communist mentality. This complicity helps answer the second question: the reason why the Chinese cannot be touched or accused is that they hold the knife by the handle. One of the great enigmas of our age – a real mystery of iniquity – is how the West, which prides itself on its democratic and liberal character, has so servilely submitted to a dictatorial government dominated by a Communist Party. To make money, the West consciously and voluntarily put its head in the guillotine. Can it be any wonder now that the executioner is pulling the lever? As masters in shady operations, the Chinese have also taken advantage of the crisis by strengthening their dominance in markets. When the crisis pummeled the shares of many Western companies operating in China, the Central Bank of Beijing responded by buying hundreds of billions in equity securities. Thus, it obtained majority partnerships with many of these Western companies. All this happened under the indifferent (and often complicit) eyes of the gurus of Western finance. There is yet more. In a twist worthy of the worst comedy, China now presents itself as the world’s savior. Everyone now praises the “Chinese model” for dealing with the coronavirus. Beijing even allows itself the luxury of sending planes with “virus experts” and medical supplies to Western countries. It sends help to resolve the epidemic that it started. Thus, the nation went from criminal to heroine in a few weeks, a truly amazing transformation! The Coronavirus crisis may be a historic opportunity for us to review our whole relationship with Beijing. We still have time. Let’s react before it’s too late!