Letter to the Editor | Facing COVID, the US Still Must Rise to the Occasion

'Like any good leader, the United States must take it upon itself to support countries that need help'

Letter to the Editor | Addison Foord, Borgen Project Ambassador

Following World War II, the United States stepped up as the leader of the free world. Although many may point to the US playing a decisive role in the years of the war itself, the years directly following it hold the most relevance to the global moment that we currently occupy. To be a global leader, the United States must ACT like a leader.

A leader supports those who are weak for the good of the whole. The Marshall Plan reflected this idea. The Marshall plan was the American foreign aid policy that focused on bringing the European economy from the economic ruin it found itself in after the war. The Marshall Plan was a plan that targeted Europe with over 14 billion dollars in aid. By the end of the program, in 1953, the economies of many European nations were more robust than they had been and were then doing business with American companies. The United States was able to assert itself as a true world power by supporting others.

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COVID has changed world affairs for the foreseeable future. Economies around the world suffered as lockdowns, and high infection rates forced them to close. This trend continues today as nations struggle to grip the pandemic following inaccessibility to doses of the vaccinations. Like any good leader, the United States must take it upon itself to support countries that need help. This unique circumstance is an opportunity for our nation to assert itself as China fights to do just that.

In 2020, China gave more aid than ever before and sent medical professionals and equipment to over 150 nations. China’s strategic aid has allowed the Chinese Communist party to control the narrative surrounding COVID-19, allowing them to paint the United States unfit for its role as the world’s leader.

Given China’s robust aid, this is a chance for the United States to collaborate with China to end the ongoing pandemic. Coordination between the nations will not only benefit China and the United States, but it will also create the best solutions for the complex problems that COVID-19 causes in poorer nations. It also gives the US a chance to build towards a more positive reputation following the early absolute failure to contain COVID within its borders.

If Americans wish for the rest of the world to look to our country in times of crisis, we must be able to rise to the occasion when called. The United States’ objectively poor response early in the pandemic means that if we want to regain our standing, it is time to make up for the past errors by focusing on aiding the recovery of the world.

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