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Former Washington Journalist
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The United States has not distinguished itself so far with its leadership in the international community with its response to the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, according to Sen Mitt Romney (R-Utah).
However, the nation could well redeem itself in the coming phases of the pandemic, particularly as it relates to the development of medications and vaccines to combat the virus, said Romney, who also served as the Republican presidential candidate in 2012.
“We didn’t have the testing as fast as we could have or should have. We did not have the personal protective equipment [PPE] that we would have hoped to have. I think part of that is just the recognition that in many cases American companies, multinational companies are producing these products elsewhere, typically in China. They had the crisis first so they got the PPE and we did not,” Romney said. “And then just in terms of crisis management, the willingness of the federal government to step in and to coordinate everything from PPE, to testing, to repair of our hospital systems and so forth. Those things — none of those things really stood out as being great moments in American leadership, and I think the world was a bit surprised by that because you’re right, they think of us as being, you know, the nation the first went to the Moon, that has accomplished extraordinary things in the new economy.
“And yet, when it came to PPE, when it came to testing, and just the speed of our response looked slow, relative to people like, well, South Korea, Singapore, China, Germany, and even Sweden to a certain degree. So that first phase was not one that will stand out, I think, as being a great moment in American leadership,” he added.
The United States, however, has potential “to stand out in a positive way” in what Romney referred to as the “recovery phase.”
“And I’m talking with regards to development of treatments and vaccines. Now, that kind of research work is going on around the world, we may or may not be first, but certainly there’s a lot going on here that’s not going on in a lot of other places and we may well be able to lead in that area,” he said. “But then comes a time of stimulus, trying to get the economy going again, and we will certainly be looked to by the world to help get the economy going.
“Our consumer will come to the fore, as our consumer typically does. We have financial resources as the reserve currency of the world, and is the safest, the dollar being the safest place for people to put their money, those resources give us the capacity to encourage the domestic economy, which helps pull the global economy. So yeah, we’ll be a key leader in that regard.
“But then, in the area that perhaps is most long-lasting, which is post-COVID, because that’s going to come at some point, I think the U.S. and China will be the two nations that really stand out because technology will be seen as being more critical than we might have anticipated, critical to identify threats, most able to meet the needs of consumers in a changing world, and we are a technology leader,” he added. “China is increasingly also a technology leader. Those nations that are still relying on yesterday’s industries will find they’re not able to keep up with us, and the U.S. and to a degree China will be stepping further forward.
“So, you know, the first phase, we didn’t look real strong, and that’s kind of an understatement,” Romney said. “But after this is over, I think what we will have been able to do and our technology base will maintain the reputation we have as being a leader, if not the leader of the world.”
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