…Then the US has one more negative action on its scoresheet, its purchase in late June 2020 of the full production for the following three months of the anti-viral drug remdesivir. Although not fully proven, remdesivir is supposed to be the only medication available as of now that helps with the recovery from COVID-19. And if legal entities beyond states also have karma, the pharmaceutical company that is the patent holder of remdesivir, Gilead, is certainly to be blamed here too, for selling the life-saving medication to just one country, and for making a huge amount of profit in the midst of a pandemic.
Who cares about karma, or ethics these days, anyway? What counts is who is more clever, more quick, more arrogant and more ruthless. Perhaps it has been always like this and ancient strands of moral discourse are just stories of the weak trying to survive, hoping against hope that there will be a day of judgement when the virtuous will be rewarded and the callous and unscrupulous will be punished, for a change…
This certainly seems to be what Mr Trump believes, in his brazen actions of disrespect for any kind of courtesy, international cooperation, or conciliation. His decision to take officially the US out of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the middle of the pandemic is a clear demonstration of this. It is not that the US has been a country of angels before Mr Trump, with leaders spending day and night working for the common good, even if they claimed to do so in their speeches. From Viet Nam to Iraq and from massive arms sales to systematic disrespect for international treaties the dark side of “the leader of the free world” is not hiding very deep below the surface.
Well, they have their interests and their powerful means, one could say, and they are not the only ones in history who have acted like this. Neither are they the first in history to claim uniqueness in the benign exercise of power while mostly acting in self-serving ways. The colonial powers of Europe know about this all too well, as do other great empires of times past, from the Moghuls to the Hans, the Romans and the Greeks. They all had their bright sides but also their very dark ones, they claimed to be uniquely kind and generous while suppressing those they dominated over. Where are they now? Their leftovers may be complaining about subjugation and scruplelessness by others, the new big kids or bullies on the block. Nothing new; that is history, and what goes up has to come down, so there may well be karma after all.
Returning to the big bullies of our days, Mr Trump is really an extreme case, as he does not even try to be nice, to the people abroad but also to his own people, except from his hard-core nationalist base perhaps. Is he succeeding in what he is trying to do, be it the renewal of the fortunes of the US as a superpower or his own electoral fortunes? In light of a worsening COVID-19 crisis in the US and a divided nation that he insists on dividing further Mr Trump seems to be failing on both counts. Will he accept it or attempt to do something desperate to change the downward spiral? The karma that is or is not may strike back at any time, as soon as the November US presidential elections perhaps. With the US having recently celebrated its independence day on the 4th of July, one can only hope that the payback will be duly delivered to the primary culprit without further death and division among the US people and the broader world.
*From the Encyclopaedia Britannica online: “Karma … in Indian religion and philosophy, the universal causal law by which good or bad actions determine the future modes of an individual’s existence.”
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