US response to coronavirus is exposing its sociopathically warped priorities

US flag on ground with cracks in it
Peter Bolton

Having first played down the severity of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Donald Trump’s government is now reacting. But as we might expect, pushing major social reform to improve the lives of ordinary people hasn’t exactly been its top priority. Instead, it’s been exposing its truly sociopathic tendencies by exploiting the crisis to further regime-change efforts abroad and corporate welfare at home.

Corporate handouts

On 28 February, Trump suggested the coronavirus crisis was a “hoax” to hurt his government. But under two weeks later, the World Health Organization declared it a global pandemic. So his administration changed tack, increasingly using the crisis to take its bellicose foreign policy and corporate toadying into overdrive.

On 25 March, after days of political wrangling, US lawmakers sent an emergency coronavirus stimulus deal to the White House for Trump’s signature. Senate Republicans used the stimulus to pump billions of dollars in handouts to huge corporations like Boeing and General Electric. They also sought to short-change low-wage workers who are at risk of unemployment due to the crisis, using the discredited logic that social protections somehow breed ‘laziness’.

The Republicans’ opponents in congress backed the bill due to the urgency of responding to the crisis. But some progressives made a point of expressing their disappointment with many aspects of the proposal’s composition. Bernie Sanders, for instance, said:

We do not need, at this moment in history, to provide a massive amount of corporate welfare to large profitable corporations. I think, as many of you are aware, you have industries like the airlines industry, among others, that have provided for stock buybacks, billions and billions of dollars for stock buybacks. They spent all their cash rewarding themselves and their stockholders. And lo and behold, today they need a major bailout.

Democracy Now! reported that Sanders also “successfully fought to strengthen the bill’s assistance to laid-off workers”.

Ratcheting up foreign aggression

The Trump administration has also used the crisis to ramp up its already highly aggressive foreign policy against governments it doesn’t like. On 26 March, for example, CNN reported that the administration would soon issue criminal charges against Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro and other members of his government. These charges would be based on allegations of government involvement in drug trafficking. As The Canary reported on multiple occasions, these allegations are (at best) highly dubious and, moreover, highly hypocritical given Washington’s treatment of allied countries that are much more deserving of the label ‘narcostate’ than Venezuela.

This news followed earlier reports that the US State Department was considering designating Venezuela as a ‘state-sponsor of terrorism’. CNN subsequently retracted this report – but it’s important to highlight that Washington’s credibility on such allegations would be every bit as hypocritical. Because while it singles out independent governments for allegations, it ignores or even assists actual state terrorism from its allies. Whether it be Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel in the Middle East or Honduras during the US destabilization campaign against Nicaragua, Washington has consistently proven itself to be one of the major supporters of terrorism in the world today – not to mention one of the major perpetrators.

Washington will likely use charges like those above to try and justify more sanctions on Venezuela. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, US sanctions reportedly led to around 40,000 deaths in the country. The imposition of even more sanctions would only worsen this situation, leaving civilians increasingly vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak.

Resist the sociopaths

Washington has long sought to uphold corporate power at home and abroad. And the Trump administration’s defence of this elitist order is clear. But exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to intensify this offensive is utterly sociopathic. Progressives urgently need to unite to end this nightmare once and for all.

Featured image via Pixabay

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. The world has to support Venezuela against the TERRORIST action of the USA/israel COUP makers, if not they will be next in a domino effect to take over their countries and their resources, we all need to know that Venezuela has the largest oil reserves on the planet and that is why the US/israel and its puppets, sadly my country Canada is one of them, why they are doing this COUP it has absolutely nothing, Nothing to do with real Democracy only the total control of the oil wells. Venezuelans must continue to ask for help from countries like Russia, Cuba China and the more than 150 other countries that support Maduro and condemn the TERRORIST acts of the USA.

    2. Meanwhile a war has come to America, a foreign foe has invaded its territory for the first time, and its called Coronavirus.
      The first thing you do is put Troops on the border with Canada to prevent those infected Canadians from running across the border into America for the sheer fun of it. If they aren’t stopped by a tree they’ll be shot on sight.
      A Texan governemnt official says one ought to die with his Coronavirus for Capitalism Campaign .A worthy cause to sacrifice your life for by staying at work.
      Its the godamn Wuhan flu anyway.
      Man your rifles!!
      Go for others oil wells, Overthrow democracys.
      Go insane without consequences is more like it until one day…….forces beyond their concept of war have their say.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.