Among the few things that former soldiers, like myself, are familiar with, is the subject of threat analysis. I claim no expertise on the subject, but merely aver that I have been frequently called upon to analyze threats, during my years in uniform. Moreover I have also had to select, or helped in the selection of, responses to the threat assessment.
Before progressing further, let me attempt to formulate a hypothesis of nature. Perhaps, being a former soldier, I think of all matters in terms of wars. It has been a long while since I read him, but, according to Google, Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, in effect states that, “all species of organisms arise and develop through natural selection of small, and inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce”.
I opine that this is so because nature is at war with all living things; mankind, animals, plants, creatures, everything and anything living. Nature is in search of ways that hasten the demise of all things living and all things living are struggling to survive and thus improve themselves. Only the fittest survive; and nature’s challenges are intended to improve the quality of living beings.
Being on the offensive, the initiative is with nature. Living beings, on the defensive, are therefore, reactive. Only when a new disease/virus—a weapon of war against life, appears can the living beings find means of prevention and/or cure. Even the cures are referred to as “creating anti-bodies” for the living being to fight off nature’s attacks. Many living beings are contributive to nature’s attacks on living beings. Locusts attack crops, humans eat meat and hunt even for pleasure. Thus have many animals become extinct and more are ‘endangered species’.
Since all living things are part of nature, this is nature’s war against itself. And, as each offensive weapon of nature becomes weaker in its effect, nature finds another. This current Corona is not the first of its kind, nor possibly the last. Being environment-conscious, the insane destruction of nature by mankind, only strengthens nature’s weaponry. This brief comment doesn’t express the degree of concern necessary at mankind’s destruction of nature. In this context too, Corona could become a blessing.
But this is the era wherein the globe is referred to as a ‘Global Village’. It is also the era wherein the social media, which has, nor can have, any speck of ethics or morality—–and there is not a drop of implied criticism of individuals, the blame is collective in this statement. The anonymity of the social media makes it possible for anyone to say anything and, it has become more effective than any other form of media.
The Global Village fed with the hysteria of the social media seems to have prevailed in enlarging this threat to gargantuan proportions.
Those with better information, are making repeated efforts to provide an analysis based on statistics, which explains how the common cold is more virulent in fatalities compared to COVID, and that the COVID graph is already beginning to flatten. But social media sceptics seem to prevail in promoting the threat. A threat analysis is like a cost-benefit analysis. It is cold-blooded but, it seeks the best way forward.
Imran Khan, our PM, whom I prefer to refer as “Im the Dim”, as his colleagues referred to him at Oxford, virtually begged to be selected for the job he now has. Unfortunately for him, his prayers were answered. But he was unaware that these were being answered at the most trying of times.
Pakistan’s economy was at its worst anyway, but then we got hit by Corona. I never thought I would be an apologist for Imran, but where it is deserved, the credit must be given. I think that the response to Corona is being masterminded by my young and capable friend, the Adviser on Security. Whoever might be responsible for designing the response, Im, however Dim, has to be given credit. Because his is the responsibility. And I think, so far, the state is doing very well.
The choice was ‘between a rock and a very, very hard place’. Corona could run rampant but, if we did nothing, starvation could do worse. The “Smart Lockdown” as the government calls it, could well be the answer.
He deserves appreciation for a courageous decision. His first courageous decision. I am not sure this is the right decision. That is why it is courageous and deserving of recognition. I would like to think that, if I were in his place I would also make the same decision.
Ministers keep reassuring us that the threat from Corona should begin levelling off in the weeks following Eed. One hopes it does but there are also other things knocking at the door. China is the only country which still has cash to spare. Pakistan is the hinge to Chinese flagship operation, CPEC. If we can put our house in order, and the Corona fears are an ideal opportunity to do so, China could increase its investment in Pakistan.
After the 1980s, when Bretton Woods Institutions decided to reject the Keynesian Theory, the Corona era was the first to force a return to Keynes’ suggested response to an economic depression. Taxes were decreased, funds released to increase jobs and policies revised to encourage entrepreneurship.
This could be a blessing in disguise.