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The new project for the Mediterranean

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In the future the Mediterranean issue will realistically be that of dividing it into zones of influence -albeit communicating with one another – and anyway capable of absorbing also the geopolitical and military tension that will emerge in other world regions.

 The idea that the Mediterranean can still be a small “European lake” is now to be completely ruled out, because the European Union, but also its individual Member States, or NATO itself have shown they cannot credibly hold any Mediterranean area.

 The key event of this demonstration of impotence – and often of frank and overt foolishness – was the Second Balkan War.

 As is well known, Tito, alias Josip Broz, died in May 1980.

 The clash between Serbs and Slovenes immediately materialized in the Congress of the Yugoslav Communist League on January 20, 1990, but then the army harshly intervened in Slovenia, despite the fact that the secession of the various republics was envisaged by Tito’s Constitution, as also happens in all the Basic Laws resulting from the Communist tradition of the Third International.

We know the rest of the story, but we are interested in seeing how everything is concentrated and merged into that conflict: Islamist radicalisation, at first in Bosnia and later in Kosovo, where petromonarchies and jihad – often combined – entered the scene immediately.

 Therefore, the obsession for “minorities” – a naive Americanist dogma – ended up fragmenting Europe and later reducing it to a mockery of sub-optimal rights, laws and statelets.

 In the 18th century Germany was made up of 350 small States.

 France, Italy and Spain, are now prey to very strong tensions between ethnic groups, linguistic areas and more or less presumed “nations”.

 If this fragmentation continues, together with an economic and legal slowdown of the European Union, connected to the very strong immigration from Africa and the Middle East, the European Union will be what Italy was in Count Metternich’s mind, namely “a geographical expression”. Nowadays, however, there will be no American or other troops to save it from the mistakes it has foolishly made and self-inflicted.

This is the first true historical fact.

 The second is the Western – especially European – attack on Gaddafi’s Libya which was struck in 2011. A stroke of genius, so to speak, that France had above all against Italy, the true protector of Gaddafi’s Libya.

Jihadists from Cyrenaica, talk about the famous “human rights” – which, when Gaddafi was financing Sarkozy’s election campaign were obviously not a problem – and another attempt to fragment a too big political system for the tiny brain of Western decision-makers: previously Yugoslavia, now Libya.

 Now, however, it will be good to say enough is enough. It will therefore be necessary to rethink the Mediterranean in another way, without attempting to make ENI collapse and end in the jaws of Total, or possibly move German companies to Slovenia or Serbia, the only real criterion – at the time – for the division of former Yugoslavia. Today it is not a matter of splitting up, but rather of uniting, if anything.

With a view to immediately rehabilitating Eastern Länder, after reunification, Germany kept its interest rates very high, thus ruining its European competitors.

Germany also sought the break-up of Serbia, while Great Britain and France wanted to use the clauses of the 1920 Treaty.

 It was exactly Serbia that strongly resisted the German Reich twice. These things matter. For those who still have it, unlike Italians, memory is a criterion also for judging the present time.

The first rule is to bring into the Mediterranean players capable of opposing the old European regional hegemonies.

Certainly also China. The Belt and Road Initiative currently involves 71 countries, which account for half of the world population and a quarter of the global GDP.

 It is hard for the United States to counter this extraordinary mobilization of resources and strategic actions.

 Since the United States does not even want to hear about the Chinese 5G, it will be a matter of establishing the areas of influence of the two different technologies.

 If the United States does not agree, it may as well go and palm off elsewhere their Five Eyes-style Intelligence Service documentation, which is anyway manipulated and often not fully relevant.

 For Asia alone, the World Bank forecasts an investment requirement of approximately 26 trillion U.S. dollars until 2030.

 We poor Europeans do not even think of extracting this amount of money for the development of the Mediterranean on our own.

 Therefore, it is first of all a matter of organizing a short and very effective “Conference on the Mediterranean”, not only between governments but also between figures who often count more than governments – a Conference capable of redefining the lines of presence of other old and new powers in the Mediterranean region.

 China will certainly be able to develop its economic and infrastructure projects in the Mediterranean, but in such a context as to envisage the presence of the Chinese Armed Forces also in the operations for controlling and containing legal and illegal immigration between the Sahel and the whole sub-Saharan region.

The fields of action can be easily defined: let us therefore forget about EUNAVFORMED which, with its very recent IRINI mission, has already demonstrated – if there ever were any need – the irrelevance sine remedio of the European Union.

 No ships, in this case, except for a French one, with Italy saying it is coming soon, but also Germany, which is officially distancing itself and break away, and finally Turkey, which is obviously doing its utmost to prevent the mission.

 Therefore, the EU is currently paying for the flaw it imposed in the past during the destabilisation phase of the Soviet East: the continuous State and hyper-State factionism. No one to blame but oneself.

Therefore, first of all, a strong Conference for defining the areas of military influence, and hence of possible collaborations, in the Mediterranean region.

Hence China can move in the sub-Saharan area, but for what aim? To obviously have the possibility of exploiting the entire primary sub-Saharan region. And to protect its African development regions in the East. I think China will accept.

 France will still be able to endure its African Francophonie. Certainly, but with a series of integrated military mechanisms, present between the Djibouti base, where there is also Italy, but also in other ones, as the one in the Ivory Coast, or the one in Senegal, in the military port of Dakar and in Ouakam.

 Here, the mechanism of the New Treaty on the Mediterranean will envisage a parallel presence of Italy, Spain and the United States – if it ever agrees – and also a possible Russian base in the Ivory Coast.

Certainly, by now everything is heading for a new and silly Cold War, but hopefully rationality – at least the scarce and very residual one of the p Union – will make itself heard.

Hence what should the Russian Federation do? Meanwhile, Russia is already in Berbera, on the coast of Somaliland, but it is also interested in Eritrea, as well as in Cabo Delgado in Northern Mozambique. Russia is also present in the Central African Republic, but it also trains the Armed Forces of Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Well, there is no point crying over the milk spilt by the Europeans’ clumsy pacifism.

Within the new division of the Mediterranean, for the Russian Federation there could also be a naval base in Cyrenaica, but less relevant than the one planned together with General Haftar, as well as a new Russian economic presence in the West African coasts, in Benin, Cape Verde, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

 For the Mediterranean coasts, we can think about a specific, but obviously not exclusive, development area for Russia, but between Egypt and Morocco. 

 No one will ever have exclusive zones in the Mediterranean, but all the participants in the New Mediterranean Pact will have a “supervision zone” for their primary development areas.

With a view to ensuring the military stability of the region, we can also think about a Mediterranean Bank, which will be integrated with the primary Investment Banks of the participating countries and will evaluate the new candidates’ proposals. As Napoleon used to say, money makes wars.

A good option would also be a sort of “Integrated Allied Command of the Mediterranean” among all the present Forces. I am perfectly aware it would be a matter of having a unified Command with Russia and China, but the United States should tell us whether it wants to stay seriously in the Mediterranean or if it wants to leave –  as for NATO according to President Trump – because the issue is obviously essential.

 If others in the world think that the problem of the Mediterranean is only the sloppy and careless theory of “terrorism”, it should be clearly said.

 If, on the contrary, it is thought that the issue is broader and more complicated, then it would be good for the United States to participate in a non-NATO South Mediterranean Committee with other States and Organizations.

Also with this new Mediterranean Bank, Spain could stabilize both its old enclaves and enter the great sub-Saharan system, between Algeria and Morocco, which are traditional points of reference for Spain.

 The Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea are essential for Spain both for military security and for the purchase of oil and gas.

 For France, there are also 1,100 companies with over 2,109 branches in Africa.

 The abandonment of the CFA Franc in favour of the ECO is a historic event, but the ECO will anyway be stabilized with respect to the Euro and guaranteed by France.

 Here there is a severe problem: either we create a “Mediterranean” currency, which runs parallel to local currencies (here we will not make the same mistake as the Euro), or we plan an area of non-fixed exchange rates. But the idea of a secondary currency would not be bad.

 France, however, would certainly not agree. The new Mediterranean currency could also be a mere currency of account, which remains in the Mediterranean but cannot be exchanged in sub-Saharan Africa.

What about Italy? There are approximately 30,000 US military and civilians in Italy.

   The problem is that the undeniable economic crisis will lead to a sub-optimal contraction of the Italian Defence budget compared to the U.S. and Italian needs in the Mediterranean region.

 Greece may certainly not be a strategic substitute. Now Italy has very different interests in the Mediterranean region, but not necessarily in conflict with the United States.

Hence what can be done apart from the strategy of distributing Nutella to children? The answer is simple: immediately choose our own proxies in Libya – but I am afraid it is too late – and later think about an operational strategy for political and economic penetration in the Mediterranean region and hence also in Africa.

 Where? In Central and Southern Africa, but also in the South African Confederation.

Hence Sahel, where most of the migration flows originate, as well as fight against the Islamic State in Southern Sahara, and finally Italy’s participation in the Takuba Force, again between Sahel and the neighbouring countries. However, it is a Force with European-style Rules of Engagement (ROE) – hence in this case reference is again to be made to the above stated Nutella strategy.

With a now superhuman effort of strategic imagination, Italy could pass through the Sahel and Sudan’s border to Tunisia and its neighbouring areas, thus avoiding the Libyan chaos, in which it should operate differently, and later reach the Southern borders of Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.

 In this new accurate division of areas of influence, Italy could deal mainly with the Mediterranean coasts and security, while other countries could deal – but obviously not without Italy – with the “poor” and immediate industrialization of the Southern Mediterranean coasts.

Both the new Committee for Mediterranean security, made up of all the countries bordering on the Mediterranean or anyway interested in it, and the above stated Mediterranean Bank, which could act both as a backer of coastal States and as a medium and long-term supporter of the national and international companies present in the Mediterranean Sea, could prove to be useful.

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “

Intelligence

Security of nuclear materials in India

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Terrorism

The author is of the view that nuclear security is lax in India. More so, because of the 123 Agreement and sprawling  nuclear installations in several states. The thieves and scrap dealers even dare to advertise online sale of radioactive uranium. India itself has reported several incidents of nuclear thefts to the international bodies. The author wonders why India’s security lapses remain out of international focus. Views expressed are personal.  

Amid raging pandemic in the southern Indian state of Maharashtra, the anti-terrorism squad arrested  (May 6, 20210) two persons (Jagar Jayesh Pandya and Abu Tahir Afzal hussain Choudhry) for attempting to sell seven kilograms  of highly-radioactive muranium for offered price of  about Rs. 21 crore. The “gentlemen” had uncannily advertised  the proposed sale online.. As such, the authorities initially dismissed the advertisement as just another hoax. They routinely detained the “sellers-to-be” and forwarded a sample of their ware to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.  They were shocked when the centre reported that “the material was natural uranium”.  As such the squad was compelled to book the duo under India’s Atomic Energy Act, 1962 at Nagpur police station (Explained: ATS seizes 7 kg uranium worth  Rs. 21 crore from a scrap dealer…Indian Express May 7, 2021).

Not a unique incident

The event, though shocking, is  is not  one of its kind. Earlier, in 2016 also, two persons were arrested by Thane (Maharashtra) police while they were trying to sell eight to nine kilograms of depleted uranium for Rs. 24 crore.  It is surmised that sale of uranium by scrap dealers in India is common. But, such events rarely come in limelight. According to Anil Kakodar, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, `Factories using uranium as a counterweight in their machines are mandated to contact the Atomic Energy agencies and return uranium to them. They however resort to short cuts and sell the entire machine with uranium in scrap’.

India media scarcely report such incidents. However, Indian government sometimes reports such incidents to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to meet disclosure requirements. According to international media reports (February 25, 2004), India reported 25 cases of “missing” or “stolen” radio-active material from its labs to the IAEA.  Fifty-two per cent of the cases were attributed to “theft” and 48% to the “missing mystery”.  India claimed to have recovered lost material in twelve of total 25 cases.  It however admitted that 13 remaining cases remained mysterious.

India’s reports such incidents to the IAEA to portray itself as a “responsible state”.  It is hard to believe that radio-active material could be stolen from nuclear labs without operators’ connivance.

Nine computers, belonging to India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation establishment at Metcalfe House, New Delhi, were stolen. India communicated 25 cases of ‘stolen or missing’ uranium to the IAEA. In different incidents, uranium in varying forms and quantities continue to be recovered from scrap dealers and others by Indian authorities. The recoveries include fifty-seven pounds of uranium in rod form, eight kilograms in granular form, two hundred grams in semi-processed form, besides twenty-five kilograms in radioactive form, stolen from the Bibi Cancer Hospital.

Too, the ‘thieves’ stole three cobalt switches, worth Rs. 1.5 million, from Tata Steel Company laboratory at Jamshedpur (Jharkhand). A shipment of beryllium (worth $24 million), was caught in Vilnius, on its way to North Korea. Taiwanese authorities had intercepted a ship carrying dual-use aluminum oxide from India to North Korea. A New Jersey-based Indian engineer Sitaram Ravi Mahidevan was indicted for having bypassed US export procedures to send blue-prints of solenoid-operated valves to North Korea.

We know that the Taiwanese authorities had intercepted a ship, carrying dual-use aluminum oxide from India to North Korea.  The oxide is an essential ingredient of rocket casings and is, as such, prohibited for export to “rogue” countries.

Pakistan bashing

Despite recurrent incidents of theft of uranium or other sensitive material from indiandian nuclear labs, the IAEA never initiated a thorough probe into lax security environment in government and private nuclear labs in india. However, the international media has a penchant for creating furore over uncorroborated nuclear lapses in Pakistan. The Time magazine article ‘Merchant of Menace’, had reported that some uranium hexafluoride cylinders were missing from the Kahuta Research Laboratories.  Pakistan’ then information minister and foreign-office spokesman had both refuted the allegation.  Masood Khan (foreign office) told reporters, `The story is a rehash of several past stories’.

Similarly,  Professor Shaun Gregory in his report ‘The Security of Nuclear Weapons’ contends that those guarding about 120 nuclear-weapon sites, mostly in northern and western parts of Pakistan, have fragmented loyalties. As such, they are an easy prey to religious extremists.

Frederick W. Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon, also draw a gloomy portrait of the situation in Pakistan. In their article, published in The New York Times, dated November 18, 2007, they predicted that extremists would take over, if rule of law collapses in Pakistan. Those sympathetic with the Taliban and al-Qaeda may convert Pakistan into a state sponsor of terrorism. They pointed to Osama bin Laden’s meeting with Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, former engineers of Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission (having no bomb-making acumen).

They claimed that U.S. military experts and intelligence officials had explored strategies for securing Pakistan’s nuclear assets. One option was to isolate the country’s nuclear bunkers. Doing so would require saturating the area, surrounding the bunkers, with tens of thousands of high-powered mines, dropped from air, packed with anti-tank and anti-personnel munitions. The panacea, suggested by them, was that Pakistan’s nuclear material should be seized and stashed in some “safe” place like New Mexico.

Rebuttal

The fact is that the pilloried Pakistani engineers had no knowledge of weaponisation (“When the safest is not safe enough,” The Defence Journal -Pakistan), pages 61-63). The critics mysteriously failed to mention that Pakistan is a party to the UN Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials. The steps taken by Pakistan to protect its nuclear materials and installations conform to international standards. The National Command Authority, created on February 2, 2000, has made fail-safe arrangements to control development and deployment of strategic nuclear forces. Pakistan’s nuclear regulatory authority had taken necessary steps for safety, security, and accountability of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, facilities, and materials even before 9/11 incident. These controls include functional equivalent of the two-man rule and permissive action links (PALs). The indigenously-developed PALs are bulwarks against inadvertent loss of control, or accidental use of weapons. So far, there has been no security lapse in any of Pakistan’s nuclear establishments.

Abdul Mannan, in his paper titled “Preventing Nuclear Terrorism in Pakistan: Sabotage of a Spent Fuel Cask or a Commercial Irradiation Source in Transport”, has analysed various ways in which acts of nuclear terrorism could occur in Pakistan (quoted in “Pakistan’s Nuclear Future: Worries beyond War”). He has fairly reviewed Pakistan’s vulnerability to nuclear terrorism through hypothetical case studies. He concludes that the threat of nuclear terrorism in Pakistan is a figment of imagination, rather than a real possibility.

There are millions of radioactive sources used worldwide in various applications. Only a few thousand sources, including Co-60, Cs-137, Ir-192, Sr-90, Am-241, Cf-252, Pu-238, and RA-226 are considered a security risk. The Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) has enforced a mechanism of strict measures for administrative and engineering control over radioactive sources from cradle to grave. It conducts periodic inspections and physical verifications to ensure security of the sources. The Authority has initiated a Five-Year National Nuclear-Safety-and-Security-Action Plan to establish a more robust nuclear-security regime. It has established a training centre and an emergency-coordination centre, besides deploying radiation-detection-equipment at each point of nuclear-material entry in Pakistan, supplemented by vehicle/pedestrian portal monitoring equipment where needed.

Fixed detectors have been installed at airports, besides carrying out random inspection of personnel luggage. All nuclear materials are under strict regulatory control right from import until their disposal.

Concluding remarks

Nuclear controls in India and the USA are not more stringent than Pakistan’s. It is not understood why the media does not deflect their attention to the fragile nuclear-security environment in India. It is unfortunate that the purblind critics fail to see the gnawing voids in India’s nuclear security.

The ‘research work’ by well-known scholars reflects visceral hatred against Pakistan. The findings in fresh ‘magnum opuses’ are a re-hash or amalgam of the presumptions and pretensions in earlier-published ‘studies’. It is time that the West deflected its attention to India where movements of nuclear materials, under the 123 expansion plan, are taking place between nuclear-power plants sprawling across different states.

Above all, will the international media and the IAEA look into open market uranium sales in India.

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Biological warfare: A global security threat

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Biological warfare is not a new concept in arena of international politics as it has been used as a tool to sabotage enemy in previous centuries. Biological weapons are a sub-category of Weapons of Mass destruction (WMDs) in which there is a deliberate use of micro-organisms like pathogens and toxins to cause disease or death in humans, livestock and yields.Form its usage in 14th century by Mongols to its usage by imperial Japan during 1930s-40s against Chinese, it has always been a threat to global security. The evolution of bio-weapons can be broadly categorized into four phases; first phase includes the post WWII developments with the evident use of chlorine and phosgene in Ypres.The second phase was marked by the use of nerve agents like tabun, cholinesterase inhibitor and anthrax and plague bombs. The initiation of third phase was marked by the use of biological weapons in Vietnam war during 1970s where deadly agents like Agent orange were used. 4th and last phase include the time of biological and technological revolution where genetic engineering techniques were at their peak. Traditionally they have been used in wartime in order to defeat enemy but with the emergence of violent non-state actors, bioterrorism is another potential threat to the security of states. There are certain goals that are associated with the use of biological weapons. Firstly, it is purposed to hit to economy of the targeted country, breaking down government authority and have a psychological effect on masses of the targeted population. It is also a kind of psychological warfare as it may hit a smaller number of people but leaves impact on wider audience through intimidation and spreading fear. It also creates natural circumstances under which a population is induced with disease without revealing the actual perpetrator.

With the advancement in genetic engineering techniques more lethal biological weapons are being produced everyday around the world. Countries which are economically deprived are more likely to pursue such goals as it is difficult for them to go for heavy military sophistication keeping into consideration their poor economic conditions. Biological weapons serve as inexpensive tool for developing countries to address their issues in prevailing international security environment. During the initial decades of cold war, united states of America (USA) and Soviet Union went for acquiring tons of biological weapons alongside nuclear proliferation.

 The quest for these weapons reduced during 1970s with the formation of Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC). This convention was presented in 1972 before countries and finally came into force in 1975 with 150 countries who signed this convention and 140 countries who fully joined this treaty. This convention prohibits any biological weaponization in order to promote peace and stability around the world. But this convention has obvious defects as it is unable to address many issues like it doesn’t prevents itself the use of biological weapons but just reinforces 1925 Geneva Protocol which forbids the use of bio-weapons. Convention allows ‘defensive research’ to which there are many objections that what is incorporated into this defensive research. It is non-binding to the signatory states and in case if countries are proliferating it lacks the effective oversight techniques to look after them either they are pursuing these biological weapons capabilities or not. Since the inception of this convention till now it has clearly failed in stopping the countries from acquisition as well as usage of these weapons. This is evident as there were many cases after 1975 where these weapons were used as in 1980s when Iraq used mustard gas, sarin and tabun against Iran and many other ethnic groups inside Iran. Another incident which was highlighted was Sarine nerve gas attack in Tokyo subway system leaving thousands injured and many got killed. In post-cold war era, however, the number of these attacks reduced as much attention was shifted to terrorism after 9/11 attacks with the change in global security architecture.

“Anthrax letters” in post 9/11 attacks revealed yet another dimension of bio-weapons which was the threat of bioterrorism from non-state actors. US became a victim of bio-terrorism when in 2001 a powder was transported through letters containing bacterium called anthrax infecting many people. One purpose which terrorists have is to make general masses feel as if they are unsafe in the hands of their government which can be best achieved through the use of these weapons. The fact that biological weapons are cheaper and more devastating than conventional weapons make it more likely for biological weapons to be used by terrorists. Also, the fact that they are easy to hide and transport and a smaller quantity can leave long-lasting impacts on larger population makes these weapons more appealing.  Now that we are facing a global pandemic in the form of COVID-19 which according to some conspiracy theories is a biological weapon pose even more serious challenge to the international security in coming decades. There is no such scientific research which proves Corona Virus as a biological weapon but the realization here is that whether or not it is a biological weapon but world was least prepared for it. Not only the developing countries but also developed states suffered more despite having enormous medical infrastructure. The fact that there has been decline in the incidents related to bioterrorism should never let us think that there is no possibility of such attacks. The fact that world failed to handle Covid-19 puts a question mark on the credibility of measures if we are faced with bio-terrorism. The medical community as well as general population needs to develop an understanding of how to respond if there is such attack. At the international level there is a dire need to develop some strong norms which discourage the development and use of such weapons in any capacity.    

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The ‘Post-Covid-19 World’ Will Never Come

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On May 3rd, the New York Times bannered “Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe” and reported that “there is widespread consensus among scientists and public health experts that the herd immunity threshold is not attainable — at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever.”

In other words: the ‘news’-sources that were opposing the governments’ taking action against Covid-19 — libertarian ’news’-sites that oppose governmental laws and regulations, regardless of the predominant view by the vast majority of the scientists who specialize in studying the given subject — are looking wronger all the time, as this “novel coronavirus” (which is what it was originally called) becomes less and less “novel,” and more and more understood scientifically.

The “herd immunity” advocates for anti-Covid-19 policies have been saying that governments should just let the virus spread until nature takes its course and such a large proportion of the population have survived the infection as to then greatly reduce the likelihood that an uninfected person will become infected. An uninfected person will increasingly be surrounded by people who have developed a natural immunity to the disease, and by people who don’t and never did become infected by it. The vulnerable people will have become eliminated (died) or else cured, and so they won’t be spreading the disease to others. That’s the libertarian ’solution’, the final solution to the Covid-19 problem, according to libertarians.

For example, on 9 April 2020, Forbes magazine headlined “After Rejecting A Coronavirus Lockdown, Sweden Sees Rise In Deaths” and reported that, “Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has continuously advocated for laid back measures, saying on Swedish TV Sunday that the pandemic could be defeated by herd immunity, or the indirect protection from a large portion of a population being immune to an infection, or a combination of immunity and vaccination. However, critics have argued that with a coronavirus vaccine could be more than a year away, and insufficient evidence that coronavirus patients that recover are immune from becoming infected again, the strategy of relying on herd immunity and vaccinations [is] ineffective.”

The libertarian proposal of relying upon “herd immunity” for producing policies against this disease has continued, nonetheless.

CNN headlined on 28 April 2020, “Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers suggest a different story”, and reported that 

On March 28, a petition signed by 2,000 Swedish researchers, including Carl-Henrik Heldin, chairman of the Nobel Foundation, called for the nation’s government to “immediately take steps to comply with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations.”

The scientists added: “The measures should aim to severely limit contact between people in society and to greatly increase the capacity to test people for Covid-19 infection.”

“These measures must be in place as soon as possible, as is currently the case in our European neighboring countries,” they wrote. “Our country should not be an exception to the work to curb the pandemic.”

The petition said that trying to “create a herd immunity, in the same way that occurs during an influenza epidemic, has low scientific support.”

Swedish authorities have denied having a strategy to create herd immunity, one the UK government was rumored to be working towards earlier on in the pandemic — leading to widespread criticism — before it enforced a strict lockdown.

FORTUNE magazine headlined on 30 July 2020, “How parts of India inadvertently achieved herd immunity”, and reported that, “Around 57% of people across parts of India’s financial hub of Mumbai have coronavirus antibodies, a July study found, indicating that the population may have inadvertently achieved the controversial ‘herd immunity’ protection from the coronavirus.” Furthermore:

Herd immunity is an approach to the coronavirus pandemic where, instead of instituting lockdowns and other restrictions to slow infections, authorities allow daily life to go on as normal, letting the disease spread. In theory, enough people will become infected, recover, and gain immunity that the spread will slow on its own and people who are not immune will be protected by the immunity of those who are. University of Chicago researchers estimated in a paper published in May that achieving herd immunity from COVID-19 would require 67% of people to be immune to the disease. Mayo Clinic estimates 70% of the U.S. population will need to be immune for the U.S. to achieve herd immunity, which can also be achieved by vaccinating that proportion of a population.

On 27 September 2020, Reuters bannered “In Brazil’s Amazon a COVID-19 resurgence dashes herd immunity hopes”, and reported that, “The largest city in Brazil’s Amazon has closed bars and river beaches to contain a fresh surge of coronavirus cases, a trend that may dash theories that Manaus was one of the world’s first places to reach collective, or herd, immunity.”

Right now, the global average of Covid-19 intensity (total cases of the disease thus far) is 19,693 persons per million population. For examples: Botswana is barely below that intensity, at 19,629, and Norway is barely above that intensity, at 20,795. Sweden is at 95,905, which is nearly five times the global average. Brazil is 69,006, which is around 3.5 times worse than average. India is 14,321, which is slightly better than average. USA is 99,754.  

However, the day prior, on May 2nd, America had 30,701 new cases. Brazil had 28,935. Norway had 210. India had 370,059. Sweden’s latest daily count (as-of May 3rd) was 5,937 on April 29th, 15 times Norway’s 385 on that date. Sweden’s population is 1.9 times that of Norway. India’s daily count is soaring. Their population is four times America’s, but the number of new daily cases in India is twelve times America’s. Whereas India has had only one-seventh as much Covid-19 intensity till now, India is soaring upwards to become ultimately, perhaps, even worse than America is on Covid-19 performance. And Brazil is already almost as bad as America, on Covid-19 performance, and will soon surpass America in Covid-19 failure.

There is no “herd immunity” against Covid-19, yet, anywhere. It’s just another libertarian myth. But libertarians still continue to believe it — they refuse to accept the data.

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