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Trump And Co., A World Desperately Lacking Leadership

U.S. President Donald Trump has failed spectacularly in his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. But he's not the only world leader coming up short.

President Donald Trump in the shadows
President Donald Trump in the shadows
*Oscar Moscariello

-OpEd-

BUENOS AIRES — The coronavirus pandemic is proving a tough political test of leadership for the world's great powers. Nobody is ahead for now, and all have failed, starting with China.

The leadership in Beijing initially behaved like the Soviet Union did with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Carelessly, secretively and with excessive pride. It tried to deny the undeniable and hide what would, sooner or later, come out in full view to all.

What did the Chinese do to the doctor at the Wuhan central hospital who, facing seven patients with atypical pneumonia symptoms and who'd all been to the city's wet market, rang the first alarm bells? They detained and chided him. How did the communist authorities react to the first signs of an epidemic? By minimizing the problem and hiding information for weeks.

China, to put it simply, failed the credibility test.

Then there's the United States. Initially President Trump took unfettered capitalism to a new extreme by keeping the economy open and domestic flights going even though he knew a pandemic was afoot. A few weeks later, with New York's avenues deserted by now, he played one of the oldest cards in politics: blame it all on foreigners, in this case China and the World Health Organization.

Berlin mural depicting Trump and Xi kissing — Photo: Jan Scheunert/ZUMA

At no point did the U.S. leader try to coordinate or even inspire an international response to an intrinsically global problem. Instead of uniting, he divided.

The United States has thus, manifestly, failed the leadership test.

Finally, there's the European Union, which was careless with the 2008 financial crisis, negligent with the 2015 refugee crisis and has now shown itself equally incapable in the face of the pandemic.

Brussels has behaved like a savings bank or trade chamber. It keeps announcing packages worth billions of euros when what its citizens really need is a vaccine, an encouraging word, or something to give them hope. The lack of agreement between its political leaders, the uncoordinated closure of borders and the inexplicable delay in helping Italians are further eroding a weakened confidence in the European project. Europe, once again, has failed the solidarity test.

We are thus advancing toward an even more fragmented world order, without leaders or dominant values. And this multipolar structure may entail enormous costs, because if the pandemic merely motivates the big economies to care for themselves, the global recovery will be slow, painful and exceedingly unequal.

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Society

Taking A Position: A Call To Regulate Yoga In India

Trained practitioners warn that unregulated yoga can be detrimental to people's health. The government in India, where the ancient practice was invented, knows this very well — yet continues to postpone regulation.

Prime Minister Modi at a mass yoga demonstration in Lucknow, India

Banjot Kaur

NEW DELHI — Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the observance of the eighth International Yoga Day from Mysuru, in southwestern India, early on the morning of June 21. Together with his colleagues from the Bharatiya Janata Party, he set out to mark the occasion in various parts of the country — reviving an annual ritual that had to take a break for the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yoga is one of the five kinds of alternative Indian medicine listed under India’s AYUSH efforts — standing for "Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and naturopathy, and Homeopathy." Among them, only yoga is yet to be regulated under any Act of Parliament: All other practices are governed by the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM), Act 2020.

Yoga and naturopathy are taught at the undergraduate level in 70 medical colleges across 14 Indian states. The Mangalore University in Karnataka first launched this course in 1989; today, these subjects are also taught at the postgraduate level.

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