It was a wise man who said that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat past mistakes. An even wiser man observed that those make those mistakes will wind up being lectured by historians.
Historical statement: Disease is transmitted along trade routes.
That is what history teaches us.
The Black Plague of the 14th Century began in Hubei province and spread along trade routes – both land and sea – and ended up killing 200 million people in Eurasia.
Now, the Wuhan virus also began in Hubei and while it is unlikely to kill 200 million people, it has been spread along trade routes.
In Italy, for example, the Wuhan virus has devastated the northern region and has led to widespread lockdowns. Why?
Chinese investment. Italy looked at direct investment by China as a God-send. It was a source of much needed infrastructure spending. Many businesses were sold to Chinese companies. Hundreds of thousands of workers from Wuhan now work in northern Italy. Those workers traveled back and forth even when the virus was loosed into the Chinese city.
Today, more than 10,000 Italians are infected and 635 have died.
It’s the same story in Iran. China has a strategic relationship with Iran. There are hundreds of Chinese workers in Iran. More than that there are dozens upon dozens of Chinese officials working closely with the Tehran government.
Today, fully 23 members of parliament have been infected with the Wuhan virus and the country’s highest leaders are dying.
Ironically, countries geographically closest to China have largely been spared the ravages of the Wuhan virus.
Taiwan, for example, acted quickly, closing off travel to mainland China as soon as news of the virus outbreak spread. It has reported only 50 cases.
Hong Kong officials, too, acted quickly. They instituted an immediate travel ban. There only 97 citizens were infected.
Countries such as France and Germany will likely see levels of infection similar to Italy’s. Again, it is because those countries’ close ties to China and failure to close their borders.
The Wuhan virus needs to be a cautionary tale. As China seeks to expand its influence, it is investing in more and more countries and drawing them into closer and closer relationships. With so many diseases arising in China, specifically the Hubei province, closer ties are problematic.
This is not racism. The issue is Communist control. There is no transparency in China. There is no respect for human rights in China. There is active suppression of news.
China is no one’s friend. We have been warned.