After Four Years and Thirty Million Deaths

The Covid Epidemic and the Trump Neocons

The global Covid epidemic began more than four years ago, and although its visibility has largely faded over the last couple of years, displaced in the headlines by Russia’s Ukraine war and the more recent Israel-Gaza conflict, its lingering impact has been enormous.

Since 2020 The Economist has maintained the most authoritative account of the human toll and by its reckoning, the total number of “excess deaths” worldwide has nearly reached thirty million, while many billions more had their lives greatly disrupted by the lockdowns and economic dislocations. Our own country certainly suffered from these same factors, with well over a million American deaths, and the massive government spending used to avert an economic collapse raised our debt by more than $10 trillion, an increase of roughly 50% over just the last few years. Confronting Russia and... Unz, Ron Buy New $15.99 (as of 01:03 UTC - Details)

During that same period I’d published a long series of articles focused on the origins of Covid. Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the first of those pieces and over the last few days I’ve reread most of my writings on that topic, which totaled well over 100,000 words.

In many of those articles, I’d assumed that the long-term social and economic impact of the epidemic and lockdowns would be far greater than was the case. Ordinary life in America seems to have largely returned to normal much more rapidly than I had expected at the time. Except for a few permanent changes here and there, little sign of those very difficult years seems to remain in our daily lives, and I think the same situation has also been true in most other countries. But aside from those mistaken expectations—probably shared by many others at the time—I’d strongly stand behind almost everything else that I wrote in those two dozen major articles, especially including my extremely controversial analysis of the true cause of that devastating global epidemic.

The origin of Covid had been my primary contribution to the public debate and now that four years have gone by and the dust has partially settled, I think it’s worth revisiting that question and reviewing some of my arguments. But although my first article appeared in April 2020, the underlying analysis can best be understood after carefully considering some earlier events.

In 2016 a massive wave of popular revulsion against the political establishments of both the Democratic and Republican parties unexpectedly propelled Donald Trump into the White House. However, he unfortunately soon proved himself to be a disengaged and rather erratic president, and suffering from the natural problems of someone entirely new to holding elective office, he notoriously allowed his top aides to run circles around him on important issues.

Furthermore, although he’d run for the presidency as a candidate of drastic ideological change, most of his appointments were relatively conventional Republicans. Within fifteen months he’d been persuaded to place his national security policy in the hands of hardline Neocons such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, who were both intensely hostile toward China and Iran and sometimes ignored or circumvented their ignorant superior. Leading journalists later reported that Trump’s senior aides would sometimes hide his executive orders, thereby preventing him from signing them into law while correctly assuming that he would soon forget about them.

An extremely serious example of Trump’s inability to control his own underlings came in late 2018 during a crucial summit meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Huawei was one of China’s most important corporations, a global technology champion whose CFO Meng Wanzhou was the daughter of the company’s founder and chairman and was herself one of her country’s highest-profile executives. But just eight months after taking office, Bolton ordered her arrest as she was changing planes in Canada on charges that she had violated American sanctions on Iran, an action that severely damaged our relations with China. Several years later a 10,000 word article in the Wall Street Journal revealed some of the fascinating details behind that serious international incident.

Mr. Bolton, then-national security adviser in the Trump administration, knew Ms. Meng’s arrest could disrupt the summit’s marquee event that evening, a dinner between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Yet Mr. Bolton, a longtime China hawk, felt it was worth the risk. The president didn’t yet know about the plan. White House staffers later debated whether Mr. Bolton had told Mr. Trump or if it hadn’t fully registered with the president…

At the police station, Ms. Meng was fingerprinted, and allowed a phone call to the only Chinese-speaking lawyer Huawei could find on short notice, a patent attorney. As the attorney dashed to the station, Ms. Meng began to gasp for air, worrying officers who sped her to a hospital.

Messrs. Trump and Xi were dining on Argentine sirloin, accompanied by a 2014 Malbec. The goal of the dinner was to reach a truce in an escalating U.S.-China trade war. Neither man appeared aware of Ms. Meng’s arrest. Mr. Bolton, seated near Mr. Trump, didn’t mention it.

Mr. Xi learned shortly after, according to Chinese government officials, and it struck him as deceptive and an insult. He had just agreed to buy more U.S. food and energy.

Mr. Trump questioned Mr. Bolton days later at a White House Christmas dinner, according to people familiar with the conversation. “Why did you arrest Meng?” the president said. “Don’t you know she’s the Ivanka Trump of China?”

Thirteen months later, an even more shocking incident unfolded in the Middle East. For many years, Gen. Qasem Soleimani had been regarded as Iran’s most important military commander and given his very widespread popular appeal, he was considered a likely candidate in his country’s 2021 presidential election. But in early 2020 American officials lured him to Baghdad for Middle East peace negotiations with our representatives and then persuaded Trump to order his assassination when he arrived there on January 2nd. That heinous killing brought our two nations to the very brink of war as the outraged Iranians bombarded our Middle Eastern bases with a dozen or more ballistic missiles in retaliation. Although Iran provided sufficient advance warning that no American lives were lost, more than one hundred of our servicemen were injured. The Myth of American M... Unz, Ron Buy New $29.99 (as of 10:02 UTC - Details)

Iran had long sought to reestablish amicable relations with the U.S., but the Israelis regarded that country as their most formidable regional rival and for more than a dozen years they and their close Neocon allies had been working to provoke an Iranian war with America, hoping to use our powerful military to destroy their local adversary, much like we had attacked and destroyed Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, this assassination was almost certainly part of that long-standing pro-Israel project, and although the exact American government officials responsible were never identified, it seems very likely that Pompeo and Bolton were heavily involved.

The public, peacetime assassination of so high-ranking a foreign leader was an almost unprecedented act during the last three centuries of world politics, while our disingenuous mainstream media carefully avoided suggesting the obvious Israeli dimension to the crime. As a result, I decided to explore the broader issue of assassinations, particularly focusing on Israel’s Mossad and its likely hidden role in so many of the highest-profile incidents of the previous seventy years. Near the end of that month, I published a very long and comprehensive review of that important history.

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