Trump Visits India, Bernie's Blowout, Virus Outbreak

Monday, February 24, 2020

Trump Visits India
President Trump is currently making his first official visit to India, the world's largest democracy.  The U.S.-India relationship is a critical counterweight to China's growing power and influence in Asia.  It is also an important alliance in the fight against radical Islam.
More than 100,000 Indians packed the world's largest cricket stadium to hear remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  The president announced a $3 billion defense deal with India, and added that the two nations are working toward a major trade deal.  Referring to mutual defense interests, President Trump said:
"Together, we will defend our sovereignty, security, and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region for our children and for many, many generations to come. . . The United States and India are also firmly united in our ironclad resolve to defend our citizens from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism."

I know many readers are also concerned about religious liberty issues in India, and the White House has made it clear that the president will address that issue in private meetings with Modi.
Bernie's Blowout
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders didn't just win the Nevada caucuses Saturday – it was a blowout.  Sanders took 47% of the vote, while Joe Biden finished a distant second at 20%, followed by Pete Buttigieg (14%), Elizabeth Warren (10%), Tom Steyer (5%) and Amy Klobuchar (4%).  Michael Bloomberg wasn't on the ballot.
Bloomberg's not on the ballot in South Carolina either, but he will join six other Democrats for yet another debate tomorrow night in Charleston, South Carolina
Meanwhile, Sanders has smashed Biden's Palmetto State firewall, and Super Tuesday continues to look like it could be a very good day for Sanders. 
Virus Outbreak
The news on the coronavirus over the weekend was disturbingly bad.  There are now outbreaks in Italy, Iran, Japan and South Korea.  In some cases, there is no obvious connection to China.  In Italy, 20% of those infected are in intensive care
There is a potential crisis within this crisis.  We first mentioned it to you four weeks ago when we brought up the dependence of the United States on medical supplies from China. 
In recent decades, China has decided that it was going to dominate the world's pharmaceutical industry.  It started selling ingredients essential to medicines on the world market below market costs to drive many suppliers out of business. 
Big multinational drug companies started moving facilities to China so they could have ready access to cheaper ingredients.  The last U.S. company manufacturing penicillin shut down in 2004.
The result is that approximately 80% of essential medications now rely on the Chinese supply line.  It's not just medicines.  China is one of the main suppliers of surgical masks.  Beijing banned the export of those masks.  Doctors everywhere are now scrambling. 
There were warnings.  Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson covered it extensively.  Yet the political establishment before Trump convinced itself that we should be a global marketplace, and free marketeers insisted that everything should be made wherever it is cheapest. 
But a great nation must be able to make certain things, even if it costs more, if it wants to be safe.  I know the administration is working 24/7 to find solutions.  Whatever happens, just remember that it was the sleepwalking of the DC swamp for decades that got us into this mess.