We’ve waged wars, prepared our young generations to protect our borders while breaching that of other states. For decades, we plundered economies in ensuring we’ll be remembered on the right side of history. This not only devastated our environment, but set a dominant narrative propagated under realist school of thought; the only threat to a nation state is external aggression. What is particularly interesting is how much of this devastation has been done during a period of globalisation.

And it persists, even today. Even when the entire world’s noose is being tightened by the coronavirus pandemic. The fast-spreading virus has exposed the reality of this war-loving world where leaders, in all their stubborn glory, know they will survive the crisis, and want to come out of it, stronger than ever. Indian curfew and lockdown in the Occupied Valley of Kashmir has crossed more than 200 days, with no signs of abating. Four cases have been reported, and the already healthcare-starved valley has no way of battling this crisis. In the Middle East; Libya and Syria are the most vulnerable conflict zones, with ill-equipped healthcare systems. Here, where war has saturated, the global pandemic is only minutes away from creating a catastrophe, the likes of which we haven’t even read about. Palestine’s cases, and the persistent killing of youth, paints a picture of an unforgivable Israeli god who will finally gain foothold in the illegal settlements in a single, swift move. While Yemeni Houthis await a truce from the Saudi-led coalition, US is adamant on not removing sanctions levied on Iran.

There is no forgiveness in the lands, anymore. Despite repeated calls of ceasefire by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gueterres, conflict zones will not ease, even in a time of global pandemic.

With security personnel deployed at borders, in overseas stations, they’ve now been called to ensure people stay inside their homes within major cities. While many would argue that this is the ‘rightful’ use of exuberant defence budgets, the fact that there isn’t a single country whose healthcare system can sustain the outbreak, is alarming. At a time when nukes around the world can be easily controlled by mobile phones, and are always just a push of a button away, the scarcity of COVID-19 testing kits, masks, gloves and hygiene products highlights the priorities of a post-capitalist, hyper globalist world.

For as long as the scientists have raved about climate change, they’ve warned about the limited capacity of antibiotics and anti-viral vaccines. Human genes have adapted to threats, but there is no known immunity to novel viruses, that too, when they seem to be mutating. While genome sequencing is a possible headway, it isn’t that far-fetched from the idea of organisms coming together in a typical example of survival of the fittest. Perhaps this is one such scenario. But the fact that our combined scientific sources weren’t able to account for such a catastrophe, or perhaps warn against the dangers of eating ‘exotic meats’, is a problem unto itself. It tells us about a fragmented global healthcare system, and points towards limited resources in the world to fight this. At most, we can contain it.

The enthusiasm with which governments around the world are pumping money into their economies while awaiting aid for health provisions is inhumane. While industry relief packages will do more for health in the long run – by way of generating tax revenues which ‘if’ are allocated correctly to healthcare – the precarious conditions in which doctors are working all across the world is cruel, and could have been avoided. Precipice of a capitalist society? Curfews and lockdowns that are ill-equipped to confine people to their homes highlights the fallacy of a democratic free world. Could the dangers have been avoided in a socialist setting? China has presented a model for it.

A national healthcare system which was effective in constructing six hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients, in record time. They created robots capable of disinfecting buildings and public transport system; and also made disinfectant tunnels for commuters. When the lockdowns were imposed, people actually stayed inside and educational institutes were quick enough to switch to online teaching methods. Having thousands of medical practitioners abide by a single work schedule, and meeting increased demand of hygienic products isn’t a small feat. This in addition to having the strongest military in the world all points towards an inherent discipline which hasn’t been able to mature in a democratic setting.

As a first priority, China focused on saving its people and containing the pandemic. Hence, now when China has opened 90% of its industries and factories, it is doing so without compromising the lives of its people. Further building up on this, we can say that socialist economies are better prepared to serve their people as compared to democratically-elected governments. However, ubiquitous out of context memes about Uighurs’ detention camps would point towards a different narrative.

However, what is integral in all of this is to understand that this battle can only be fought after concerted global efforts, and moving forward in developing a policy framework for the efficient use of public expenditure.

The writer is an international news broadcaster, and foreign policy analyst based in Lahore, Pakistan.

Could the dangers have been avoided in a socialist setting? China has presented a model for it.