I’m not excusing Trump for his delusions, denial, and dithering — he is very much at fault — but the core source of the destruction was and is Beijing. Bringing a totalitarian country, which is herding its Muslim inhabitants into concentration camps, into the heart of the Western world was, in retrospect, a gamble that has not paid off. I remember the old debate from the 1990s about how to engage China, and the persuasiveness of those who believed that economic prosperity would lead to greater democracy. COVID-19 is the final reminder of how wrong they actually were.

The Chinese dictatorship is, in fact, through recklessness and cover-up, responsible for a global plague and tipping the entire world into a deep depression. It has also corrupted the World Health Organization, which was so desperate for China’s cooperation it swallowed Xi’s coronavirus lies and regurgutated them. At the most critical juncture — mid-January — the WHO actually tweeted out Communist Party propaganda: “Preliminary investigations by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel Coronavirus.” On the same day, another WHO official was telling the world that there was “limited spread” of COVID-19 by human-to-human transmission, and alerted hospitals about the risk of super-spreading the virus. And so the virus has forced us to accept another discomforting reality: Integrating a communist dictatorship into a democratic world economy is a mug’s game. From now on, conscious decoupling is the order of the day.