While Americans were busy sheltering in place and panic buying toilet paper, U.S. legislatures were busy putting the finishing touches H.R. 2444 which was introduced in May 2019. While top news syndicates are busy counting the number of COVID-19 cases, The bill, also known as the Eastern European Security Act authorizes the Secretary of State to make direct loans under section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act to “assist NATO allies in acquiring and deploying modern, NATO interoperable military dependence and reducing their dependence on Russia.”
Recent events have convinced all but a few that the world is undergoing a radical change that will alter our concept of normal. The empty streets, shuttered businesses and closed borders are just a few tangible indicators of the change. But not to be undone, many states are aggressively preparing behind the scenes.
According to H.R. 2444, the new legislation will supplement existing grant assistance to strategic allies through foreign military financing loans at competitive rates. Commencing in fiscal year 2021, the new bill will grant the president, acting through the Secretary of State to make direct loans. The bill specifies that the loans will have a 12-year repayment period among other key elements to strengthen the NATO Defense.
While NATO is an older alliance, members are already beginning to carry out the directives of the 2020 NATO Conference. According to Military.com, both NATO and EUCOM (United States European Command) are already planning for zero-sum scenarios. It will be curious to see if other regional blocks like BRICS nations, the East African Community (EAC), ECOWAS, The Economic Community of Central African States or ASEAN are also preparing for a Post-COVID world where trade, foreign relations and markets have been deeply disrupted. While citizens hunker down for the long haul, the successful planning of respective governments and sociopolitical, economic and military blocks during the COVID Crunch may determine the quality of the new reality emerging on the other side of the Pandemic.
Unfortunately, these developments are all but ignored by a popular news cycle regurgitating minutia about COVID-19, which is a corona virus not unlike MERS, Swine Flu, Zika virus, and SARS. It is important to note that to date, COVID-19 does not hold the lethal capacity of the 2003 SARS epidemic or the 2012 MERS corona virus originating in Saudi Arabia according to data from the World Health Organization. However, it is more wide spread than both SARS and MERS, but not currently at the rate of H1N1 which affected 700 Million and over 1 billion people respectively. While the prevalence and severity COVID-19 is not being questioned, the ubiquity of the news cycle should. Particularly for those who understand that the world is changing rapidly, regardless and because of the COVID-19 response.
The fact is that a new world is emerging behind the scenes. While infection numbers are relevant, now more than ever businesses, executives, entrepreneurs and citizens will need to push through the noise of the news cycle to find media that addresses national and global industry, socioeconomic and foreign relations plans for the future. Particularly for Americans, it will be critical to look past the exhausting dialogue and chaos surrounding COVID-19 responses and management to find real new world answers to for business, entrepreneurial, educational or professional questions. Wherever you may be in the world, you need to know. Navigating the new normal begins now, by accessing concrete news beyond pandemic numbers alone.
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