Goodbye forever war hello forever pandemic.
Goodbye military-industrial complex. Hello pharmaceutical-industrial complex.
As Joe Biden has cleared American troops from Afghanistan one thing seems abundantly clear: America's desire to conduct military adventures or police the world has at least temporarily abated.
This is reflected even in the amount of military hardware and American civilians and allies have abandoned in the region. Sometimes the cause of the most callous betrayals isn't anger—it's exhaustion. Judas was just tired of the Roman occupation when he betrayed his friend Jesus.
And yet all of this government spending and human capital—for these are the means of public works projects in the Great American Empire—will have to be diverted, expended elsewhere.
Queue, as if through sheer serendipity, a means for America's endless, morale-eroding conflicts to enter the realm of the metaphysical: A prolonged, nigh-eternal fight against another terrifying, invisible, unkillable enemy.
Where once we were so unsophisticated as to declare war on the very idea of terror itself, now we have the very tangible COVID-19.
But don't worry! Two weeks to flatten the curve, and that will reduce the strain on hospitals sufficiently to abate the worst of this pandemic.
No? Well, vaccines have been developed by Western pharmaceutical companies. And what's great about the vaccines we've developed? Well, they only work temporarily. The only two vaccines we've seen widespread use of in the West—Pfizer Biotech and Moderna—require boosters, as the virus continues to mutate and become harder to kill.
Funnily enough, this is because the virus has started killing people in developing countries—the same parts of the world that pharmaceutical companies have blocked their IP from being produced! And as the virus mutates in these countries and becomes harder to kill, the profit margins of vaccine manufacturers and IP holders shoots to the moon.
These are the seeds of a forever pandemic: We have a cure that is just impotent enough to never solve the problem. We have an unbridled capitalist system that rewards the most repulsive human behaviours imaginable: With-holding medicine to profit off of the deaths of your fellow human beings, only for your greed to make your medicine less effective, but more profitable!
And that lack of efficacy is great, again, for your profit margins! It is actually far more profitable for the patent holders of the vaccines to create an ineffective, non-permanent cure. No R&D costs - just produce the same treatment over and over again, kind of like chemo.
As I stated in the beginning, I'm no fan of grand conspiracy theories. People commit evil acts more often out of greed and laziness than out of tempered, deliberate malice. But we only left Vietnam or Afghanistan as a result of widespread public awareness and action.
The nascent merger of the pharmaceutical-industrial complex and the exhausting incessant minor conflicts of a unipolar world can pose a far greater risk to our country than even the forever wars of our past.
We have the opportunity, right now, to live in a "forever pandemic" or to call out pharmaceutical companies for exploiting a global pandemic to line their own coffers, allowing millions to die abroad.