As the coronavirus scare reached its height, like so many others, I wondered how the world could have got the response so wrong. Because of my experience as a diplomat, I have a profound appreciation for the leadership role played by the US in times of crisis, like this. Given that, and the way in which US president Donald Trump bumbled his way through this, one thing was clear — leadership matters. Looking at where we are, I have continued to think about what we did and why we should have done things differently.

Let me start with the obvious, and that is, at some point in the foreseeable future there will be another virus. Viruses have been a fact of life since time immemorial. At some point soon, the coronavirus will be yesterday’s news. The next virus is coming. Can we continue to shut down everything, particularly the world economy, every year or every other year? The obvious, and short, answer is — no...

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