Two horrific virulent viruses are quickly engulfing vast swathes of territory in a dastardly pincer movement. Ebola, from the remote jungles of West Africa, and ISIS from deep in the desert, are implacable killing machines with a shockingly high kill rate wrecking havoc and terror in their ever-expanding domains. Sweeping aside token resistance, they’re conducting cross-border invasions across multiple sovereign states and increasingly getting stronger as they grow.
ISIS has about 20 pro-ISIS groups in countries yet invaded by them, one of which is Libya in the midst of civil war. Additionally, ISIS is generously funded by revenue from captured oil refineries and kidnapping. Ebola has mutated with their expansion from remote villages to towns and is now at the cusp of entering high-density cities in countries with appalling medical and sanitation conditions which give it greater strength. Like ISIS, once under their grip, there are few survivors to tell the tale.
Like Ebola, ISIS is easily exportable. Viruses adhere to the victim, Ebola through “blood, sweat and tears” and ISI through propaganda. In other words they both operate by attacking and capturing the “hearts and minds.” Conversion to protect oneself from either virus is not an option – only death. And neither virus can easily be defeated because neither has a well-defined infrastructure. There are no vaccines to protect against Ebola and only a pro-ISIS Sunni can protect himself and his family from ISIS.
All viruses have humble beginnings that go undetected, under-reported, and often ignored. Isolated they grow in the dark, slowly gaining strength and then multiply prolifically amidst the chaos and confusion all the while cloaking themselves as a savior to resolve the crisis.
Ebola was an isolated virus identified in the 1970s possibly caused by the cross-species consumption of chopped up bush meat. ISIS was a small, relatively unknown radical group that mushroomed amongst the factional splintering and chaos in the region. Because of al Qaeda’s ‘soft’ stance on certain issues, numerous Sunnis joined ISIS particularly the top Iraqi military brass who were administratively “chopped up” from Saddam Hussein’s regime and are now seeking revenge.
The strength of these viruses is that Ebola is apolitical (for obvious reasons) and ISIS has deep pool of rabidly anti-American ‘talent’ regionally and internationally.
It’s the 1930s redux which will eventually take the world’s collaborative resources to first contain and then destroy these viruses, always at a high human and economic cost. The last viruses requiring a gargantuan global effort were Nazism and then communism.
Sadly the World Health Organization (WHO) is under-staffed and under-funded. A recent budget cut reduced their annual budget to about $4 billion which is far less that the $6 billion budget for the US Center for Disease Control. It is estimated that $600 million is required to combat the Ebola virus.
The US government is war-weary and trying to reduce the military budget just at a time when more funding would be required to lead a coalition to combat ISIS and other global flash-points.
The difficulty in forming a coalition is that often sovereign state partners are weak and corrupt with limited resources which will be more of a burden. In other words, as always, America will be carrying all of the fight like Gary Cooper in High Noon as its so-called allies bail in the face of danger.
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