A note from the CEO

Each week seems more extraordinary than the one that preceded it.

More than 600,000 Americans are confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 26,000 Americans have died. The United States leads the world on both of these metrics. New York City has recorded 8,000 COVID-19 related deaths, with almost 800 deaths per day for the past week. Especially deadly among minority populations in the United States, the economic costs of COVID-19 in the US are also appalling, with 6.6 million added to the unemployment rolls this week, bringing the US unemployment rate to 10.6 per cent.

There were two other developments of note that we’re tracking closely at the US Studies Centre.

Firstly, COVID-19 will define Trump’s presidency and re-election chances, leading Trump to play “blame game” politics with all of his characteristic audacity and braggadocio. State governors, the media, the World Health Organization, and the Chinese regime are all targets. Expect plenty more over the weeks and months ahead. The stakes couldn’t be higher, not merely for Trump, his presidency and the judgment of history, but also for the many Americans whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the pandemic and are relying on the response of their federal and state governments.

Secondly, the world is turning to analysis of how the United States got this so wrong. In Australia -- as evidenced in articles by Nine and ABC -- the media is increasingly turning it's gaze to the United States to better understand what America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic signals about the trajectory of American power, capability and prestige.

As Australians feel more reassured about the progression of the pandemic here (perhaps prematurely, perhaps not), room is opening up for Australians to turn to the obvious and startling comparisons with the United States. The US Studies Centre has an important leadership role to play as these comparisons — and whatever conclusions will be drawn — become more prominent in the Australian national conversation.

Professor Simon Jackman
CEO, United States Studies Centre