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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss National Security, U.S. Response To Ebola

New York Times: Ebola, Amnesia and Donald Trump
Editorial Board

“…The Trump White House … appears to be uniquely amnesiac [about Ebola]. On the same day that officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo reported the new Ebola cases, the administration sought to rescind $252 million in Ebola response funds left over from the earlier epidemic. … Around the same time that the administration proposed rescinding the funds, the [National Security Council (NSC)] dissolved its biosecurity directorate … The Trump administration has also failed to seek renewed funding from Congress for a global health security initiative begun after the 2014 epidemic. … [W]hether and how these policy shifts will affect the current Ebola response remains to be seen. Though the outbreak seems to have been quickly contained, it involves a disease that we have fresh and terrifying experience with, in a country that has seen this particular foe nine times in living memory. The next outbreak may not offer such a head start. And when it comes, Mr. Trump’s shortsightedness, if it is not corrected, will have left us far less prepared” (5/22).

Washington Post: The White House signals that bioterrorism and disease don’t matter — again
Kenneth W. Bernard, special assistant to the president for security and health during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations

“…What is it about international epidemics and biosecurity that so offend national security professionals that their default approach to the threat is to reorganize and eliminate it as a priority focus? … Mostly, it is tribalism. A functional disconnect exists between health and national security, and it is based on the innate differing interests and cultures of the security tribe and health tribe. By training and inclination, they just differ on what they perceive as priority issues. But tribalism is no longer an acceptable justification for the White House downgrading leadership on the national security aspects of global epidemics and bioterrorism. … Epidemic disease — whether natural, accidental, or intentional — will predictably recur during this and future administrations, and it will affect whole populations and economies as well as individual lives. Leadership at the White House and the NSC is not the whole solution. But without it, we are fighting while handcuffed” (5/22).

The Hill: U.S. and global community has to keep the Ebola outbreak from spreading — don’t cut funds
Peter Yeo, senior vice president of the United Nations Foundation

“…Until widespread vaccination can occur in the [West African] region, Ebola outbreaks will remain a fact of life, requiring continued U.S. and global interventions to keep the outbreak from spreading. We in the U.S. should be proud of our government’s role in helping the global community better prepare for, prevent, detect, and respond to a global health care crisis like Ebola. … Congress should oppose any attempts to slash the emergency funds meant to prevent and respond to Ebola outbreaks. The U.S. must ensure this funding remains available and fully partner with the World Health Organization so we can address this crisis proactively rather than reactively” (5/22).

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