May 7, 2020 / BY IAN BREMMER
COVID-19 has killed tens of thousands of Americans, thrown tens of millions more out of work and ended the longest bull-market run in modern American history. It has also proved beyond doubt that U.S. politics has become only more polarized.
Yet an appraisal of its broader comparative advantages shows that America will stumble through this crisis with less lasting damage than other nations can expect to sustain.
First, the U.S. still enjoys the age-old blessings of favorable geography. Though the security of its southern border will remain a hot political topic, the country faces nothing like the pressures Europe can expect from future waves of desperate people struggling to escape the Middle East and North Africa.
There are newer U.S. advantages too. In 2008, even before the financial crisis slowed its economy, the U.S. produced just 5 million barrels of crude oil per day. After years of innovation in exploration and production, that number surged to a record 12.3 million in 2019. Earlier this year, a price war launched by Saudi Arabia against Russia pushed some U.S. energy firms into financial trouble, but the Saudis and Russians, under pressure from President Trump, backed down.