Appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in 2014, Bill Clinton said that an invasion from outer space might be “the only way to unite us in this incredibly divided world of ours,” musing “how all the differences among people on Earth would seem small if we felt threatened by a space invader. . . . Everybody gets together and makes nice.” Ronald Reagan had the same idea, telling the United Nations General Assembly in 1987 that “I occasionally think how quickly our differences world-wide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat.” The Biden administration is betting the farm on the belief that any world-wide problem will do the trick, with global threats ranging from climate change to cyberwar on the increase. But the course of the Covid-19 pandemic to date suggests these hopes are misplaced.

Far from uniting the world, the coronavirus renationalized human life. It’s not only that most of humanity…

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