Among the works that first brought Henry Kissinger to academic acclaim was "A World Restored," his 1950s book about how the greatest diplomats of Europe met at the Congress of Vienna to restore order to a continent shattered by the Napoleonic Wars.

The balance-of-power peace these men achieved lasted -- with the significant exception of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 -- for the full century, from 1815 to 1914.

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"Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully," said Samuel Johnson.

And as it is with men, so it is with nations.

Monday, Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, projected some 100,000 to 200,000 U.S. deaths from the pandemic, "if we do things almost perfectly." She agreed with Dr. Anthony Fauci's estimate that, if we do "nothing," the American dead could reach 2.2 million.

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"This is the question that is going to dominate the election: How did you perform in the great crisis?"

So says GOP Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma in today's New York Times.

GOP National Committeeman Henry Barbour of Mississippi calls the crisis "a defining moment... The more (Trump) reassures Americans, gives them the facts and delivers results, the harder it will be for Joe Biden."

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To fight the coronavirus at home, France is removing all military forces from Iraq.

When NATO scaled back its war games in Europe because of the pandemic, Russia reciprocated. Moscow announced it would cancel its war games along NATO's border.

Nations seem to be recognizing and responding to the grim new geostrategic reality of March 2020: The pandemic is the real enemy of us all, and while we fight it, each in his own national corner, we are in this together.

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"We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself," tweeted the president on Sunday night, adding that, after the current 15-day shutdown, "we will make a decision as to which way we want to go."

President Trump is said to be privately expressing a deepening concern at the damage the coronavirus shutdown is doing to the U.S. economy and debating whether it can be safely reopened.

Though castigated for his remark, Trump has a point.

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Mike Scruggs