Bangladesh confounds the naysayers for all the right reasons

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William Pesek is an award-winning Tokyo-based journalist and author of “Japanization: What the World Can Learn from Japan’s Lost Decades.”Among developing nations having “good” COVID-19 crises, Bangladesh may the most surprising.Back in, say, May, the South Asian economic backwater was the subject of gloomy prognostications. Its densely populated cities, rudimentary health care system and a government deemed unready for prime-time were viewed as a recipe for disaster.Not so much. This nation of 165 million people has recorded about 6,300 coronavirus deaths, 1,000 fewer than my hometown of Queens, New York. The Bangladesh economy is set to grow 4%-plus this year, and in ways that have heads exploding in neighboring India.Last month, the International Monetary Fund ranked Bangladesh ahead of India in per capita income. While the juxtaposition further shamed Narendra Modi’s stewardship in New Delhi, it reminded global investors how much Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has got right in Dhaka these last 11 years. And how the nation Henry Kissinger famously dismissed as a “basket case,” is also having a terrific U.S.-China trade war.Since 2017, Donald Trump’s tariffs mostly benefited Vietnam. Its 97 million-plus population, locale and reasonably similar governing dynamic made Vietnam an obvious hedge against Washington vs. …

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