You can't simply rewrite history, John. The EU argued during the leave campaign that the Belfast agreement would present a major problem if the UK voted to leave. They were ignored - all just project fear. The EU were the first to propose the NI protocol pretty much in its present form as a solution to the Belfast agreement issue. Theresa May rejected it because it would break up the union and no UK prime minister would ever do that. Johnson sat next to her nodding vigorously. She couldn't then get through an agreement that kept the whole UK partly in the EU for a period until the border problem could be resolved. The only reason Johnson reached agreement so fast with the EU was because he simply reverted to their original proposal and then lied to parliament that what he agreed to would not mean a border in the Irish sea. He then continued to lie as all the border infrastructure was being built.
The UK was in the EU for 50 years and formed part of the EU border so the UK government knew exactly how rigorously the EU enforces its border. It cannot pretend that they didn't realise that they would work to the letter of the agreement. The EU research group fronted by the Mogster, held a public press conference before the leave vote ever happened claiming that technical solutions to the border issue already existed and could be implemented in months. They had lots of "experts" who supported this view. It is now 5 years since the vote so where are these technical solutions.
The EU has not created this problem. The problem was embedded in the vote to leave. As I wrote on here many years ago, there are 2 rules:
Rule 1 - We are going to take back control of our border.
Rule 2 - We are not going to have a border.
That circle cannot be squared. This is absolutely nothing to do with COVID-19 BUT the rancour is still there and it colours every decision that the UK makes about the EU and the EU makes about the UK. The issue is being argued in UK-EU meetings as we write.