: We Must Learn From the Failed Global Response to COVID-19 #WorldNEWS In the world of international affairs, non-traditional security threats are not new. Many of us have spent decades analyzing and
We Must Learn From the Failed Global Response to COVID-19 #WorldNEWS
In the world of international affairs, non-traditional security threats are not new. Many of us have spent decades analyzing and conducting contingency planning for the sudden advent of developments like a pandemic. And yet, despite all the time and resources invested, the COVID-19 pandemic still caught the world woefully unprepared.
Beyond learning from the woeful manner in which this COVID-19 pandemic has been handled both nationally and internationally, there are several significant ramifications for global politics, the economy, and the U. S. -China relationship that warrant serious consideration.
First, COVID-19 has damaged global institutions while simultaneously strengthening the power of national governments. Without delving into a political debate, the WHO could have done much better in responding to the COVID-19 crisis than it did. Instead of the WHO taking the lead on effective early warning, establishing early mechanisms for global tracking and notifications, and coordinating global vaccine distributions, national governments have reasserted themselves as the only reliable mechanism to shield their citizens from harm. Indeed, across the board, on both the pandemic and the faltering economic recovery, we are witnessing the fundamental return of the nation state to the absolute forefront of international politics. This is a phenomenon that bears watching because COVID-19 has created new powers and potential new intrusions by the state into society, including new digital surveillance technologies that were previously the province of authoritarian political systems. This has implications not just for China, but also for democracies around the world.
A byproduct of this burgeoning of the power of the nation state is the further rise of nationalism itself. This nationalism has primarily taken two forms: “COVID nationalism” and “vaccine nationalism. ” With people around the world looking to their national and provincial governments for confidence and security, the consequence is that societies turn inward and become more guarded, more selfish, less globally-oriented, and more nationalist. We also see that reflected in the rolling obscenity of global vaccine distribution, where vaccines have been allocated in a non-coordinated fashion, oblivious to human need and often driven by foreign policy imperatives. The losers from vaccine nationalism are the most vulnerable, who have fallen off the world’s political radar screen.
Second, COVID-19 has also wrought havoc on the global economy. Economists are still measuring this, in terms of lost production, economic “scarring”—particularly on employment—and a burgeoning and re-legitimized protectionism as global supply chains have failed on distributing both PPE and vaccines.
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