It is early days yet, but three things seem apparent. First, the coronavirus pandemic will change our politics, both within states and between them. It is to the power of government that societies—even libertarians—have turned.
Government’s relative success in overcoming the pandemic and its economic effects will exacerbate or diminish security issues and the recent polarization within societies. Either way, government is back. Experience so far shows that authoritarians or populists are no better at handling the pandemic.
Indeed, the countries that responded early and successfully, such as Korea and Taiwan, have been democracies—not those run by populist or authoritarian leaders.
This is not yet the end of an interconnected world. The pandemic itself is proof of our interdependence.
Secondly, this is not yet the end of an interconnected world. The pandemic itself is proof of our interdependence. But in all polities, there is already a turning inward, a search for autonomy and control of one’s own fate. We are headed for a poorer, meaner, and smaller world.
Finally, there are signs of hope and good sense. India took the initiative to convene a video conference of all South Asian leaders to craft a common regional response to the threat.
If the pandemic shocks us into recognizing our real interest in cooperating multilaterally on the big global issues facing us, it will have served a useful purpose.
CREDIT: Shivshankar Menon
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