By – Ruby Henley
Why do we find ourselves literally waking up to a bizarre new reality each morning? We did not die, rapture into heaven, or suffer abduction to another planet. But it is definitely a whole new world.
Due to a scientist’s desire to study a virus living inside a bat in a cave in China, we lost what we held so dear – our freedoms perished overnight. For those of us living in the United States, that was a serious loss. We had been gaining back a prosperity we had lost.
The President of the United States, President Donald Trump, had created an American Awakening by proving to our jaded society we could expect a renewed vigor in our Country. He convinced us we could ‘Make America Great Again,’ and sure enough it was happening.
All in such a short amount of time, we went from hope in our hearts to bewilderment in our heads. But shock and trauma spark change and revolution, right? It had to be done, right?
And what better way to do it than a global pandemic created by the doers and shakers of the world – you know those in charge, who always know what is good for the rest of us…even if it kills us. But it will never kill them, as they are above it all. They are not mere figures; they are figureheads. They make the rules, and the rest of us follow them.
Change and progress are always good things, right? Oh, I let me think…try asking the Native Americans about the Trail of Tears.
I love my Android phone, but before I got it, I said I would never go around like some with a phone stuck to my face. Now one rarely spots me without it, even sometimes in my sleep. It seemingly has become a part of me.
The world of Artificial Intelligence fascinates me, and I keep up with everything Elon Musk is doing. I consider him to be a true hero of this world. He is now creating a chip to be implanted behind the ear, which will help man compete with Artificial Intelligence. Not only that, it can cure depression and diseases that plague mankind like Parkinson’s Disease.
If you have Parkinson’s, you would most likely jump at the chance to acquire Elon’s chip. This is the Fourth Industrial Revolution we are speaking of, and it is an exciting time. Yet one can take a good thing and spiritually misuse it by pushing it on someone who does not want it in his or her life.
There are those in this world, who feel they have a right to force progress on the rest of us. Therefore, you find the ‘living off the grid’ movement, or even the ‘tiny house movement” booming around the world. People are seeking to get away from a runaway society where wealth is the focal point.
Is Covid-19 a manufactured crisis?
There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 virus is a biological weapon. Scientific evidence suggests the COVID-19 virus spilled over from animals to people. One paper showed that the COVID-19 virus is 96% genetically identical to a coronavirus that was previously identified in bats, and researchers are working to discover even closer coronavirus matches in animals to hone in on the path of spillover into people. Two preliminary studies indicate that the COVID-19 virus could have passed through pangolins (“scaly anteaters“). As more research is conducted, the transmission chain of the COVID-19 virus will become clearer.
Drafted 11 March 20
A World Less Open, Prosperous, and Free
by Stephen M. Walt, the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.
The pandemic will strengthen the state and reinforce nationalism. Governments of all types will adopt emergency measures to manage the crisis, and many will be loath to relinquish these new powers when the crisis is over.
COVID-19 will also accelerate the shift in power and influence from West to East. South Korea and Singapore have responded best, and China has reacted well after its early mistakes. The response in Europe and America has been slow and haphazard by comparison, further tarnishing the aura of the Western “brand.”
What won’t change is the fundamentally conflictive nature of world politics. Previous plagues did not end great-power rivalry nor usher in a new era of global cooperation.Previous plagues—including the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919—did not end great-power rivalry nor usher in a new era of global cooperation. Neither will COVID-19. We will see a further retreat from hyperglobalization, as citizens look to national governments to protect them and as states and firms seek to reduce future vulnerabilities.
In short, COVID-19 will create a world that is less open, less prosperous, and less free. It did not have to be this way, but the combination of a deadly virus, inadequate planning, and incompetent leadership has placed humanity on a new and worrisome path.
The End of Globalization as We Know It
by Robin Niblett, the director and chief executive of Chatham House.
The coronavirus pandemic could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back of economic globalization.
The coronavirus pandemic could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back of economic globalization.
China’s growing economic and military power had already provoked a bipartisan determination in the United States to decouple China from U.S.-sourced high technology and intellectual property and try to force allies to follow suit. Increasing public and political pressure to meet carbon emissions reduction targets had already called into question many companies’ reliance on long-distance supply chains. Now, COVID-19 is forcing governments, companies, and societies to strengthen their capacity to cope with extended periods of economic self-isolation.
It seems highly unlikely in this context that the world will return to the idea of mutually beneficial globalization that defined the early 21st century. And without the incentive to protect the shared gains from global economic integration, the architecture of global economic governance established in the 20th century will quickly atrophy. It will then take enormous self-discipline for political leaders to sustain international cooperation and not retreat into overt geopolitical competition.
Proving to their citizens that they can manage the COVID-19 crisis will buy leaders some political capital. But those who fail will find it hard to resist the temptation to blame others for their failure.
A More China-Centric Globalization
by Kishore Mahbubani, a distinguished fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute who is the author of Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy.
The COVID-19 pandemic will not fundamentally alter global economic directions. It will only accelerate a change that had already begun: a move away from U.S.-centric globalization to a more China-centric globalization.
It will only accelerate a change that had already begun: a move away from U.S.-centric globalization to a more China-centric globalization.
Why will this trend continue? The American population has lost faith in globalization and international trade. Free trade agreements are toxic, with or without U.S. President Donald Trump. By contrast, China has not lost faith. Why not? There are deeper historical reasons. Chinese leaders now know well that China’s century of humiliation from 1842 to 1949 was a result of its own complacency and a futile effort by its leaders to cut it off from the world. By contrast, the past few decades of economic resurgence were a result of global engagement. The Chinese people have also experienced an explosion of cultural confidence. They believe they can compete anywhere.
Consequently, as I document in my new book, Has China Won?, the United States has two choices. If its primary goal is to maintain global primacy, it will have to engage in a zero-sum geopolitical contest, politically and economically, with China. However, if the goal of the United States is to improve the well-being of the American people—whose social condition has deteriorated—it should cooperate with China. Wiser counsel would suggest that cooperation would be the better choice. However, given the toxic U.S. political environment toward China, wiser counsel may not prevail.
Democracies Will Come out of Their Shell
by G. John Ikenberry, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, is the author of After Victory and Liberal Leviathan.
In the short term, the crisis will give fuel to all the various camps in the Western grand strategy debate. The nationalists and anti-globalists, the China hawks, and even the liberal internationalists will all see new evidence for the urgency of their views. Given the economic damage and social collapse that is unfolding, it is hard to see anything other than a reinforcement of the movement toward nationalism, great-power rivalry, strategic decoupling, and the like.
Just like in the 1930s and ’40s, there might also be a slower-evolving countercurrent.But just like in the 1930s and ’40s, there might also be a slower-evolving countercurrent, a sort of hardheaded internationalism similar to the one that Franklin D. Roosevelt and a few other statesmen began to articulate before and during the war. The 1930s collapse of the world economy showed how connected modern societies were and how vulnerable they were to what FDR called contagion. The United States was less threatened by other great powers than by the deep forces—and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character—of modernity. What FDR and other internationalists conjured was a postwar order that would rebuild an open system with new forms of protection and capacities to manage interdependence. The United States couldn’t simply hide within its borders, but to operate in an open postwar order required the building of a global infrastructure of multilateral cooperation.
So the United States and other Western democracies might travel through this same sequence of reactions driven by a cascading sense of vulnerability; the response might be more nationalist at first, but over the longer term, the democracies will come out of their shells to find a new type of pragmatic and protective internationalism.
This Pandemic Can Serve a Useful Purpose
by Shivshankar Menon, a distinguished fellow at Brookings India, a former national security advisor to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and a visiting professor at Ashoka University, India.
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.
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.