How will COVID-19 change the world?

How will COVID-19 change the world?
04 Feb

How will COVID-19 change the world?

Seminars, articles and books started appearing in abundance only last year to the effect of COVID-19 on global politics. Till that time, however many things were uncertain about this epidemic, then there should be a holiday to examine its effect on the global setting! World politics is a very complex structure and at the same time it has many dynamic components. Now is an opportune time to understand its structural and functional implications to an extent.

Global order & global configuration approach

In the discipline of International Relations, the World System Approach and the World Order method are used to explain the relations between countries at different times. To categorize countries on the basis of their behavior and ability in a particular period is a global order approach, such as calling the world a bipolar system at the height of the winter - in which countries of the world were affiliated with either the American bloc or the Soviet bloc. Like even before Covid-19, the world was slowly moving towards multipolarity. The global configuration shows how the countries of the world are in the power structure at a particular time, how they are in discharging their mutual relations. In the context of Covid-19, we have to see whether this pandemic has changed the pre-established global configuration and the global order in its wide impact or has a decisive effect on it?

No radical change

It is now clear that there is not going to be any radical change in world politics which is completely new. Some trends which were already existing in world politics have emerged. Some of the vulnerabilities of the global order were already noticed, they are now manifested with greater impact. A country that was very powerful suddenly became weak, a middle nation suddenly came in the line of powerful nations - this has not happened even after the arrival of Covid-19. It is necessary that after the arrival of this disaster, some new methods have been adopted in world politics and there seems to be a consensus on some global understanding. At the same time, some effects are quite obvious which cannot be denied.

Impact on the global economy

The most severe impact Covid-19 has had on the world economy. Almost all the major economies of the world were not in a very encouraging position even just before the Covid-19 and economic protectionism was slowly making its way into all the major economies, starting with the US. Covid-19 anyway closed the border and all the countries started getting busy with their national priorities. Earlier, where the trend of de-globalization was making a dent in the world, the pandemic made it inevitable. But in normal days, the policy of economic protectionism can provide nourishment to the national economy, but in times of disaster, it worsened the situation of poverty, inequality and unemployment even more. The way Covid-19 has exposed the infrastructure of developed countries, questions have also been raised on their economic and diplomatic credibility. It is noteworthy that the preamble of many diplomatic relations rests on economic initiatives.

The rise of a fiery china but a headless world

It was clear that China's economic-strategic preparation was to become a major global power. Whether it is the US-China trade war, whether it is its Obor policy or it has been growing close to countries like Russia, North-Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, etc., and then its activity in almost all areas of the world, economic investment and Diplomatic initiatives were also pointing in this direction. The world saw China getting entangled with Covid-19 but did not see it faltering or falling. Soon after recovering, China suddenly became very aggressive. Border disputes with India, deteriorating relations with the European Union, conflicts with the US, further tightening in Hong Kong, even some squabbles with Russia. As if before the time, China has understood that it is the main power of the world. There has been a slight softening in China's aggressive stance now. America is the world's foremost power even in the era of covid-19, otherwise the global configuration would have been deteriorating relative to China. In this time of disaster, however, America could not lead and China's global stance did not show the same.

Questions on global institutions and multilateralism

It was observed that global institutions failed to deliver as expected with COVID-19 as well. But their credibility has also been questioned. The functioning of the World Health Organization has been in great doubt. The countries of the world kept trying according to their national capabilities and global institutions could not play their role, at least in the beginning. The multilateralism that was advocated by all countries just before Covid-19, it was seen that countries gave preference to many bilateral level relations instead. It is going to take a long time to regain confidence in multilateralism. Multilateralism is important because it is a natural development in the continuum of a liberal global order. Global partnerships are vital to the health of the global economy, but the climate for this is not yet consolidating. At the same time, it was also seen that many democracies resorted to disaster and either imposed new controls on the citizens or imposed many restrictions. While doing so, national security and health were cited. Its effects will certainly be evident in the times to come.

It is now clear to the countries of the world that the solution to global problems lies in global partnerships. The way India has helped the countries of the world in this disaster, its diplomatic credibility has increased. India's reaffirmation of its multipolar resolve in its foreign policy is commendable. However, as the crisis is deepening once again, it is only possible that the fulfillment of national needs will be the priority.

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Best Regards, Sriram's Team