Nuclear bombs and weapons that threaten the world are now lying in the bunkers of the powerful not able to destroy the minuscule organism. This is a paradox: A virus is challenging the leaders of the now current and useless bellicose technology. Not even the pandemic has achieved ceasing the military expenses of many powerful nations.
Donald Trump has disdained the presence of the virus and with his denial he has single-handedly helped expand the virus across the United States. Something similar occurred to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who did not follow the suggestions of experts and ended up in the hospital for three weeks. With more than 40,000 deaths, The UK is second in the number of deaths due to COVID-19; and China has now declared the pandemic as controlled, despite a new outbreak of the virus.
Being a world issue, many theories or international analysts have not been able to explain what is occurring or what is coming. The literary and cinema omens fell short and only the classics such as German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe says: “All theory, is gray, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.”
The lesson of this pandemic is untold: This is the first pandemic where all the governments of the world are aware of the overwhelming chaos of long-built supports that impact every state is part of the problem or victim.
We are living in hard times, never did the world, despite wars, catastrophes, and crises had seen their production systems halt, close cities, and borders and congresses and stay home. This is total hibernation without a clue on how we are going to come out of this.
The United States has the greatest number of deaths for the virus that occurred in Vietnam, Pearl Harbor, and the World Trade Center Towers combined; being the elderly and the impoverished the most impacted in the US and the world.
The only clear thing, besides the prevailing panic, is the fragility of a world built on wars, nuclear weapons, and million-dollar checkbooks of a few versus the other two –thirds of humanity in poverty and hunger.
“We only know we will be poorer, more in debt and more fearful,” said Adam Tooze, a historian at Columbia University, who also said that under these radical uncertainty conditions social and political earthquakes are more plausible.
The dominating theory for decades is that globalization would be successful on Earth. In the 90s, with the fall of Russian communism, perhaps there was economic, technological, and financial globalization to some degree, but human beings, institutions, nor ideas were not included in the mix.
The financial crisis of 2008 tore down the belief that the western world liberal democracy and free-market capitalism would prevail. This wasn’t true as China and Russia came forward surpassing the multilateral supremacy of the United States, which could not hold on to its hegemony.
Many right-wing countries of America and Europe did not act on time and preferred the neoliberal vision of not containing the pandemic to favor the economy, ignoring testing and lockdown for saving lives.
In March Germany banned the export of medical protection equipment to the rest of the European Union (EU) and Italy received help from Cuban physicians. The export bans of the EU were quoted by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić in a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping, requesting help: “the ban has come from the same people that lectured us not to buy Chinese goods.”
If Trump preserves his power or not, the situation of the United States is showing its descent. What is falling apart rapidly is not only the hyper-globalization but the world order imposed after the Second World War. The virus has broken the imaginary balance and sped up the disintegration process,” claimed British politician John Gray.
The implication of the virus to world governance has been impacting and is expressed in three directions:
Only a virus was necessary to return to a world of states, not plural institutions in a globalized world. The pandemic led us to a Hobbesian situation of “every man for himself”!
The “trade war” between the United States and China has again reignited with the coronavirus crisis. This is just another strategy of the US to stop the advancement of the economic power of China and its influence over the world. Both countries agreed in January past to implement Phase I to stop the trade war. This “trade armistice” was not an agreement to solve the existing differences.
The underlying issue has never been said openly by the US which wants to compel China to change its economic and political model based on the supremacy of the state sector, regulating private capital and market controlled planning.
The target of sanctions has been the Chinese company Huawei, which has 34% of the patents of the world for the 5G system, essential for developing this connectivity in large countries. However, the news agency Reuters claims the Senate is currently discussing the conditions for an agreement with Huawei.
Analysts were mistaken were they said that the free market would open the doors to democracy and secure the United States to directly meddle in the internal affairs of China. On the contrary, China will maintain its socialist model, but now the trade deficit; which will keep them in a face-off situation.
The trade truce which led to thinking of a pause until the November elections faded away. Besides the economic, technological, diplomatic, military, and strategic crisis, this spiral has reinforced the threat of the United States of forcefully claiming indemnification for the “Chinese virus.”
Without a doubt, Trump –besieged by the lethality of the crisis and the eminence of the elections– will continue to bash China, as it is his manner of obtaining image and votes, blaming it of all the former and coming maladies. But China does not have its hands tied. The Irish Times, political commentator Fintan O’Toole, claims that “the world has loved, hated and envied the US. Now, for the first time, we pity it.”
China proceeded firmly when it understood the magnitude of the tragedy and established strict contention policies imposing a lockdown of 42 million people in the Province of Hubei, Central China. It exchanged information with the rest of the world and with the World Health Organization, helping others to prepare for the virus. This was extremely helpful and allowed South Korea, Taiwan, and Eastern Asia to face the contagion with success. Collective mentalities, good governmental practices and the battle against the pandemic as a state priority was the strategy to control the virus.
Today, world geopolitics as the economy is in the hands of these two players. The world is looking to what the future may bring looking toward the Pacific, while the United States and China are at a stare-off. China, however, will come out fortified of this crisis.
After centuries of demonizing China, it is predictable that the United States and the West will not accept or adapt to the reality of seeing it as a world and powerful actor. Since 2013, China has a world policy knows the “New Silk Route” and since it announced its “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),” where 136 countries and 30 international organizations have signed cooperation documents with them. Trump has vetoed the initiative, followed by Japan and Colombia.
For China, multilateralism is the solution to global issues and its main goal is to build a shared community that hopes to materialize with its BRI. Besides China has assumed the leadership to battle the pandemic and this bothers the west. It has been showing global responsibility and solidarity. This policy has raised distrustful speeches from those that have not faced the pandemic responsibly.
Many criticisms may come to China; they have issues in treating several ethnic groups, discrepancies in face of the citizen rights, difficulties in reunifying the country. We also have to acknowledge that the Chinese government has faced with success the challenges of the virus.
This crisis will show a list of countries, not exactly democratic or dictatorial, that have had successful policies against the pandemic.
Consejo Editorial: Fredy Chaparro Sanabria Director Unimedios, Nelly Mendivelso Rodríguez Oficina de Prensa, Liseth Sayago Cortes Oficina de Realización Audiovisual, Carlos Raigoso Camelo, Oficina de Producción Radiofónica, Ramiro Chacón Martinez Oficina de Proyectos Estratégicos.
Editora: Liliana Matos
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