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Pandemic, War And Economic Sanctions: From Turbulent To Confrontational Globalization – OpEd

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The COVID-19 pandemic, the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the economic sanctions against Russia because of this war ahve followed one after the other. All of these events are global in nature and thus affected the processes of globalization.

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After two years since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible to summarize the accumulated experience of the actions of national governments and international organizations on the issue of responding to the challenges of the pandemic. The fact is that both national governments and international organizations, unfortunately, turned out to be unprepared for the start of the pandemic. Moreover, they found themselves in some confusion due to the unexpected and rapid spread of the coronavirus. The uncoordinated actions of national governments against the rapid infection of the population from the coronavirus, as well as the passivity of international organizations, contributed to the formation of an opinion about the beginning of the completion of the globalization process. It should also be remembered here that even before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, some efforts to stimulate the process of de-globalization were initiated by US President Donald Trump (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/jeffrey-sachs-global-cooperation-is-the-only-way-forward-for-the-us/). In this context of de-globalization, one can also consider the well-known Brexit.

The lockdowns imposed by many national governments have directly affected the breaks in global supply and value chains that are characteristic of isolationist processes (https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/global-cooperation-can-prevent-next-pandemic-by-kemal-dervis-and-sebasti-n-strauss-2020-03?barrier=accesspaylog).

It must be emphasized that, given the global nature of the pandemic, overcoming it on the basis of isolationism is fundamentally impossible (https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trump-coronavirus-failure-of-small-government-by-joseph-e-stiglitz-2020-03?utm_source=Project%20Syndicate%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=cba7e1c6a1-sunday_newsletter_15_03_2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_73bad5b7d8-cba7e1c6a1-93567601&mc_cid=cba7e1c6a1&mc_eid=e9fb6cbcc0). Following some simple logic, the way out of the pandemic as a global phenomenon is possible only with the maximum coordination of actions of national governments and international organizations (https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/universal-free-covid19-vaccine-by-mariana-mazzucato-and-els-torreele-2020-04?utm_source=Project%20Syndicate%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=64d8372856-sunday_newsletter_03_05_2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_73bad5b7d8-64d8372856-93567601&mc_cid=64d8372856&mc_eid=e9fb6cbcc0). Naturally, the post-pandemic development of the economy in the context of de-globalization, not to mention isolationism, is inherently impossible (https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/covid19-crisis-revive-multilateralism-open-trade-by-victor-k-fung-2020-04?utm_source=Project%20Syndicate%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=871db40e9f-sunday_newsletter_26_04_2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_73bad5b7d8-871db40e9f-93567601&mc_cid=871db40e9f&mc_eid=e9fb6cbcc0).

Consequently, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a process of pseudo rather than real de-globalization (https://www.eurasiareview.com/18102021-on-pseudo-de-globalization-silk-road-of-global-value-chains-and-role-of-georgia-oped/).

Based on the foregoing, soon after the manifestation of the process of pseudo de-globalization, the question of the onset of a new “wave” of globalization, which will raise the process of globalization to a higher and significantly improved level, arose on the agenda (https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/covid19-de-globalization-two-priorities-by-mohamed-a-el-erian-2020-05?utm_source=Project%20Syndicate%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=3ce69c95d3-sunday_newsletter_17_05_2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_73bad5b7d8-3ce69c95d3-93567601&mc_cid=3ce69c95d3&mc_eid=e9fb6cbcc0). Even in the context of the pandemic, it was clear that in the so-called renewed globalization, problems of economic, especially energy (https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/d8files/event-documents/ESCAP_77_17_E.pdf) and food security (https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/four-ways-to-boost-food-security-during-covid19-pandemic-by-tony-blair-and-agnes-kalibata-2020-05?utm_source=Project%20Syndicate%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=2ad6876daf-sunday_newsletter_10_05_2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_73bad5b7d8-2ad6876daf-93567601&mc_cid=2ad6876daf&mc_eid=e9fb6cbcc0) would take a significant place.

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In other words, pseudo de-globalization manifested itself in some kind of disorder in the process of globalization which can be qualified as turbulent globalization.

Of great importance in reducing the turbulence of globalization was the development and widespread distribution of vaccines against the coronavirus.

Formally, the WHO has not declared the end of the COVID-19 pandemic as on February 24, 2022, Russia launched a war in Ukraine. Shortly thereafter, the West imposed economic sanctions against Russia.

This war not only fundamentally changed the contours of the global economy (https://www.project-syndicate.org/onpoint/russias-war-and-the-global-economy-by-nouriel-roubini-2022-02) but provoked a change in the established world order (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/08/opinion/putin-russia-ukraine-economy-sanctions.html). This process has become even more complicated under the conditions of economic sanctions adopted against Russia as they have directly affected the global nature of the world economy (https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/economic-consequences-of-ukraine-war-by-jason-furman-2022-02). Large-scale economic sanctions (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60125659), for their part, require a rethinking of many accepted views of economic science on the functioning of the global economy in the context of these sanctions (https://www.eurasiareview.com/14032022-on-sanctionomics-oped/).

Because of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the ensuing economic sanctions against Russia, the process of transforming the architecture of the world economy has begun (https://www.eurasiareview.com/31032022-on-the-main-challenges-of-the-architecture-transformation-of-the-world-economy-oped/). A distinctive feature of this process is the relative fragmentation of the global economy into countries that adhere to the economic sanctions against Russia, countries that are allies of Russia (this is primarily Belarus) and countries that maintain some neutrality in this confrontational economic scheme (in particular, Israel, Turkey, China, India, etc.).

The confrontational nature of the modern world economy first of all manifested itself at the beginning of significant difficulties, primarily in the energy (https://theconversation.com/war-in-ukraine-is-changing-energy-geopolitics-177903) and food sectors (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/19/ukraine-war-has-stoked-global-food-crisis-that-could-last-years-says-un), which ultimately contributed to the emergence of a deficit in the global economy (https://www.eurasiareview.com/24032022-bracing-for-the-era-of-economic-shortage-analysis/). It is no coincidence that because of the shortage, first of all, of food, caused as a result of the confrontational nature of modern global processes, the so-called “Food War” is taking place (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/rising-food-prices-ukraine-russia-war/626967/). For the same reason, there is an “Oil War” (https://www.eurasiareview.com/20052022-the-oil-war-facing-eu-embargo-russia-targeted-ukraines-supplies-analysis/).

It follows from the above that against the backdrop of an unfinished pandemic, war and economic sanctions, the global economy is going through difficult times whose main feature is now confrontationlism. Questions arise about the compatibility of confrontation and globalization and whether confrontation precludes globalization.

The inferiority of economic sanctions against Russia manifests itself in two forms: a) Some EU countries continue to buy Russian energy sources simultaneously with the introduction of these sanctions against Russia (https://www.france24.com/en/business/20220405-baltic-states-end-russian-gas-imports-%E2%80%93-but-can-the-rest-of-europe-follow-suit) and b) Many countries of the world, as noted above, have not joined the sanctions against Russia.

Thus, the confrontational nature of the modern global economy does not mean the end of globalization. It would be more correct to call this process of modifying globalization with a new term – confrontational globalization.

Consequently, the turbulent globalization caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been replaced by confrontational globalization as a result of the Russian war against Ukraine and the economic sanctions against Russia.

Just as after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, globalization was expected to be updated at a new level, as mentioned above, confrontational globalization will inevitably give way to “Better Globalization” (https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/after-hyperglobalization-national-interests-open-economy-by-dani-rodrik-2022-05) whose contours will be formed in the process of completing the Ukrainian crisis (https://www.eurasiareview.com/15052022-three-months-into-the-russia-ukraine-war-four-potential-outcomes-analysis/).

Vladimer Papava

Vladimer Papava is a former Minister of Economy of the Republic of Georgia and the author of Necroeconomics, a study of post-Communist economic problems. Vladimer Papava is a Professor of Economics of the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Academician of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences, and a former Rector of the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.

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