The year 2020 is considered as a turning point by many scholars in the field of International relations, where from the start Amazon the largest biodiverse forest, saw the major bushfire of its history. In addition to this, the whole world was also at the brink of another world war, WWIII. Nobody would have ever thought that 2020 would bring so much with it that will bound every major economy and states with top security to take measures to counter an unknown enemy. Few months ago, there were different news headlines in the newspapers of different areas but in the ongoing unprecedented pandemic, all the televisions and newspapers are following the common headlines related to coronavirus.
The first case of the novel coronavirus was identified in Wuhan, capital of the Hubei province of China and then it penetrated almost every state of this planet, proliferated beyond borders without any discrimination. The virus is spreading so speedily that it has become a major threat to human population in recent times. This global pandemic has inflicted heavy losses in both developing and developed states regardless of nationality, ethnicity, political status and social standing, as evidenced by a number of celebrities and leading political figures having contracted the virus.
Despite of having the most advanced and latest scientific technologies, all the major powers of the world have failed to achieve this milestone. The COVID-19 pandemic, termed as a “nuclear war in slow motion”, has exposed the global leadership crisis and the vulnerability of the international community to deal with the new and unforeseen hazards. The most concerning issue is how the third world countries will manage the peak of their corona cases, because even the most advanced health care systems, such as Italy’s, have not been able to manage. This has raised questions on the fragility of the international security that is quite ill equipped to deal with the new breed of viruses and climatic changes that pose an existential challenge to humanity.
The pandemic situation has caused every educational institution in almost majority of the world to close, industries have been shut down worldwide, and offices have started a work from home policy. Summarizing up, life has been halted at the hands of a virus that is not even visible to the naked eyes.
No one has any idea about how long it will take for the international community to recover from the effects of this current pandemic situation and how it will affect the changing dynamics of the world order.
Back in history, the post-World War II witnessed the transformation of global governance structure with new institutions and security alliances shaping the world order. And after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, China emerged as another leading power of the world. The US considers China as its potential military and economic rival that is why instead of taking steps for enhancing cooperation with China , US is accusing China for triggering the global health crisis. In fact, the trump administration calls it as ‘Wuhan virus’ or Chinese virus’. Though being the super military and economic power, the US had proved unsuccessful to predict and pre-empt the crisis despite sufficient early warning. The US’ failure to support its European allies and NATO partners during their worst crisis is likely to raise questions on the credibility of US security guarantees against the “less likely” military threats.
Contrary to this, China on the other hand, has not only pushed themselves out of this pandemic situation but has also taken the step of assisting the rest of the world. China is pursuing medical diplomacy in this regard and providing other states the required equipment along with specialized doctors and nurses.
The US accuses China for triggering the crisis. However, most of the states have shown no interest in this blame game and remained appreciative of Chinese assistance. As the US possesses the largest size of the economy and maintains an influential role in global politics, it has the status of being the ‘super power’ of the world. This current status is expected to be change in near future if in context of dealing with this pandemic situation all the Asian powers join hands for developing a regional mechanism to deal with future security challenges, besides transforming their relations it will surely accelerate the onset of the Asian Century which would be led by China.
The ongoing terrifying situation has generated an interesting debate among the scholars of the IR about the future of globalization. There are predictions that it may reverse the process that had made the world interdependent. This aspect emerged due to heavy financial losses faced by many global business and multinational companies and which may take several years to recover. Also, from another perspective, the pandemic has introduced many innovative measures to enhance connectivity. Online systems have been adopted by most of the educational and business institutions, many organizations have adopted the policy of ‘work from home’ following the current situation. If this continues for a prolong time, the possibilities are there that the world will face a changed way of doing business and the phenomenon of social distancing would become common in a world that was once interdependent.
*The writer is a student of Bachelors in Defense and Diplomatic Studies in Fatimah Jinnah Women University. Her area of interest is development and strategic studies. She can be reached at [email protected].