World order and COVID-19
BY: Mehraj Bhat
One of the best events in the world history and the last century itself occurred when world stepped up its endeavors for peace and pushed for economic integration of the world. The endeavors bore fruits when we successfully established United Nations Organization (UNO), a peace making and peace building enterprise to prevent the world from the scourge of war. Simultaneously the onslaught of cold war eclipsed the efforts for peace and drove world crazy for the ideological reasons into mad race of global order politics. Nonetheless UNO kept itself occupied with using its good offices for rationalizing the human passion for doing away with the wars and helping world community bridge its differences under the umbrella of liberalism and socialism or blend of both. Apart from the very nature of cold war that led the superpowers showcase their abilities and capabilities to maneuver and swell their alliances and keep each other in constant check, it also led the world realise the potential of a nuclear holocaust as the race for armament reached next levels.
Drawing lessons from history the superpowers at times realised the potential risks involved in a nuclear outbreak, they reached to each other and that led to initiatives towards disarmament in principle at least. Alongside, the world witnessed the rapid urbanisation and rapid technological innovations brought about by scientific urge to reckon with the human civilization’s growing needs but with scarce resources. It all happened under the very nose of liberalism that promoted for open markets and flexible trade regimes, and also dissecting itself from classical liberalism thereby accepting the socialist principles of welfare state by capping itself with constant government interventions to showcase its global efforts for a world driven by economics than the politics of it. The other side, socialism for many reasons couldn’t match with growing impact of its ideological counterpart and its inherent tendency of closed politics and controlled economic model. This gradual but mounting crack kept on developing and in late nineties ended with a razor edged farewell of USSR, by its failure to keep its guard up with the radical reforms of Gorbachev, hence leaving the world to celebrate the triumph of liberal politics and liberal economics represented by US global order.
Cold war may have been a reason for USSR to disintegrate but it helped other nations make up and restructure their ruptured economies due to World War 2. The triumph of capitalism and liberalism coincided with rise of many important powers, though not as robust or as assertive like the US but nevertheless kept world wide open to integrate and globalization flirting with new arenas. It was globalization that took away the gains out of liberalism and open markets and started asserting itself more than anything over the horizons of global politics and economics. There is perhaps everything that was touched upon by this globalization process and it very soon became a reality and an acceptable principle and norm. It unveiled many conventional strongholds of ideologies and principles that drew economies and thereby put itself in the driver’s seat to navigate post cold war global order.
At this point of time ,when world isn’t anymore in a position to return back to good old days of ideological divides ,it only attempts to help the very globalization go its way . Now that globalization has a swathe of territory under its control, it is an established reality to reckon with and partner with. Came 2008 came with it the global economic slowdown and a cascading effect due to more globalised networks that helped it trickle down fast and impact economies of the globe in a big way. We saw banking systems crashing and world stock markets going historical ebb lows, again few states survived due to their already preparedness for any slowdown. But that didn’t capped globalization as a project and process to stop shaping world order and world economies in particular, but with a note of caution.
The world as of now is more globalised and more vibrant in its manifestations to integrate and no state can disengage from the impact and interaction of it with that fundamental bottom-line of globalisation. But they say everything has its pitfalls despite its glamorous passage to the new heights, so has globalization been accused to run down cultures of indigenous communities and a rising gap between rich and poor, when resource scarce earth can’t handle it beyond a breaking point and environment already showing signs of massive changes. It is safe to assume that world has reached a point to put a checkmate on happenings that be, because the North-South dichotomy of extreme levels signal to relook the dividends of globalisation from a standpoint of humanitarian posture. All we have is a world of people and we can’t afford the loss of it, the ecological perspectives to globalization, the gender issues, the cyber crimes and cyber warfare necessitates a course correction that too on immediate basis. The rise of China as a counter force to USA, the exit of Britain from the European Union, India-pacific hotspot of new Geo-politics and withdrawal of USA from the conflicts of ethnic origins and global terrorism also suggest some checks and revaluation of things.
The sudden outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) that has left the whole world into a deep existential threat makes a case for de-globalisation when China and USA are accused of a biological warfare, and Some other theories suggest a new world order is on the eve, we hope that post this pandemic, the time for globalization or old world order is getting tough, and questions are many like that of world healthcare, this global pandemic and China’s role as world leader with its record of domestic political setting are all things that we look forward to see.
Even if pax Sinica is going to be a reality in post pandemic world, it will be an interesting discourse to engage with, given its role as power that has strings attached to its closed polity, a vibrant economy, a censored public opinion and an irresponsible actor. It has to replace old global order and especially USA in its strongholds like a democratic polity, a booming economy and an unparalleled military hardware. And US track record as a democratic and institutional reality to reckon with, times will tell how both powers lock horns and resolve their trade wars, 5G spectrum, and importantly how is India going to see through it when the new narrative to hold China responsible for its irresponsible role in the spread of COVID-19.
The author is a blogger and student of International Politics. He can be reached at [email protected]