The world before coronavirus is different than the world after coronavirus, just as this disease has shattered lives, disrupted markets and exposed the competence of governments, it will lead to permanent shifts in political and economic power in ways that will become apparent only later.
Foreign Policy asked 12 leading thinkers from around the world to weigh in with their predictions for the global order after the pandemic.
Stephen M. Walt says: “COVID-19 will create a world that is less open, less prosperous, and less free. It did not have to be this way, but the combination of a deadly virus, inadequate planning, and incompetent leadership has placed humanity on a new and worrisome path.”
Robin Niblett says: ‘The coronavirus pandemic could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back of economic globalization.”
Kishore Mahbubani says: “The COVID-19 pandemic will not fundamentally alter global economic directions. It will only accelerate a change that had already begun: a move away from U.S.-centric globalization to a more China-centric globalization.”
G. John Ikenberry says:” the United States and other Western democracies might travel through this same sequence of reactions driven by a cascading sense of vulnerability; the response might be more nationalist at first, but over the longer term, the democracies will come out of their shells to find a new type of pragmatic and protective internationalism.”
Shannon K. O’Neil says:” COVID-19 is undermining the basic tenets of global manufacturing. Companies will now rethink and shrink the multistep, multicountry supply chains that dominate production today.”
Shivshankar Menon says:” coronavirus pandemic will change our politics, both within states and between them. It is to the power of government that societies—even libertarians—have turned.”
Joseph S. Nye, Jr. says:” Even if the United States prevails as a great power, it cannot protect its security by acting alone.”
John Allen says:” As it has always been, history will be written by the “victors” of the COVID-19 crisis. Every nation, and increasingly every individual, is experiencing the societal strain of this disease in new and powerful ways. Inevitably, those nations that persevere—both by virtue of their unique political and economic systems, as well as from a public health perspective—will claim success over those who experience a different, more devastating outcome.
Laurie Garrett says:” The coronavirus pandemic will therefore not only have long-lasting economic effects, but lead to a more fundamental change.”
Richard N. Haass says:” Many countries will have difficulty recovering, with state weakness and failed states becoming even more prevalent.”
Kori Schake says:” The United States will no longer be seen as an international leader because of its government’s narrow self-interest and bungling incompetence.”
Nicholas Burns says:” The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest global crisis of this century. Its depth and scale are enormous. The public health crisis threatens each of the 7.8 billion people on Earth. The financial and economic crisis could exceed in its impact the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Each crisis alone could provide a seismic shock that permanently changes the international system and balance of power as we know it.”