Major wars are turning the world upside down, and international crises are creating enormous changes. Now we are in the middle of a new dramatic event: What can we expect after the corona pandemic?
- What characterized the world when the pandemic broke out?
- How have previous crises changed the world?
- Which trends are strengthened?
- And what trends are weakening?
We have observed it for a long time: trade wars, economic sanctions, international norms, institutions and agreements that weaken or fall apart, according to ITYPEAUTO, the rivalry between China and the United States that hardens and a low level of interest in solving problems in the international community.
It was such a world we were in when the pandemic hit us. It’s not over. There is still a lot we do not know about the virus and about the prospects for better medicines and vaccines. It can flare up again, mutate and become prolonged. Therefore, it is also difficult to assess the economic, social and political effects of the pandemic. The predictions differ so it lasts. But we know that crises tend to amplify already existing trends, especially those crises that hit hard.
2: The world is changing
Great wars change the world so much that you are left with blank sheets when they are over.
After the First World War (1914-1918), the map of Europe was completely changed. Three empires came to an end (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia), the Ottoman Empire was dissolved, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia came into being, and a number of smaller states were formed (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia). The losers were subject to harsh conditions dictated by the victors.
World War II (1939-1945) also meant a global change of scene, but now the losers, Germany, Japan and their allies, were helped back on their feet.
And when the Cold War ended, the Soviet Union was dissolved and East and West Germany were united, the disagreements were shaken off and restarted. That is why a post-war period is often called a “time of opportunity” – for better or worse.
After the First World War, it hurt. There is a line from the conclusion of peace to German revengeism and World War II.
After World War II for good, with the creation of the United Nations (UN) and the building of a rule-governed world with international institutions to manage and improve the regulations.
For good even after the end of the Cold War. Then the opportunity was used to cooperate with Russia as well. For the first time since the Cold War began, the UN Security Council functioned as it should. The permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom – managed to work together, and democratic values and governance were strengthened worldwide.
3: The corona crisis
As is well known, the corona crisis caused a major setback for the world economy, and the crisis has major consequences for national and international politics. But although the pandemic is dramatic for many countries and affects virtually everyone on the planet, it differs from other major global crises, such as the First and Second World Wars. This time, empires do not fall, and large and small states neither disappear nor are merged into new ones. The death toll is also modest compared to the world wars, at least so far: Hundreds of thousands against tens of millions.
It is more natural to compare it with the landmark economic crises, primarily the Great Depression around 1930 and the financial crisis in 2008.
The Great Depression of the 1930s fueled nationalism and fascism, which had its roots in the conclusion of the peace in 1918. The financial crisis in 2008 strengthened a growing protest against globalization . Populist currents had begun to challenge responsible authorities, and the crisis led to a change of leadership in many countries.
The corona crisis will probably follow the same pattern. It hits with greater force than the financial crisis and will most likely continue and strengthen already existing trends.
The epidemic will certainly have long-term consequences. To understand what it can lead to, we must start from how it is handled today.
4: How is the crisis handled?
Many major problems require global solutions. A dangerous virus that is spreading rapidly across the globe can be said to be the very definition of a global challenge.
As long as people are infected somewhere, it is a smoldering threat to anyone and everyone. Therefore, it is in everyone’s interest to fight it where it flares up.
But the capacity to solve global challenges is weakened, for the world is bursting at the seams with rivalry between the great powers .
Across the globe, it is largely the states that have handled the crisis.
Three factors have been decisive for how well they have coped with it: financial strength, decision-making power and trust in the governing authorities.
The first is not quite as obvious as many people think. For example: Vietnam, with a modest economy, but with significant implementation power and above-average health care, has had success, while in the United States and the United Kingdom things are going badly, despite the wealth.
The other two factors, decision-making and trust, are closely linked. Trust between those in power and those in power is a key factor. In Hong Kong, people had little confidence in the authorities when the virus came (since then it has gotten worse), and the city therefore struggled with the effectiveness of the measures. In Iran as well: Many ignored the order to stay at home.