Countries will start looking inward and isolationism is likely to be a driver for both economic and foreign policy.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases have passed the 2.5 million mark throughout the world, and the death toll stands at over 170,000. The US has become the epicentre of the pandemic, with its death toll pushing past 40,000.
The world after Covid-19 is heading somewhere completely different. It seems inevitable that we will see radical changes in several spheres, such as territorial nation-states, globalisation, the global economic order, diplomatic and military relations, national interests, and social life.
The differences between poor and rich countries, the criteria for being considered developed and under-developed, and even domestic policies and political systems will change this pandemic.
In my opinion, the coronavirus pandemic will have a massive impact on globalisation and “from now on, countries will follow a more sovereign policy where they meet their own needs through domestic production. This will change China’s approach that they will ‘supply everyone.’ ”
Nation-states will become much more isolationist, developing economic policies to meet their own needs.
US President Donald Trump addressed voters with his beliefs on “economic nationalism” during his election campaign and began to deliver on these promises after being elected.
Prioritising domestic production, creating employment opportunities by reopening closed factories, offering packages to encourage US companies to invest domestically instead of in foreign countries, and following a protectionist economic policy as a measure against unfair competition were all actions in a retreat from globalisation.
When President Trump was inaugurated, following his statement, “we should not buy everything from China, we should move our production to America” he withdrew the country from the Transatlantic Trade Partnership, which was comprised of twelve countries, and announced the unilateral withdrawal from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, negotiations on which were continuing with the European Union.
Standing out with his protectionist attitude and nationalist behaviour on trade, what President Trump said at the United Nations last year was conspicuous.
“The free world needs to re-embrace national foundations. We should not try to erase national foundations or replace them with other things. The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots,” Trump said.
That is, President Trump called for the rejection of globalisation and the rise of nationalism.
Everyone has seen clearly that each country needs to stand on its own two feet due to reasons such as the coronavirus pandemic, the desperate situation in which Spain and Italy find themselves, the problems in the healthcare system and with medical supplies in the US, and the fact that the World Health Organization has proved to be just a symbolic institution.
So, here is what the new world order may bring:
- The future of the EU will be up for debate, more than it already is today. Some EU members have been left to fight against this pandemic on their own
- China’s position as a centre of trade attraction will be open to debate
- There will be large-scale changes economically and, as a result, an economic crisis will affect the whole world
- There will be fundamental changes in the fields of education and healthcare
- There will be an even further increase in the impact of the digital environment
- There will be a new culture of a more inward-looking social life and social distancing
- A situation where the policies of President Trump and his discourses on nationalism in the US will intensify and more pressure will be put on international organisations by the US
While Stephen M. Walt from Harvard University said, “Countries will become stronger, nationalism will be reinforced,” another Harvard University Academician Professor Joseph Nye recently declared, “From now on, every country will work for its own interests. The hard part is to define what those interests are.”
In summary, the global effects of the coronavirus show that the post-coronavirus world order will not be the same. We are entering a period when the phenomenon of globalisation has, in a way, collapsed; even the most democratic countries have closed their borders, and cautious, introverted nationalism has come to the fore once again.
In particular, each state will learn to stand on its own two feet on the matter of healthcare.
Yes, the coronavirus has started to make a profound impact on individuals, communities, and countries.
What matters the most is that leaders who reach information first, manage it transparently, and invest in people instead of maintaining narrow policies, will be the winners.