As regions across the United States enforce states of emergency and a growing list of countries restrict travel, close schools, and quarantine citizens, the economic and human costs of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continue to mount. With no clear end in sight to the crisis, America's national security and public health institutions face a daunting challenge.
CNAS experts sharpen the focus on America's coronavirus response. Continue reading the first edition of the Sharper series to explore their analysis regarding how the United States can improve local resilience, advocate for improvements in the global public health infrastructure, and best utilize every tool at its disposal to respond to the outbreak.
Experts from across the Center have offered timely analysis on the U.S. response to the global spread of the coronavirus.
- CNAS CEO Richard Fontaine warned in The Atlantic, "So far, Beijing has squandered the opportunity in dramatic fashion."
- In an article for Foreign Policy, experts Martijn Rasser and Kristine Lee observed that "China is now using the Health Silk Road and its mask diplomacy playbook to increase its leverage over developing countries in the throes of the pandemic."
- CNAS CEO Richard Fontaine argued in The Atlantic that "we need an Atlantic Charter for the pandemic. And as FDR and Churchill demonstrated, the time to think and plan is not at the end of a crisis, but as it unfolds."
- Kristine Lee, an Associate Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Security Program, warned in POLITICO Magazine that "Beijing’s leverage over the WHO cannot be understood independently of a much longer and broader campaign, one that aims to bend the arc of global governance toward a more illiberal orientation that privileges the interests of authoritarian actors."
- CNAS Defense Program Director Susanna V. Blume wrote in Defense One that the Department of Defense "needs to ensure that it can weather shocks like COVID-19 by enabling service members and civilians who can do their jobs remotely to do so."
- CNAS CEO Richard Fontaine warned in Foreign Policy that "where the need to fight the coronavirus might once have brought the United States and China closer together, today it is driving them further apart."
- Ilan Goldenberg, Director of the CNAS Middle East Security Program, argued in a piece for The Washington Post, "Today’s crisis will inevitably force a reassessment. But we should not overreact to the coronavirus crisis nor allow it to be used as an opportunity for ideologues to pursue a narrow agenda."
- CNAS Co-Founder Michèle A. Flournoy and Lisa O. Monaco observed in POLITICO Magazine that "how the U.S. manages—or mismanages—the coronavirus pandemic will determine not only the long-term resilience of our economy but also our ability to compete, lead and protect American interests globally."
- Kurt Campbell, Chairman of the CNAS Board of Directors, and Rush Doshi, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security, wrote in Foreign Affairs that, while the U.S. falters in its initial response to the coronavirus crisis, China is attempting to reshape itself as an international leader.
- Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow Carrie Cordero and Joshua A. Geltzer argued in The Washington Post that Americans must adjust to the new challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak. "At a pivotal moment for slowing the spread of coronavirus on U.S. soil," they wrote, "Americans need to learn a new kind of resilience that’s the opposite of what they’ve spent 20 years cultivating — and fast."
- In an article for The Hill, Kayla M. Williams, Director of the CNAS Military, Veterans, and Society Program, argued that the coronavirus outbreak "drives home the need to maintain a strong system of VA medical facilities nationwide."
- Martijn Rasser, Senior Fellow in the CNAS Technology and National Security Program, wrote in The National Interest how the coronavirus crisis has exposed fragility in global supply chain network, especially for essential items like pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, which has profound consequences for U.S. national security.
- Experts Kristine Lee and Ashley Feng warned in The Hill about China's efforts to erode critical global public health institutions. "After its early mismanagement of the outbreak," they wrote, "China is brazenly leveraging what is now a global crisis to advance its narrow aims."
- In an article for Task and Purpose, Military, Veterans, and Society research associate Emma Moore expressed concern that the U.S. military's reserve components have "fallen between the cracks" in the U.S. response to the outbreak.
- CNAS CEO Richard Fontaine and Gary Edson argued in The National Interest that G20 leaders "should adopt a broad agenda consistent with a wartime footing, and the G7 should follow with closer cooperation and greater specificity."
- In an article for Business Insider, authors Megan Lamberth and Chris Estep called for members of the public to respond to the coronavirus outbreak with "an attitude of 'digital citizenship,' treating online communications with the same level of scrutiny as in-person interactions."
- In a new CNAS commentary, Sam Dorshimer and Ashley Feng shared top takeaways from a March 19 discussion on Twitter featuring experts from the CNAS Energy, Economics, and Security Program.
China is increasingly using its economic, political, and institutional power to change the global governance system from within. In a May 2019 report, experts Kristine Lee and Alexander Sullivan investigated China’s approach to seven organs and functions of the United Nations (U.N.). Their report raised additional concerns about Chinese-led efforts to exclude Taiwan from the World Health Organization (WHO). Their examination yielded several critical insights into Beijing’s emerging strategy, which seeks to advance China’s interests in the context of international organizations.
In January 2020, experts from across the Center offered nearly 100 specific, actionable policy recommendations for renewing American competitiveness, including increases in federal R&D spending to 1.2 percent of America's gross domestic product (GDP). Existing organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive this increased funding, which would match levels reached by the United States in the 1970s.
In the News
Featuring commentary and analysis by Kristine Lee, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Ilan Goldenberg, Richard Fontaine, Ely Ratner, Daniel Kliman, Peter Harrell, John Hughes, Ashley Feng, Megan Lamberth, and Rachel Ziemba.
Across the Center
American policymakers are rightly focused on the urgent public health and economic crises associated with the coronavirus. Yet its reverberations are likely to affect nearly every aspect of international politics long after the immediate crisis has ebbed. On April 15, 2020, CNAS announced the launch of a major initiative on America and the Post-Pandemic World, which will leverage the Center's unique multidisciplinary approach by fusing deep research, scenario-planning workshops, and tabletop exercises.
About the Sharper Series
The CNAS Sharper series features curated analysis and commentary from CNAS experts on the most critical challenges in U.S. foreign policy. From the future of America's relationship with China to the state of U.S. sanctions policy and more, each collection draws on the reports, interviews, and other commentaries produced by experts across the Center to explore how America can strengthen its competitive edge.
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