March 18, 2020

The Coronavirus Could Reshape Global Order

By Kurt Campbell and ​Rush Doshi

With hundreds of millions of people now isolating themselves around the world, the novel coronavirus pandemic has become a truly global event. And while its geopolitical implications should be considered secondary to matters of health and safety, those implications may, in the long term, prove just as consequential—especially when it comes to the United States’ global position. Global orders have a tendency to change gradually at first and then all at once. In 1956, a botched intervention in the Suez laid bare the decay in British power and marked the end of the United Kingdom’s reign as a global power. Today, U.S. policymakers should recognize that if the United States does not rise to meet the moment, the coronavirus pandemic could mark another “Suez moment.”

It is now clear to all but the most blinkered partisans that Washington has botched its initial response. Missteps by key institutions, from the White House and the Department of Homeland Security to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have undermined confidence in the capacity and competence of U.S. governance. Public statements by President Donald Trump, whether Oval Office addresses or early-morning tweets, have largely served to sow confusion and spread uncertainty. Both public and private sectors have proved ill-prepared to produce and distribute the tools necessary for testing and response. And internationally, the pandemic has amplified Trump’s instincts to go it alone and exposed just how unprepared Washington is to lead a global response.

Read the full article in Foreign Affairs.

  • Commentary
    • The Washington Post
    • March 17, 2020
    We learned resilience after 9/11. But it’s the wrong kind for combatting a virus.

    Ever since the attacks of 9/11 shocked the nation, Americans have been urged by political leaders to learn resilience in the face of terrorism. That’s been critical to improvi...

    By Joshua A. Geltzer & Carrie Cordero

  • Commentary
    • The Hill
    • March 12, 2020
    How China set forth the global coronavirus crisis into motion

    As the shroud of crisis began to lift at the center of the coronavirus epidemic in China, Beijing launched a campaign to project an image of global leadership while the United...

    By Kristine Lee & Ashley Feng

  • Commentary
    • EUobserver
    • May 29, 2020
    China's post-Covid 19 'techno-nationalist' industrial policy

    While Covid-19 brings China one step closer to technology-perfected authoritarianism through improvised health apps and real-time surveillance, Europe is busy looking inward. ...

    By Rebecca Arcesati & Martijn Rasser

  • Podcast
    • May 29, 2020
    Hong Kong Crisis

    China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong to deter and punish what it calls “acts of secession or subversion.” Daniel Kliman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Asia-P...

    By Daniel Kliman

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia