“Great-power rivalry is not over, as major powers still fear each other and dangerous security competition lurks”. John Measheimer.
While the world grable with the sudden outbreak of new coronavirus, (Covid-19), which sprang up in Wuhan, a town in China mid-Dec 2019, due-to the countries communist style of government and cover-up operational system, the development and raising number of infection, including of transmission, was literally conceded or coded from the rest of the world, as the relative global knowledge of the emerging viral disease was almost taking for granted as a common regional conditionality or a China socio-political constructive plot and propaganda.
Within a short period of time, as the virus contamination and fatality overwhelmed the chinese medical system, and the government statecraft, itself began to react in an inward-outward protocol by engineering media projection of the concerned city of Wuhan, and its trans-regional linking cities, as the virus began to transmit/infect, from person-to-person on a close body contact ratio across internal borders and communities in china. .
Literally as the rest of the world watched, and underestimated the cross-border transmission impact of these new coronaviruses, therefore failing to put together adequate protection measures to check and control, the wave of this human destructive virus transmission is mounting in over 166 countries of the world. This new dynamic domestic generated health epidemic disserter, that was not well managed and controlled by the relevant authorities, within a reasonable time, in china, and the slow actions of WHO, has eventually resulted to a trans-national human-to-human transmission, global pandemic, leading to a global short-down of social and economic activities, in the developed and under-developed world.
With this new coronavirus pandemic crisis, emanating from a growing cosmopolitan city in China, with a huge multinational community working for key multinational corporations, with an unlimited mobility network, the mis-conception and wrong assumption by the concerned authorities, shadowing a conspiracy theory, on the originality of the virus, and the case relating to the first index patient in Wuhan, the chinese doctor whistleblower, and the delay of the chinese authority allowing external intervention, by refusing the WHO experts entry to carry out its own investigation. The impact of this Covid-19 disease as the World Health Organisation eventually classified it after the loss-end monitoring process of the infection capacity and contamination tendencies has spread beyond the chinese borders.
As a result of China‟s hidden political-economy agenda, with the high level of statecraft and conspiracy strategy, devoured external interests to detect and understand the human-to-human transmission capacity, without this accurate data and principled information, many Western countries were very slow to react to the cross-border transmission level, as a result of human-mobility tendencies, either by sea, air or land borders.
With regards to this cross-border, or transnational transmission, many of the new infected countries, experienced their first index cases, from one single or group of individuals, transiting or moving from the original virus country, or a third-party country, without any precautionary measures, or adequate protective control mechanism in place at most strategic country entry ports and transit points. Such is the cases of South-Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, United States, Italy, Spain, and UK, South Africa, and Nigeria, where most of the countries index case contamination are imports, where the infection-transmission has increased drastically to become a domestic cross-community transmission, therefore increasing the number of infected persons, and rate of fatality, as is the critical cases in Italy, Spain, the US, and Britain.
There seems to be an element of ineffective control of the international order, as the chains of globalization and multilateralism has been broken by the unfolding interface of unilateralism and great-power rivalry. Thus, with the coming of Covid-19, fear, panic and uncertainty, which in its actions has unfortunately taken both the most powerful and emerging powers unaware, as they initially underestimated the forces behind the pre-motor actions of china and the eventual spread of the „Man-created‟ virus across continents in a matter of weeks.
The body of information surrounding the originality and linkages of the virus activities in Wuhan, and its guided networks of both statecraft machineries and institutional pipeline that aided the initial cover-ups and conspiracy, has in-fact triggered a re-think on the greater values of multilateral relations, inter-states corporations and inter-dependency strategies for a sustainable globalization systems.
Considering the facts, the emergency of Covid-19 once again has proven the ineffectiveness of multilateral corporations and mutual interdependence, having
seen how both the UN, WHO, EU and other non-state actors indeed reacted to the coronavirus pandemic. The institutionalised global agencies, have been weak, and slowly effective in mobilising a global solution to a global crisis, rather the real ball has been left in the hand of the most powerful nations to unilaterally define its nationalistic solutions, thus adapting the chinese state controlled strategy, of creating fear, panic and order, by subjecting citizens socio-economic rights to state-contol, that would be of a greater reflection to the rest of the world, so the likes US, Britain, France, italy and Germany are independently applying various methods and processes to find a medium and long term solution.
Now the world may beginning to gear up to the very reality that with post-Covid-19, globalization and isolationism would re-emerge as a literary and intellectual discourse in the weeks and months ahead, as the idea and deep understanding of an unchecked socio-economic disaster at one-end of the global spectrum, can eventually lead to a huge intercontinental phonnimon, such as is been experienced now with the health pandemic. The costly impact could be a deep notion of withdrawal tendencies of powerful countries from multilateral treaties or relationships, reduced commitments to multilateral organizations, such as the UN, and its agencies.
The purpose of this article is to try re-awoken the debate between the globalist drivers, and the anti-globalist agitators, by re-emphasising the contending impacts of a positive and negative consequences of a mis-managed or an underestimated trend of a global network of transmissible virus either by human or cyber system.
The on-going studies about the sudden and unanticipated global outbreak of coronavirus, now opens up the question, about the fragile conditionality of globalization as positive trends and its systemic inter-connectivity and dependency theory, driving the world as a global community. Assuming the present pandemic challenges the postulated views of globalists, who are pursuing a liberal “One World” order, where the economic and foreign policies should be planned in an international way, rather than according to what is best for one particular country.
But, then the challenge has been coming through, for a while now even with assumption of office by President Donald Trump, during his campaigns and
assuming office as the president, he has been voicing the phrase which has become common trend in the US, “America is winning again, America is respected again, because we are putting America first”, he then went on to define globalist, “As persons that wants the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country so much”. One can see the nationalistic tendencies of Donald Trump, “Amercia First”, the inward rebuilding strategy in terms of its socio-economic growth and power strategy.
Though over the years globalist, political economist have systemically applied the classical productive economic theory developed by Adam Smith, from his classical book, “The Wealth of Nations”, where he postulated the principles of the division of labour, and specialization of production, which tends to increase productivity and sphere of comparative advantage, in human and material resources, capital and technology capacity. Holding onto this principles global liberalist multinationals both in America and Europe likewise, began to push for global outsourcing of goods and services, around the world, but then looking to the East, the greatest benefactor became China, then India, who both provided the required cheap labour, human capital, and a relative economic incentives, that allowed for industrial and tech-hubs, for mass production of goods and services for the global West multinational companies.
What this dismantling of domestic productivity capacity and reduced industrilzation, by outsourcing certain segements of production lines, to other countries of assumed comparative advantage on cost effectiveness, is the creation of a complex cobweb of interdependency network of both goods and services productivity, managed by multinational cooperations, through visible and invisible global supply-chain structure, leading to the deconstructive elements of nationalistic identity of goods and services in real time, thereby envlopping the world human and capitalis economy together.
This unanticipated global outbreak of coronavirus and its ravaging political-economy complexity, has obviously shown how a fragile globalization of inter-dependency can rapidly spread a contagious disease, either via human-to-human, or cyber contamination, and visible or invisible, as a result of the interlocking of multinationalism and transnationalism, with Covid-19 pandemic revealing these vulnerabilities, a single source of providers, or regions of the
world that specialize in one particular product, can create an unexpected fragility and unprecedented moment of crisis, causing global supply chain breakdown.
This emerging fragile nature of globalization trend is a food for thought, as the impact of Covid-19 has cut across both multinational corporations, and its outsourcing supply chain network, from one country to another; from the most powerful, to the less powerful. The role of China here cannot be overlooked, as its statecraft secrecy played a significant role in the early cover-up on the coronavirus internal outbreak data collation and information dissemination, of which China was actually playing to a crafted script, with regards to its intended global political propaganda, to spike the United States over power-politics, with regards to the on-going trade-war.
Therefore the conspiracy theory, of the originality of the pathogenic virus at a medical lab in Wuhan, or imported into Wuhan by American military agent. But, then the loopholes in China biosafety regulations, and it’s covert state actions, makes China a much suspicious actor, as is now breeding itself as a contending power, by extending its sphere of influence, as is positioning itself a human locust.
A reliable and guided early information on the source and outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, to other key state and non-state actors, would have helped in early detections, destruptions, and control of the global outbreak, to avoid the present global lock-down and economic melt-down.
The lesson learnt so-far with the coronavirus crisis, is not only about the fragility of globalization, but the contending stability of the instruments of globalization, such as, the role of key decision-makers, technology-transfer, and information dissemination. post-Covid-19, is most likely going to change the face of future relationships and world politics, as the impact would further drag the United States, under President Donald Trump to reinstate his inward policy approach of „America First‟ , and with Great Britain, Brexit agenda, Russia secret expansionist trend, China marketism power play, and the EU containment, in the coming months or years, the world would be confronted with a lose integration, sphere of influence, and power competition, opening up an evolving new world order of “Multi-polar” system.
This simply re-emphasises the realist view of the true relevance of a globalized institutionalism, in an unstable world order, where the greatest fulfilling values of any nation-state, is about its own national interest, in accordance to human nature, or real nature. According to political realists, nation-states are inherently acquisitive and self-serving, always heading for inevitable competition of power.
The rationality behind the covert use of coronavirus outbreak by china as a global tool, was to test its continental political-economic strength and reach, as the world mass-producing powerhouse, as against the United States scientific and technological power, which brings me to the fact of „the more we look, the less we see‟ on the right-of-way, between the US and China on political-economic dominance of this decade.
In view of the realist argument that international trade is most effective when there is a hegemony in the world market, but then liberals on the other hand, argues that it is a matter of how countries use the idea of reciprocity in their decision about trade, to achieve an outcome. Thus, I tend to agree with one realist argument as postulated by Nau, who stated that as long as there is a relative distribution of power, no one power can affect the system as a whole, but when there are several equally competitive powers, the global economy reaches the model of a perfect market.
Wherefore, each nation-state acts according to their self-interest, therefore each behaviour leads to a higher gain for all the states as, „competition maximizes efficiency in a perfect market. But, then when there are no such elements in the international system, the competitive nation-states would have to fear consistent violence, aggressions, and transnational crises.
Re-enforcing, my critical view of this emerging multipolarity world order, is also stem on the further postulation by E.H Carr, who challenged what he perceived as the dangerous and deluded “Idealism” of liberal institutionalist, particularly their belief in the possibility of progress through the construction of international institutions, such as the UN, and its agencies, or the EU and its body of elements. He argued about the perennial role of power and self-interest in determining state behaviour, emphasising on the various barriers to progress and reforms that are allegedly inherent in human nature, in political institutions, or in the structure of the international system.
Following this contestations and the constructive realization, its persuasively obvious that the game strategy, with the coronavirus outcome is all about power competition and national self-interest, which would most likely result in a shift of global politics, with one elements of national security being at stake, the health and safety of each nation-state becoming a driving factor, as policy-makers around world struggles to deal with the Covid-19 complications and its aftermath.
The mutual distrust and misperceptions of great powers are emblematic of a classical security dilemma, in which an action taken by one state to improve its security and relations, leads to reactions from others, which could make the original state itself less secure.
Irrespective of the conspiracy theory rumor which still breeds fear and uncertainty, on the originality of the virus, either by China or the US, the poisoned atmosphere would surely damage any future collaboration and relationship between the two countries, therefore creating the anticipated shift in global politics and liberal institutional corporation, as China in-road into Africa is yielding significant result, as Ethiopia is championing an Africa re-ailment order in the face of Covid-19 relieve material, the chinese locust invasion is already paying off in many African states.
The globalization meltdown has shown obviously that while the Donald Trump administration foreign policy spin off, „America First‟ is using the pandemic crisis to withdraw out of global integration, on the other hand China marketism statecraft is using the crisis to showcase its willingness to lead the global change.
Finally, as globalization seeks for an ever-increasing specialization of labour, and comparative advantage across countries, an economic model that creates extraordinary efficiency, but also creates extraordinary vulnerabilities, as is the present case of Covid-19.
Writing by Godson Azu, a political analyst, consultant, and author, he is the co-convener of the Annual London Political Summit and Awards.