IASbhai Editorial Hunt
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EDITORIAL 56:“The script of disruption and a new order“
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL/EDITORIALS FOR UPSC CSE MAINS 2020
M.K. Narayanan is a former National Security Adviser and a former Governor of West Bengal
The script of disruption and a new order
Across the globe, the geopolitical and geo-economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic could be serious
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Diseases:Economy
There will a visible fallout around the major economies post COVID-19. Critically comment the consequences of such pandemics and how to overcome them -(GS 3)
This article will give you an overall knowledge about the current situation and
- Chinese role in Asia and Africa
- Sino centric world post pandemics.
- Institutions under blame for the pandemic.
- The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, involving as it does far too many variables.
- The very complexity of the novel coronavirus leads to radical uncertainty.
- Hence, it it unlikely that the world will ever be the same again.
- Abnormal could well become the new normal.
- Pandemics have often changed the world and reshaped human society.
- Commentators are already talking of fundamental alterations in governance and business norms.
- Each nation is tending to look inwards, concentrating on its narrowly defined national interests.
INSTITUTIONS UNDER FIRE
- International institutions such as the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council and the World Health Organization (WHO) are seen to have failed to measure up to the grave challenge posed by the pandemic.
- UN Security Council is under attack for being slow in dealing with a situation that appears, at least on the surface, far graver than any military threat in recent decades, WHO has been tarred with the charge of bias and of grossly underestimating the nature of the epidemic.
- That prestigious global institutions should have been singled out for attack at this time speaks volumes about the mood prevailing across the world.
- There are many other aspects of the COVID-19 crisis that will drastically impact the globe.
- On the economic front, the World Bank has already predicted negative growth for most nations.
- India’s growth forecast for the current fiscal year has been put at 1.5% to 2.8%.
- Contraction of the economy and the loss of millions of jobs across all segments will further complicate this situation.
- What is likely to change even more dramatically are certain other aspects relating to political management and security.
- The role of the state as an enforcer of public good will almost certainly become greatly enhanced.
- Europe has shown a willingness to sacrifice personal liberties in favour of greater state control.
- Post COVID-19, the world may have to pay a heavy price in terms of loss of liberty.
CHINA IN THE SPOTLIGHT
- Far-reaching changes can also be anticipated in the realm of geo-economics and geopolitics.
- The world needs to prepare for a sea change.
- China, is presently seeking to take advantage of and benefit from the problems faced by the rest of the world in the wake of the epidemic.
- China remains totally unfazed by the stigma that the current world pandemic owes a great deal to its negligence — the first identified and detected COVID-19 victim in Wuhan was on December 1, 2019, but it was only in the second week of January 2020, that China sounded the alarm.
- More importantly, it is seeking to convert its ‘failure’ into a significant opportunity.
- This is Sino-centrism at its best, or possibly its worst.
- Already indispensable as the world’s supplier of manufactured goods, China now seeks to benefit from the fact of its ‘early recovery’ to take advantage of the travails of the rest of the world, by using its manufacturing capability to its geo-economic advantage.
- Simultaneously, it seeks to shift from being a Black Swan (responsible for the pandemic), to masquerade as a White one, by offering medical aid and other palliatives to several Asian and African countries to meet their current pandemic threat.
MULTI-LATERAL GLOBALIZATION THREAT:
- India seems to have woken up only recently to this threat, after the Peoples’ Bank of China acquired a 1% stake in India’s HDFC, taking advantage of the sharp decline in the price of HDFC stocks.
- Several countries apart from India, such as Australia and Germany, have begun to restrict Chinese foreign direct investment in companies and financial institutions in their countries, recognising the inherent danger of a possible Chinese hostile takeover of their critical assets.
- Together with its Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to combine regional connectivity alongside gaining a virtual economic and substantial stranglehold across Asia, China is ostensibly preparing the way for a China-centric multilateral globalisation framework.
A FALTERING WEST
- The geopolitical fallout of this pandemic could be still more serious.
- One distinct possibility is that COVID-19 would effectively put paid to the existing global order that has existed since the late 1940s.
- Weakened economically and politically after COVID-19 has ravaged the nation, the U.S.’s capacity to play a critical role in world affairs is certain to diminish.
- Europe, in the short and medium term, will prove incapable of defining and defending its common interests, let alone having any influence in world affairs.
- Germany, which may still retain some of its present strength, is already turning insular, while both France and a post-Brexit United Kingdom will be out of the reckoning as of now.
WEST ASIA AND INDIA
- Coming to West Asia, both Saudi Arabia and Iran are set to face difficult times.
- The oil price meltdown will aggravate an already difficult situation across the region.
- There may be no victors, but Israel may be one country that is in a position to exploit this situation to its advantage.
- In the meantime, the economic downturn greatly reduces India’s room for manoeuvre.
- In South Asia, it faces the prospect of being isolated, with the Chinese juggernaut winning Beijing new friends and contacts across a region deeply impacted by the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Likewise, India’s leverage in West Asia — already greatly diminished — will suffer further, with oil prices going down and the Indian expatriate community (who are among the hardest hit by this downturn) out on a limb.
- Many of the latter may seek repatriation back to the host country, substantially reducing the inflow of foreign funds to India from the region.