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Global Leadership amid Corona Virus Pandemic

Few months ago, China was a epicenter of COVID-19. After scrambling the outbreak within its own borders with decisive measures and expertise to bring it under control, it has now turned itself into a potential savior by supplying medical equipment and expertise around the globe including Asia, Africa and Europe.

On the other hand, Washington is battling badly with the virus with all its super power and strategy. Most unlikely, President Trump has tried to stroke racist sentiments in an effort to shift the blame onto China, referring to COVID-19 as Chinese virus which has been analyzed as nothing but prejudice. Mr. Trump’s administration is so focused on attacking China relating with geo-political conspiracy and not been able to co-operate with its G7 allied to release a common statement on this crisis.

Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash

Western countries’ approach

Many Central and Eastern European countries like Italy, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Serbia etc. are seeking hands from China to fight against this deadly virus. While analyzing the bitter truth, at the beginning of March, while it was hard hit by the virus, Italy asked for help from USA and its E.U. counterparts, no EU members responded. In addition France and Germany imposed on the export of face masks. However, Beijing responded bilaterally and promptly airlifted 30 tons of medical supplies to Rome. Last year, Italy has signed a MoU with China on participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative strategy. Italy was the first G7 country to do so.

Role of China

So, after that Spain and other European countries on the waiting line of medical assistance from China. In this regard, USA announced travel restriction to Europe on 12th March with no advance warning and also has timely contradiction with WHO’s approach against this world health pandemic.

After cold war for nearly four decades, the US and its western allies have announced to the world that “there is no alternative to neo-liberalism”. Contrary to this America is not investing enough resources to help its traditional allies and counterparts across Atlantic which may result into loosening them from its political and economic grip. Eventually slowly but surely, Chinese socialist economic market and political strategy infiltrate into todays’ world approach in some extent.

The US losing its allies, the communist Chinese style of leadership may be imitated by highly vulnerable developing countries putting democracy into question. Most leaders around the world are too busy battling with this corona virus. This unprecedented time can be an opportunity for the leaders, states and tem members who decide to use it in wise manner. In this harsh and extraordinary scenario, we should be asking; how safe is globalization? Perhaps, globalization is something that only works when there is bilateral political agreement regarding values, norms and how society should be. Secondly, how the rise of China is going to impact on the world? And most important question is that could China turn this disaster into a major step towards global leadership?

The other perspective

It will be too early to say how the situation unfolds regarding the post-pandemic global leadership, but there is another perspective rising which claims that new movement will prevail in world that urges powers to stay away from China and its allies. People have already tweeting about the #CHEXIT scenario. This scenario, hypothetical at the moment, is backed by recent decision by Japan to financially support its companies to shift from China and have announced stimulus package of more than US$ 2 billion. This extra budget from Japan Government backs the Japanese companies’ intention of moving out of China in post pandemic period.

It won’t be a surprise to many if other countries also walk in Japan’s road of getting rid of China. After pandemic is over most of the countries would like to act in the direction where they will be less dependent on other.

US-China tug-of-war of Ideology

US government has always been critical of the Chinese way of acquiring regional and in some cases global dominance. This situation will further boost the motivation to cornering China’s attitude. Considering the outcome of ruthless relationship between these two global stakeholders on trade and already prevalent imposing of tariffs on billions of dollars of goods from China and consequent counter-tariffs, it can be guesstimated that the relation between US and China will further worsen, probably prompting the idea of #Chexit.

This tug of war is the proxy of liberalism and socialist. Countries with liberal ideas are facing hard time to impose proper lockdown during the pandemics and on the other hands the socialist countries are effortlessly piloting lockdown. Liberalists are already raising an alarm about how Russia has violated the human rights in the name of surveillance during lockdown. Though it is still unknown to everyone how the new public-monitoring system of Russia works, some are intimidated by “cybergulag”, the new system saying they have gone far from social distancing to social monitoring.

(Disclaimer: Views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author(s), and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.)

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