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Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic on International Relations

The Covid-۱۹ pandemic has considerably changed the world. No surprise if said that this event is a turning point in history for creating a new world order.
June 2021
Mohammadtaghi Hosseini

The Covid-19 pandemic has considerably changed the world. No surprise if said that this event is a turning point in history for creating a new world order. The international relations intellectuals usually use the term New Order for the conditions that emerge after a wide and new war. Considering the corona pandemic impacts it can be said that it has effected change as much as a big war. Many of the laws, regulations, customs, habits, lifestyles, jobs and structures have undergone change, due to the corona pandemic. The corona crisis is, at the first stage, a crisis in the health area threatening people’s lives and welfares over the world. But in addition to a threat to the health and lives of the individuals and communities, the current crisis is a source for great economic-social challenges as well as regional security concerns. According to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank report in 2021, too, like in 2018, most economies in various geographical regions will have negative GDPs or, at best, will have very low GDPs, most jobs and companies will go bankrupt, or will be grappling with serious challenges. Millions of jobs will disappear and more families will be exposed to poverty and insecurity about the future across the world. Crime, violence and insecurity will be direct consequences of the pandemic situation. For the first time in some countries, for example in Mexico, the governmental officials, for reducing domestic violence during the lockdowns, imposed strict laws banning sales of alcoholic drinks.

Of the destructive impacts of the pandemic are widening gap between the poor and the rich, and motivation for emergence of nationalism and extremism. The new waves of nationalism can create domestic as well as international problems, an issue that must be taken seriously. All of this has put to the test the effectiveness and influence of the governments. Trump’s defeat in the US presidential elections in November of 2019 was due to his weak performance in addressing the pandemic. The social unrest after the appalling death of George Floyd was a combination of open racism and mismanagement of the government in response to the pandemic.

Due to the corona pandemic, a new world or a new order is shaping. The measuring criterion for a successful government in a post-pandemic world is its capability and flexibility in adapting to the conditions and timely responding to the hidden challenges. In such a world, it is possible a great power not necessarily be the leader, but in contrast, small countries with good governments, and intelligent decisions and management stand a better rank.

However, the pandemic situation has also created new opportunities and presented new phenomena to all. The pandemic has changed methods of interaction, education and even diplomacy. Now, digitization of all affairs is the order of the day.

For creating an appropriate world order after the pandemic, first there must come a precise understanding of the situation and then intelligent changes in many institutes and laws. For succeeding in the post-pandemic world it is necessary that there come reallocation of the resources, review of all policies, and reorganization of the structures and a redefinition of strategies.

In the world of diplomacy it is proven that digital diplomacy is of appropriate effectiveness. Digital diplomacy has helped the governments and officials act economically in spending time and resources, while keeping relations among them. By utilizing digital diplomacy, the related costs of foreign policy will decrease to a great extent. Also, it must be considered that digital diplomacy cannot fully remove the need for face-to-face meetings and under some circumstances personal meetings among the officials and diplomats are inevitable. As planners of educational affairs defend reopening of the schools for preserving the environment for socialization of the students, I contend the international meetings, too, must be immediately resumed. Establishing diplomatic face-to-face communication can increase effectiveness of diplomacy.

Here I summarize my paper with some examples:

  • The pandemic has changed our world in fundamental ways.
  • The governments and international system have been put to a tough test to prove their capabilities.
  • Danger of disorder and domestic chaos as well as international conflicts has increased, while the pandemic has created new opportunities that can be tapped into.
  • The governments need accept the situation arisen out of the pandemic and grasp a better understanding of it and organize their affairs in a proper way adapted to these changes, to be able to shape the post-pandemic order more realistically.

Mohammadtaghi Hosseinin, Educational Deputy of IPIS and International Studies Researcher  

    (The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)        

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