Middle East

Treatment of interrelated crises

Bill Emmott


As a decisive result of the COP26 Climate Change Conference, we are disappointed by the recent virtual summit of US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, or the efforts to achieve the fairness of the COVID-19 vaccine. You need to wake up to the world in which you live. In the current situation, global governance is guaranteed to be disappointing.

In a new report, “Our Global Situation,” my colleagues and I on the “World Commission for Post-Pandemic Policy” face these difficulties, we face four crises instead of one. I think it’s due to the fact that I’m doing it. The only way to move forward is to recognize the relationship between planetary public health, climate change, declining public confidence and democracy’s legitimacy, and geopolitical instability. These issues are interrelated. If you treat them as separate domains, you won’t get anywhere.

Environmental stress increases the likelihood that zoonotic diseases will spread to humans and become pandemics. The social, political and economic stresses brought about by the pandemic encourage attitudes and actions that undermine social solidarity, making it difficult for governments to secure public support for strong decarbonization measures. increase. Dealing with the new crisis remains a difficult struggle in countries and political systems where the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis and the growth of social media have undermined confidence in institutions and authority on adaptive expertise.

This description is especially relevant for the United States, a country where many seek leadership. The crisis of trust has weakened the United States both domestically and globally, deteriorating relations between the West and China. Following the logic of the feedback loop, tensions over pandemics and climate change contribute to the world’s most important geopolitical crisis. But without US-China involvement and mutual understanding, little progress has been made on pandemics and climate change.

Similar dynamics are evident in the inability to supply adequate vaccines to poor countries, highlighted by the emergence of new Omicron variants in southern Africa. According to the World Commission’s vaccination countdown, Asia, Europe, and the United States will vaccinate 80% of the population between March and May 2022, while most African countries will be vaccinated until mid-2025. Does not reach.

Central American cooperation can close this gap given the unparalleled capital and logistics resources of both countries, and is imminent in 2022, which could hit low-income countries and other countries in the world. The sovereign debt crisis can be dealt with quickly Unfortunately, there is no immediate prospect of such an agreement.

It’s a dark situation, not an imminent disaster, but an ongoing disappointment and vulnerability. To tackle this situation, we need to develop a new strategy based on four key principles.

The first principle and the most pressing challenge is to vaccinate all people. This can accelerate the transition from a pandemic to a more manageable and inherent public health issue. Whether acting alone or in groups, all countries place top priority on providing vaccines to Africa and other lagging regions, with medical, financial and financial support to support vaccination programs. You need to invest more resources such as logistic and management. Eliminating the uncertainties caused by pandemics may be the surest way to build confidence and public support for sustainable climate measures and other necessary but costly “better restructuring” policies. Hmm.

The second (and longer-term) principle is to recognize that competition between the United States and China plays a central role in world affairs. Neither that competition nor the continued importance of either country is desired. Therefore, the most urgent task is to define the agenda and create a mechanism for mutual consultation and cooperation on global issues, even if the two superpowers continue to compete in other areas.

The United States and the Soviet Union exercised such discipline during the Cold War. But it took decades to learn to do so. We cannot wait for climate change, international security, and effective governance.

The third principle is that we need to take the Western trust and legitimacy crisis more seriously. The growing vulnerability of Western democracy to radical politics poses a danger to the stability and security of these countries as well as the world. The most urgent task here is to update the democratic rules and institutions of the 21st century. Regulate social media to make those platforms more responsible. Rekindle citizenship through new forms of participation. Increase investment to ensure equality of treatment and opportunity.

The fourth principle is practical. As with vaccines, countries cannot sit down and wait for proper global governance to provide a solution. Following the success of a public-private partnership that provided safe and highly effective vaccines in record time, confronting today’s linked crisis requires a coalition eager to tackle common borderless issues. is. Other areas that may benefit from strong multilateral cooperation include technologies for identifying and monitoring new pathogens and larger bets on non-carbon energy technologies such as nuclear fusion.

Our interrelated crises require interrelated and coordinated responses. It should come as no surprise if it turns out to be impossible, or if countries decide to pursue non-consensual measures in their own country.


Bill Emmott
The Former Editor-in-Chief of The Economist is a co-director of the Global Commission for Post-Pandemic Policy.


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