Dr Harilla Goga

Intra-States relationships with COVID 19 challenges

Flickr/Miguel Discart/CC BY-SA 2.0
Ad in Brussels, April 2020.

In his recent publication, the well-known analyst, Mr Theodoros Benakis stated: “In order to support those who are hit hard by this lockdown, and to prevent the recession from becoming a long-term depression, we need immediate and co-ordinated actions that utilize the world’s best economic practices and proven emergency measures to blunt the impact”.

The management of the COVID 19 theoretically is in the scientists’ hands but, in the end, this remains in the hands of politicians throughout the world. In this approach, it is obvious that the strong cooperation between governments and other stakeholders is an emergency in order to cope with the COVID 19 very dang perilous consequences. For the time being, this probably might be happening based on the existing international organisations (i.e. the WHO which is doing its job). However, these “immediate and coordinated actions” are obviously a sine qua non if we need mankind to survive and to continue its road of progress. As for its future, there might be another approach…

On the optimistic view: the history of mankind told us, in a certain way, that humanity will continue its path even if the international political establishment is not ready or not aware enough (mainly the big powers) to undertake the adequate measures required.

Coming back home: 

This unpredictable situation reveals also the internal and external States’ policy which have put the intra-states relations back to the history as they have done during centuries: guided by their instincts of self-defence, they successfully implemented their vision of closing the “physical frontiers”, hoping to escape from the disaster by lockdown, isolation, and paying attention a little or not at all to others, also hoping that “the air can be stopped up to their frontiers”. Those governments’ actions undertaken by each one of them have again demonstrated that behind this behaviour is hidden a leading activity which remains as it has been at least since national States have established as main actors of the international relations.

Although the progress made in the area of international cooperation with the UN as a chapeau – called “the world’s Government”, the corona diplomacy shows how fast and strongly the borders between States can be re-established, while “Common Interest Policy” [1]  seems to be far away. Therefore, governments seem to be fully convinced that this “coming back home policy” remains the only option to be safe while ignoring all other countries that are in the same boat but in different rooms.

Besides, States are also acting in a way that could remind us of the famous Balance of Powers Policy, intending to reshape the world inspired by that policy.  However, the latter incorporates the seeds of the upcoming tensions or wars between States, and the winner of today will surely be the loser of tomorrow.

Lack of new approaches:

It is not so difficult to conclude that no government adviser has advised the policymakers to act differently, because they simply do not possess new alternative approaches. In fact, they do not possess them because of a lack of new ideas and new theories by scholars, experts, academics who are, either strictly continuing their ordinary scientific work, or simply not able to create and impose those new ideas and theories predicting the future of the world, guided by common and universal interests, over those national and particular ones.

The poverty of new ideas seems to be the real challenge of our time. [2]

Let’s develop a little bit more this approach:

As above mentioned, I tried to put forward the idea that “the management of the COVID 19 theoretically is in the scientists’ hands but, at the end, it remains in the hands of statesmen throughout the world”. Moreover, to manage this situation, our politicians, the decision-makers, are expected to be inspired and act accordingly to those new ideas and theories. Let’s remind ourselves that it is not their responsibility to produce them, but to apply them. There are two possibilities: Firstly, politicians could act being inspired by new ideas and theories, or they could address the issues to the academia in order to get their support with relevant theories. The second option and the worse situation seems to be if they discourage them, or encourage them to produce ideas and theories – as they have done up to now-, to help reinforce the existing Balance of Power Policy versus common and universal interests.

As people are affected in the same way throughout the world, the measures to cope with the situation must be on an international level. If the WHO has done its job up to its competences, the cooperation between states has bizarrely missed or, is at the minimum level. It seems the majority of politicians are not so aware that the air is the same for everyone, and they are probably calculating who will be the winner and who the losers, which is a very old policy and theory.

In order to manage the current situation, the politicians normally consider the experts’ outcomes and thoughts. Let´s suppose they are ready to pursue other policies of lockdown, or parallel with that, to follow an effective international cooperation policy. Unfortunately, they cannot realise it simply due to the lack of new ideas and theories in this regard. Not to discharge the politicians, but they are in the right way to follow their school. If the new school of ideas is not emerging yet, the question can be asked:  are they responsible? [3]

Could the experts of international relations advance towards this goal? Unfortunately, up to now most of them are in the service of their governments fully inspired by National and Particular Interests rather Common and Universal ones – as it is shown by the COVID-19 case.

In case the politicians’ intention is focused on increasing the International Organisation competences, in particular those related to the UN, we could believe in a better organized and managed world, and new generations will be safer on this planet.

[1] Concept explained and developed in my book “Diplomacy & Promoting Diplomacy- Understanding the World of Tomorrow, published in February 2020

[2] One of the main subjects analysed in the above-mentioned book

[3]  One of the main subjects analysed in the above-mentioned book

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