Showing posts with label Global. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Global. Show all posts

3 July 2020

Can an Open World Exist After COVID-19?

Edward Alden 

Along North America’s 49th parallel, where it meets the Pacific Ocean, a huge white stone arch stands on the border between the United States and Canada. Called the Peace Arch, it was built in 1921 to commemorate the resolution of boundary disputes that dated back to the War of 1812. Inside the arch, there is an iron gate attached to both walls, and an inscription that reads, “May these gates never be closed.” ...

Covid-19 and the Global Financial Safety Net


The CSIS Economics Program is tracking commitments, approvals, and disbursements by major international financial institutions (IFIs) to meet the massive financing needs generated by the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. These IFIs include the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and regional development banks. We also include select regional financing arrangements (RFAs), which, together with the IFIs, central bank bilateral swap lines, and individual countries’ foreign reserve holdings, comprise the Global Financial Safety Net (GFSN).

Updated data as of June 19 show several key trends:

We estimate IFIs have approved $117 billion in Covid-19-related support since January 27. The IMF has approved $77.1 billion, including emergency assistance and precautionary lines of credit, while the multilateral development banks (MDBs) combined have approved a total of $39.3 billion. Among the MDBs, the World Bank has approved $13.0 billion, followed by the European Investment Bank, which has approved $7.7 billion, and the Asian Development Bank, which has approved $7.2 billion.

The COVID Class War

YANIS VAROUFAKIS

ATHENS – The euro crisis that erupted a decade ago has long been portrayed as a clash between Europe’s frugal North and profligate South. In fact, at its heart was a fierce class war that left Europe, including its capitalists, much weakened relative to the United States and China. Worse still, the European Union’s response to the pandemic, including the EU recovery fund currently under deliberation, is bound to intensify this class war, and deal another blow to Europe’s socioeconomic model.

With hopes of a sharp rebound from the pandemic-induced recession quickly fading, policymakers should pause and take stock of what it will take to achieve a sustained recovery. The most urgent policy priorities have been obvious since the beginning, but they will require hard choices and a show of political will.1Add to Bookmarks

If we have learned anything in recent decades, it is the pointlessness of focusing on any country’s economy in isolation. Once upon a time, when money moved between countries mostly to finance trade, and most consumption spending benefited domestic producers, the strengths and weaknesses of a national economy could be separately assessed. Not anymore. Today, the weaknesses of, say, China and Germany are intertwined with those of countries like the US and Greece.

2 July 2020

Covid-19 and the Global Financial Safety Net


The CSIS Economics Program is tracking commitments, approvals, and disbursements by major international financial institutions (IFIs) to meet the massive financing needs generated by the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. These IFIs include the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and regional development banks. We also include select regional financing arrangements (RFAs), which, together with the IFIs, central bank bilateral swap lines, and individual countries’ foreign reserve holdings, comprise the Global Financial Safety Net (GFSN).

Updated data as of June 19 show several key trends:
We estimate IFIs have approved $117 billion in Covid-19-related support since January 27. The IMF has approved $77.1 billion, including emergency assistance and precautionary lines of credit, while the multilateral development banks (MDBs) combined have approved a total of $39.3 billion. Among the MDBs, the World Bank has approved $13.0 billion, followed by the European Investment Bank, which has approved $7.7 billion, and the Asian Development Bank, which has approved $7.2 billion.

Covid-19 and the Global Financial Safety Net


The CSIS Economics Program is tracking commitments, approvals, and disbursements by major international financial institutions (IFIs) to meet the massive financing needs generated by the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. These IFIs include the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and regional development banks. We also include select regional financing arrangements (RFAs), which, together with the IFIs, central bank bilateral swap lines, and individual countries’ foreign reserve holdings, comprise the Global Financial Safety Net (GFSN).

Updated data as of June 19 show several key trends:
We estimate IFIs have approved $117 billion in Covid-19-related support since January 27. The IMF has approved $77.1 billion, including emergency assistance and precautionary lines of credit, while the multilateral development banks (MDBs) combined have approved a total of $39.3 billion. Among the MDBs, the World Bank has approved $13.0 billion, followed by the European Investment Bank, which has approved $7.7 billion, and the Asian Development Bank, which has approved $7.2 billion.

Dispersion of Labor and the Novel Coronavirus

By Able Magwitch

The military principle of dispersion will prevent a second shutdown of American industry, prompting leaders to begin re-classifying laborers as "essential," "critical," or "necessary" to operations. 

In combat, armies spread troops and materiel across a large battlefield for the purpose of reducing vulnerability to concentrated firepower. This “dispersion of troops” does not necessarily change the likelihood of an enemy attack or prevent loss of lives, equipment or tactical advantage. Rather, by placing capabilities in multiple locations, dispersion forces the enemy to choose one of many capabilities against which it will focus the attack, thereby preserving the balance of capabilities and mitigating the risk of catastrophic losses once the attack occurs.

The concept of dispersion is not new; it has been a mainstay of operational art since the advent of the standard issue rifle and the invention of smokeless powder.

The American Civil War provides an example of this principle in action. Early in the war, most infantry commanders deployed their troops in tightly closed formations, marching brigade-sized elements across battlefields and into the enemy’s rifles and bayonets. This had been the practice of national armies since at least the eighteenth century. However, the high-volume effectiveness of modern firearms, such as the Lee-Enfield rifle and the Springfield Model 1861, proved to Union commanders that relying on such concentrated troop formations would result in enormous casualties, and accelerated the transition toward a more durable tactical paradigm.

30 June 2020

THE ORIGINS OF THE COVID-19 GLOBAL PANDEMIC, INCLUDING THE ROLES OF THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY AND THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION


The world is currently in the grips of a global pandemic known as COVID-19. As of June 10, 2020, there were more than 7.2 million confirmed cases1 in at least 177 countries.2 More than 412,100 people have reportedly died due to the disease3 , which is caused by a strain of coronavirus. First identified in 1968, coronaviruses are a family of related RNA viruses known to cause illness in animals and humans.4 Depending on the strain, coronaviruses can cause a range of illnesses, from mild infections like the common cold to deadly diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a strain of coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV, the strain that caused the 2003 SARS pandemic. This virus has been designated SARS-CoV-2. Based on an examination of the early stages of the outbreak, efforts to conceal the spread and novel nature of the virus, failures to share accurate information as required by international law5 , and the suppression of voices seeking to warn the world, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) bears overwhelming responsibility for allowing a local outbreak to become a global pandemic. Senior CCP leaders, including CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, knew a pandemic was occurring weeks before they warned the public. Research shows that the CCP could have reduced the number of cases in China by up to 95%6 , had it fulfilled its obligations under international law and implemented a public health response at an earlier date. 7 The World Health Organization (WHO) enabled the CCP cover-up by failing to investigate and publicize reports conflicting with the official CCP, while at the same time praising the CCP’s response. In sum, the COVID-19 global pandemic could have been prevented if the CCP acted in a transparent and responsible manner

29 June 2020

The Pandemic and the Limits of Realism

BY SETH A. JOHNSTON

Stephen Walt’s “The Realist’s Guide to the Coronavirus Outbreak,” together with some of his other recent articles, are compelling examples of how realist scholars of international relations see the coronavirus as helping to validate this school of thought. Realists have good reason for confidence. Responses to the pandemic have demonstrated the primacy of sovereign states, rationale for great-power competition, and obstacles to international cooperation—all key tenets of the realist tradition.

But the pandemic also exposes realism’s shortcomings as a source for successful policy. Better at explaining risks and dangers than offering solutions, realism’s strengths lie in diagnosis rather than treatment or prevention. To fight the pandemic most effectively, policymakers will have to turn to the other theoretical tradition that has, however reluctantly, informed responses to the other great crises of the past three-quarters of a century.

Realism gets a lot right, which is one reason it remains international relations’ foundational school of thought, at least in the United States. One insight the pandemic underscores is the realist view of states as the primary actors in world politics. As the coronavirus struck, states moved swiftly to close or tighten international borders, restricted movement within their borders, and marshaled security and public health resources. That the World Health Organization (WHO) initially recommended against such border controls, businesses dreaded declining economic activity, and individuals chafed against restrictions on their freedom of movement underscores the authority of states to maintain order and shape events.

26 June 2020

Will Trump’s Trade Wars Reshape the Global Economy?


Once relatively staid, the global economic and trade system has been anything but since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

Though it’s been overshadowed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S.-China trade war has not been definitively resolved. In January, the two countries hit the pause on the on again, off again dispute, which began in 2018 when Trump launched a series of tit-for-tat tariff hikes over China’s perceived unfair trade practices, including forced technology transfers and the theft of intellectual property. After several rounds of talks stalled over the course of the following 18 months, the two sides signed a limited “phase one” agreement in January, giving them more time to try to iron out their broader differences. But the terms of the stopgap deal, particularly China’s required purchases of a range of U.S. products and goods, were already going to be difficult to achieve under normal circumstances. The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic will now call them even further into question, with no guarantees for an agreement in broader “phase two” talks.

Trump’s unpredictable negotiating style and his willingness to brandish the threat of tariffs for leverage in trade talks cannot be particularly reassuring to European officials, who have yet to start their own trade negotiations with the U.S. Trump has already decried what he sees as unfair trade deficits with European Union countries, particularly Germany, and he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from some allies, without seeming to understand that the EU negotiates trade terms as a bloc. A U.S.-Europe trade war could do lasting damage to both sides.

25 June 2020

When the System Fails

By Stewart Patrick
The chaotic global response to the coronavirus pandemic has tested the faith of even the most ardent internationalists. Most nations, including the world’s most powerful, have turned inward, adopting travel bans, implementing export controls, hoarding or obscuring information, and marginalizing the World Health Organization (WHO) and other multilateral institutions. The pandemic seems to have exposed the liberal order and the international community as mirages, even as it demonstrates the terrible consequences of faltering global cooperation.

A century ago, when pandemic influenza struck a war-torn world, few multilateral institutions existed. Countries fought their common microbial enemy alone. Today, an array of multilateral mechanisms exists to confront global public health emergencies and address their associated economic, social, and political effects. But the existence of such mechanisms has not stopped most states from taking a unilateral approach.

It is tempting to conclude that multilateral institutions—ostensibly foundational to the rules-based international system—are, at best, less effective than advertised and, at worst, doomed to fail when they are needed most. But that conclusion goes too far. Weak international cooperation is a choice, not an inevitability.

24 June 2020

RE OPEN ING THE WORLD

Leave it to the Germans to come up with a sinuous, unpronounceable, and entirely perfect word to describe the slew of debates over how and when to reopen economies locked down due to the coronavirus: Öffnungsdiskussionsorgien, or opening discussion orgies. These orgies have been unfolding in just about every country that has shut restaurants and schools, grounded flights, and required citizens to stay home. 

Despite general agreement with lockdown decisions, there are now heated debates about what the new normal should be—and how to get there. That debate varies, of course, with the progress of the virus. China, where the outbreak originated, has slowly reopened Wuhan. New Zealand says the virus is “currently eliminated” there and is talking about resuming flights to Australia. Brazil locked down its first major cities this week, while other countries, such as Canada, Japan, and Sri Lanka, also tightened rules. And Africa, which was largely spared during the initial wave, is now facing a rising number of cases with only limited medical resources.

23 June 2020

The Post-COVID19 World: Globalization with Different Characteristics


This OpEd speculates on how trade strategies combined with US-China strategic competition and the ongoing economic decoupling of the world’s top two economies may redefine the nature of post-COVID19 globalization.

For the first time in recent history, a decoupling process features two countries upholding opposing political ideologies that inform their respective visions of world order. In effect, the economic decoupling also draws an ideological line of separation between the US and China.

The Nexus Between the COVID-19 Pandemic, International Relations, and International Security


The extent to which other related global relationships, national entities, and supranational organizations have performed in the current case will only be clear in retrospect: it will quite possibly emerge that a combination of right- and left-wing polices – cherry-picking elements of travel and visa restrictions, greater health security and diplomacy investments, and other defensive and protective policy aspects from the two highly divergent sets of agendas — will be the guiding paradigm for the decades to come. Despite the mutual antipathy between contemporary political perspectives in the United States, there are elements of each agendas — what has been called bipartisanism, or post-partisanship — that will be crucial to the future of humanity. Taking this forward in a proactive, positive, and productive manner requires that neither side be vilified.

22 June 2020

The Pandemic Must End Our Complacency

BERTRAND BADRÉ, YVES TIBERGHIEN

PARIS – A sudden shock upends routine decision-making and forces leaders to take urgent action. A combination of mistrust, misperception, and fear dissolves the bonds that sustain modern civilization.

The year is 1914, when Europe spent its summer mobilizing for war. But the description could just as well apply to the summer of 2020. The worst pandemic since the 1918-20 influenza outbreak is rapidly morphing into a systemic crisis of globalization, potentially setting the stage for the most dangerous geopolitical confrontation since the end of the Cold War.

In the space of just weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down one-third of the global economy and triggered the largest economic shock since the Great Depression. Looking ahead, the most important factor that will shape how this crisis evolves is collective leadership. But that crucial component remains absent. With the United States and China at each other’s throats, global leadership will have to emerge from somewhere other than Washington, DC, or Beijing.

21 June 2020

China’s Media Influence Has Gone Global. So Has the Pushback.

By Sarah Cook
Source Link

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and various Chinese government entities have long sought to influence public debate and media coverage about China around the world, a trend that has accelerated in recent years. Over the past month, a number of news reports and investigations, often by local journalists, have highlighted new evidence of how Chinese government-linked actors impact global information flows via propaganda, censorship, surveillance, and control over infrastructure. In response, various governments and technology firms have taken steps to undermine the negative effects CCP influence has on media and internet freedom. This article calls attention to some of these new developments.

In Southeast Asia, Thailand’s cash-strapped media companies are increasingly relying on Chinese state media like the official newswire, Xinhua News Agency, to provide coverage on the global response to the coronavirus. But China’s influence on Thai news precedes the pandemic, with at least a dozen outlets having inked partnerships with Xinhua and 2019 being named by the Thai government as the “ASEAN-China Year of Media Exchanges.”

19 June 2020

Was the Coronavirus Outbreak an Intelligence Failure?

by Erik J. Dahl

The U.S. intelligence community has for many years considered the possible threat of disease among the potential risks to national stability and security.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, it’s clear that having better information sooner, and acting more quickly on what was known, could have slowed the spread of the outbreak and saved more people’s lives.

There may be finger-pointing about who should have done better – and President Donald Trump has already begun laying blame. But as a former naval intelligence officer who teaches and studies the U.S. intelligence community, I believe it’s useful to look at the whole process of how information about diseases gets collected and processed, by the U.S. government but also by many other organizations around the world.

The role of traditional US intelligence agencies

The U.S. intelligence community has for many years considered the possible threat of disease among the potential risks to national stability and security.

18 June 2020

The war on the coronavirus


Three top military leaders offer lessons from the front lines of managing deadly crises.

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The challenge of navigating a vast public-health and -economic crisis shares some important parallels with leadership during military conflicts. In this episode of the Inside the Strategy Room podcast, McKinsey senior partner Yuval Atsmon talks with three top US Air Force and Navy leaders about what corporate executives can learn from the practices of military commanders. Michael B. Donley served as the 22nd secretary of the US Air Force. He has 30 years of experience in the national security community, including service on the staffs of the United States Senate, White House, and Pentagon. C. Robert Kehler is a retired US Air Force general who served as commander of the US Strategic Command and of Air Force Space Command, among other positions. Eric Olson is a retired US Navy admiral who headed the US Special Operations Command. He is also the first Navy SEAL to be appointed to three-star and four-star flag rank. Yuval Atsmon—himself a former tank commander—is a coauthor of the recent article “Lessons from the generals: Decisive action amid the chaos of crisis.”

Yuval Atsmon: The coronavirus is a major global crisis that has imposed lockdowns on many communities. It threatens our lives and our economies, a double front that’s moving rapidly. The three of you know better than most about how to take decisive action in a crisis, but let me first ask you: Do you think the analogy with war is apt?

C. Robert Kehler: Well, we have used the wartime analogy for other major public-policy issues: the war on crime, the war on drugs, the war on poverty. I think there are many features of the COVID-19 crisis that lend themselves to this analogy as well. The demands it places on leaders are very much like wartime demands in terms of the need to articulate objectives and priorities and rally the public behind them. Certainly, this requires major national and intelligence organization. It requires planning and mobilization. It requires communication and innovation, a commitment of resources—all the same kinds of things you would talk about during war. It is also warlike in the need for allies. For maybe the first time, the entire world needs to be viewed as an ally in this crisis.

Black Lives Matter—for Social Justice, and for America’s Global Role

Stewart M. Patrick 

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other black Americans by police, and the sustained protests in their wake, present a test for the United States both at home and abroad. They underscore the structural racism that permeates American society and how far the nation remains from delivering on the Constitution’s promise of equal rights and justice for all. Globally, they threaten America’s longstanding, if uneven, role as the world’s leading champion of universal human rights. The success of the Black Lives Matter movement is critical, not only to achieve a more perfect union at home, but also to advance human liberty and dignity worldwide.

Since World War II, the United States has made the global promotion of human rights an explicit foreign policy objective. Eleanor Roosevelt shepherded negotiations on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and U.S. diplomats have spearheaded the drafting of the many human rights treaties, from the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The State Department issues annual reports on human rights in countries around the world, as well as assessments on the state of international religious freedom and progress against human trafficking. Abroad, human rights and democracy activists rely on U.S. support in their struggles against tyranny and oppression. .

15 June 2020

Asia and the Global Economy’s COVID-19 Plunge

By Catherine Putz

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a devastating toll on the global economy, with many analysts settling on the notion that the world is in for a recession as a result. But just how bad will the economic effects of the pandemic be?

This week the Wold Bank released its June 2020 Global Economic Prospects report with a grim headline: COVID-19 to Plunge Global Economy into Worst Recession since World War II. The global economy, the World Bank says, is now forecasted to shrink by 5.2 percent in 2020.

While all will suffer from the “swift and massive shock of the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown measures,” some will suffer less and others more. Advanced economies, for example, are anticipated to shrink 7 percent; emerging and developing economies will shrink too, but only by 2.5 percent. This is even more stark when looking at the regional breakdowns.

Of the World Bank regions which map onto those that we cover here at The Diplomat — East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, and South Asia — the East Asia and Pacific region is projected to fare the best, relatively, with growth slowing to .5 percent, the lowest rate since 1967. South Asia, the World Bank forecasts, could see a contraction of 2.7 percent in 2020 and Europe and Central Asia a contraction of 4.7 percent.

14 June 2020

Question: Are Viruses Actually Alive?

by Hugh Harris
Source Link

Viruses are an inescapable part of life, especially in a global viral pandemic. Yet ask a roomful of scientists if viruses are alive and you’ll get a very mixed response.

The truth is, we don’t fully understand viruses, and we’re still trying to understand life. Some properties of living things are absent from viruses, such as cellular structure, metabolism (the chemical reactions that take place in cells) and homeostasis (keeping a stable internal environment).

This sets viruses apart from life as we currently define it. But there are also properties that viruses share with life. They evolve, for instance, and by infecting a host cell they multiply using the same cellular machinery.

Many viruses can cut the DNA of infected cells and intertwine their own genetic material so that they are copied along with the DNA of their host whenever the cell divides. This process is called lysogeny and it can be contrasted with the more destructive lytic strategy of viruses where they multiply in great numbers within a cell, only to burst the cell open and spread out to infect other cells.