Henry Kissinger: pandemic will forever change the world order

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The surreal atmosphere of the Covid-19 pandemic reminds me of my impressions when I served as a young man in the 84th Infantry Division during World War II. Now, as at the end of 1944, there is a feeling of a common hidden danger that threatens not just an individual, but everyone, knocking out fighters from our ranks without any logic and with terrible damage to everyone. But there is a big difference between that time and ours.

Then the resistance of the United States was very great thanks to a single national goal. Now we live in a divided country, and we need a visionary and effective government to overcome the dangers that are unprecedented in scale and globality. For public solidarity, public trust must be maintained. This is necessary to maintain good relations between societies,

Nations survive and prosper on the basis of the belief that their institutions (institutions) can foresee the impending disaster, overcome it, and then restore stability. When the Covid-19 pandemic is over, institutions in many countries will be sentenced: “You failed.” How fair this sentence is, does not matter. The main thing is this: the world will never again be the same as before the coronavirus. And disputes about the past are useless today – they only prevent us from doing what should be done in the future.

Coronavirus struck with unprecedented strength and scale of losses. Its expansion is exponential: the number of infections in the US doubles every five days. As I write these lines, there is no cure for this misfortune and is not yet in sight. The supply of medical equipment is insufficient to deal with incoming waves of infections. Intensive care units were on the verge of collapse. Testing is still inadequate due to its small scale that does not match the scale of the infection. We should wait 12-18 months for an effective vaccine.

The US administration did a good job of avoiding an immediate disaster. In general, the work of the administration will be assessed by how soon it will be possible to stop the spread of the virus, and then expand its displacement in such a way that it is possible to maintain the confidence of the Americans about the ability of their government to manage the country. Moreover, efforts to overcome the crisis, no matter how powerful they may be, should not overshadow our immediate goal – in parallel with the fight against infection, create a “post-viral” world order.

Leaders fight the crisis on a state basis, but the devastating effects of the crisis on the human race do not recognize boundaries. The damage to public health will be only temporary, but the political and economic chaos caused by this virus can drag on for generations. No country, including the United States, can overcome the crisis alone. Solving the problems of the current moment should be combined with a global cooperation program. If we can’t do both, we’ll get the worst case scenario – a present in the present and in the future.

Learning from the experience of the Marshall Plan and the Manhattan Project obliges the United States to make efforts to make efforts in three directions. First, global resistance to infectious diseases needs to be strengthened. The triumphs of medicine such as a polio vaccine and the eradication of smallpox, medical diagnoses from artificial intelligence – all of them somehow euthanized our vigilance. We need new technologies for infection control, as well as appropriate vaccines – with their application to huge masses of the population. Cities, states and regions should prepare for the protection of their populations – using the accumulation of medical equipment, emergency planning and access to the forefront of science.

Secondly, we must try to heal the wounds of the global economy. World leaders learned many lessons from the financial crisis of 2008. The current crisis is more complex: the convulsive decline in production caused by the coronavirus has no analogues in history in terms of speed and scale. And the necessary measures to maintain public health, such as the prohibition of direct human contact and the closure of schools and businesses, all add to the pain of economic losses. Our programs should mitigate the impact of impending chaos on the most vulnerable parts of humanity.

Thirdly, we need to maintain the principles of a liberal world order. Yes, in the distant memory of modern governments, this prototype of any power is always preserved: a city outside the wall, protected by powerful leaders, sometimes despotic, and sometimes gracious, but always ready to protect their people from an external enemy.

Thinkers of the Enlightenment expanded this concept, saying that the goal of a state based on law is to satisfy the fundamental needs of the population: to provide security, order, economic prosperity, and justice. Individuals cannot provide all these benefits without a state. But what happened after the pandemic began – suddenly anachronism came to life and moved. The city was resurrected behind the wall at the very moment when prosperity became most dependent on global trade and the free movement of people.

In these conditions, it is especially important for world democracies to combat this image of the “city behind the wall”, to protect and strengthen the values ​​of the Enlightenment. The universal preference for saving power over legitimate chaos can cause us to break the long-standing “social agreement” ( “social contract” – the term of the philosophers of the Enlightenment, used by Leo Tolstoy in “War and Peace” – approx. Ed .).

This contract we need will be torn both within the United States and internationally. But now is not the time for a thousand-year debate about choosing honey as a saving power and an ineffective desire to do everything and everything according to the law. We will not solve this dilemma during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now we need self-restraint on all sides – both in domestic politics and in international diplomacy. Priorities should be set.

Then, in World War II, from the fighting in Europe, we moved on to a world of growing prosperity and ever-increasing human dignity. And now we live in an epoch-making period. The challenge to all of us from history is to cope with the crisis and build the future. Failure can lead to a global fire.


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