The COVID19 pandemic has been perceived as a serious challenge to the existing world order. Since the end of the Cold War, neoliberalism has dominated the international system. The emergence of globalization had led to the integration of the world and increased the speed of tourism and trade, which reconceptualized the prevailing theories in IR. The COVID19 has not only completely halted the speed of trade and tourism but also questioned the US supreme leadership in the international system. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the worsening of the already conflicted relations between both US and China, even as both sides are engaged in blaming each other about the occurrence of the Coronavirus.
Moreover, all the nations, including the nations of the global South, are dealing with the crisis individually. Neither the US nor any of the international agencies have come forward to address the crisis. In the past, the US and global agencies like WHO acted more responsibly to deal with problems like SARS and Ebola. The US withdrawal of economic assistance to WHO has further shattered its image as a global leader. These developments have led various scholars and policymakers to argued that there would be a change in the global world order in the post-COVID 19 periods.
The Changing dynamics of US-China relations might implicate the foundations of the existing world order. Both the US and China have been involved in a trade war. The US fears that China’s aggressive advancements in artificial intelligence, drone technology, and 5G would pose a threat to US technologies and business models created by Silicon Valley. China’s success in 5G is likely to displace the US as the main platform of information technology, and it can be used to influence the political calculations of people at the individual level. The Chinese power expansion in the South China Sea, the Indo-Pacific region, and the Indian Ocean is also cause of serious concern to the US.
China’s growing technological and economic power is certainly posing a threat to the US supreme power position, but it cannot lead to the emergence of China as a global leader. China is still behind the US in most competitive fields like soft power, hard power, alliances, energy capacity, and intellectual and knowledge-based industry. Besides, the revisions in US and Western countries’ laws and policies due to COVID19 might cause another blow to the Chinese economic power.
Due to suspected suppression of facts regarding the COVID19 outbreak, China has lost its credibility all over the world. China’s authoritarian political system, lack of transparency, and lack of political legitimacy became clearer in the course of this.
*** The author is an Associate Prof. at Department of Political Science of Satyawati College at Delhi University ***