By Dr. ZHANG Yuan

Fighting COVID-19: Cooperation and the New World Order

July 3, 2020 - 13:24
(The Post-hegemonic Order in the Post-epidemic Era Should be an International Order without Absolute Hegemony)

In 2020, all countries are facing multiple pressures to curb turbulent epidemic pressures, gain economic recovery, ease financial crises, inspire people, and rebuild public confidence.

The COVID-19 crisis rapidly promotes the process of international institution reform and accelerates the formation of new world order. Although the global spread of COVID-19 has not completely stopped, the urgent desire to facilitate the resumption of work and reopen the economy is the same all around the world. 

Since informed the WHO and other countries the unknown Pneumonia as soon as was identified and released the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus, China has effectively curbed the New Coronavirus Pneumonia epidemic through difficult, brave but confident epidemic prevention and control campaign. China is open, transparent, and responsible for releasing information and sharing China's experience in virus control and the treatment of infected cases for promoting international cooperation. The epidemic is currently entering the gratifying stage of epidemic prevention and control, and full-scale resumption of work, resumption of business activities, and resumption of normal daily life have orderly returned in China.

Both China and West Asian countries are active participants in the fight against the epidemic, and they are promoters and practitioners of international anti-pandemic cooperation. The COVID-19 epidemic is forcing world reforms and accelerating the formation of new world order. In what form should the future world order benefit the people and benefit the governance of all countries, it is currently a major international political issue that people are generally concerned about. Between the initiative and the passive, the views that contributed to the new world order are constantly colliding, and the political efforts to build the world order are constantly being restructured repeatedly.

To protect the health of the people, improve public health security, and make the future a better world, the future, and the new world order should first attach importance to and encourage all forms of international cooperation, taking the opportunity of contemporary health cooperation. Secondly, the ideal future world order should be multi-polar and abandon political stereotypes. Thirdly, it is more meaningful for the new world to stabilize and rehabilitate the economy and ensure people's livelihood than exacerbate political-ideological disputes. Finally, it is also extremely important that the new world order is dedicated to satisfying the common wellbeing of prosperity and stability, rather than competing for or preempting any world supremacy.

Firstly, the new world order requires comprehensive international cooperation. The ongoing battle against the COVID-19 epidemic shows a truth: the virus has no borders, and public health security threats that may affect people's daily life also have no borders. Mankind is a closely connected community of shared future. To overcome the epidemic, sincere and professional international cooperation is necessary.

During this epidemic period, China took the initiative to build a platform for multilateral cooperation and communication. Taking June as an example, "Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19" and "High-level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation" are two of the most notable via video conferences that mainly focus on developing countries.

Likely when China was hit hardest by COVID-19, friendly countries expressed their sympathy and assistance to China. When countries facing the epidemic pressure, China has actively given the human, material, financial and technical support, and assistance to the countries by Chinese experience in fighting the epidemic. 

The new international order's composition is inseparable from big responsible powers and healthy international institutions working together to provide global public goods jointly.

Secondly, the new world order should be an unbiased multi-polarization system. The ideal future world order should be multi-polarized and should abandon political stereotypes. Promoting the international community's joint cooperation to fight against COVID-19 calls for support to the international mechanism represented by WHO to play a role in the global anti-epidemic cooperation and maintain the status and role of the United Nations.

A fair international order is also related to whether backward countries that do not have sufficient healthcare infrastructure and vaccine research capability can also have fair access to treatment and prevention of COVID-19.

Effective protection, enforced quarantine and isolation, monitor examination and testing, clinical treatment, epidemiological tracking, information sharing, vaccine research, and many fields are inseparable from the cooperation of developed and developing countries.

When irresponsible and irrational populist politicians are busy playing the blame game, successful communication and mutual help among professional medical experts and professional technical teams from various countries are still modeling the impression that multilateral cooperation is still feasible and effective.

West Asia's epidemic news is not hesitant to report on China's achievements in resuming work and resuming business, nor are they afraid to criticize the US government for its ineffective treatment. It is an expression of unbiasedness and upholding international justice.
The direction of future international order should abandon the Cold War mentality and respect the true national capabilities and governance levels of all countries. The comparative advantage between countries is reflected in their governance capabilities, not so-called the pros and cons of the political system.

Thirdly, the new world order should focus on economic development. Jointly boosting the economy, securing the wellbeing of humanity, improving people's livelihood, and ensuring world prosperity is more meaningful than political-ideological disputes. In the post-epidemic era, revitalizing the economy is a priority for developing countries and a major test for developed countries' governments.

The rising global economic recession crisis and turbulent financial markets make the international community's top priority restoring the world's economy by ensuring and maintaining the openness, stability, security of the global industrial and supply chain.

Propagating political stereotypes, advocating populism, building trade barriers, and advocating "de-globalization" are not helpful for economic development. The consequences of stigmatization of fighting the pandemic and politicization of the virus will impact on low-income countries' fight against the epidemic.

 So, continuing to promote BRI construction will help all countries in the world work together to restore the economy. BRI is China's manifestation of a responsible member and a manifestation of the humanitarian spirit of working together in the international community.
Finally, countries living in the new international order should not compete for supremacy. It is noble to satisfy people's wellbeing to prosperity and stability for every government, rather than taking advantage of the strategic opportunities created by the epidemic to pursue any world hegemony.

COVID-19 poses a grave threat to all countries and their government. Governments' response measures do not inherently have policy advantages from any transcendental ideology or political position. China advocates cooperation, not a competition, not conflict. Neither the United States nor Western countries that historically have economic advantages over China should let go of their arrogance and prejudice towards China.

In the presence of a common health security crisis, pragmatic cooperation will be used to lay a solid foundation for mutual trust and solid mutual trust to create a more stable and prosperous community of shared future.

The pandemic accelerated the changing of the new world order. Unreasonable unilateralism will only erode the already crumbling soft power appeal. The post-hegemonic order in the post-epidemic era should be an international order without absolute hegemony. This new international order is not international anarchy, but a multi-polar, jointly consultative international order full of confidence in cooperation.

Dr. Yuan ZHANG is Professor and Director of the Religion in the Middle East Research Program of the Middle East Studies Institute (MESI) of Shanghai International Studies University (SISU).

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