The debilitating blow inflicted by pandemic was supposed to unite the Great powers against common enemy of humanity. Ironically, the schism between global North and global South is burgeoning concomitant with vaccination drive which disproportionately benefits haves over haves not. The Pollyannaish vision of hyper-globalized interconnected world is fading from memory while specter of fragmented ‘durable anarchy’ seems to be writing on the wall. The ensuing vaccine nationalism has already pitted China, US, Russia, UK and Israel into bitter competition while Machiavellian vaccine diplomacy to win strategic partners depicts that far from tempering geopolitical rivalries, the pandemic is exacerbating the existing geopolitical fault-lines. Core states are fast accelerating towards herd immunity while peripheral states are battling the worst waves of infection. Since, vaccines and aids are already shaping contours of post-pandemic world order, its blatantly evident that Great Powers now wield astronomical power to coerce and cajole vulnerable states of global periphery. Sardonically, globalized economic landscape was envisioned to foster cooperation and mutual reinforcement during taxing times but new world economic order is already witnessing the cold clash of titans over meager resources. The pandemic induced global financial recession has already engulfed colossal conglomerates and mighty business ventures. Against the backdrop of global economic meltdown, Great Power competition is rearing its ugly head again. Hence, Pandemic and prospects of medical holocaust have drastically changed everything, except our way of thinking.
It takes decades for a country to become ‘leader of free world’ or ‘indispensable nation’ for global governance. Sardonically With Great Powers and colossal military-economic might comes great responsibility. The world`s big guns possess the capacity and material resources to shape the post-pandemic world order in accordance with ideological principles and values. This privilege is not enjoyed by marginalized and weak states of, the narrow definitions of national interests and domestic political designs compel even the intellectually sound global leaders to advance mutually destructive foreign policy agendas. The time is ripe to change this Manichean worldview of zero-sum competition and embrace responsible “competitive co-existence’ to best combat the collective challenges.
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