The pandemic is having dramatic effects on everyday life, global prosperity, international security, and geopolitics. It is a transformative shock, and its negative effects on the global economy are a secondary shock.
Unemployment is rising, global supply chains are breaking down, the US-China great-power rivalry has intensified, the risk of conflict in the Western Pacific has increased, the virus is spreading rapidly in Russia and could overwhelm its fragile health care system, NATO is facing weakened military readiness, US-EU tensions have risen, India could face a disaster if the outbreak picks up steam, and the WHO faces a crisis of legitimacy over slow response and undue deference to China.
Policy recommendations include a “Counter-Coronavirus Coalition” to implement strong joint measures, with the US acting as global leader in the crisis and seeking to strengthen global public health institutions. The US and allies should work together to rebuild the global economy and lead the reordering of national security priorities, broaden the national security concept to include security against pandemics, and ensure that disinformation is countered.
Note: This Strategy Paper is a follow-on to What World Post-COVID 19: Three Scenarios. A third paper in the series will propose “a comprehensive US and allied strategy for responding to the crisis and emerging stronger from the pandemic with a revitalized rules-based order.”