By bringing numerous deaths and a drastic economic downturn, coupled with increasingly noticeable political divisions, the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming one of the most serious challenges in human history.
The only answer to the combined challenge of the pandemic and the economic crisis, said an expert at Wednesday’s Global Think Tank Webinar－which had the theme “Stronger together: Global recovery from COVID-19″－is to unite humanity and jointly create more effective tools for global governance. He also warned that intentionally sparking a new cold war will create a significant additional obstacle to world economic recovery.
“We have the task of restoring trust among nation-states. The only alternative to blackmail is dialogue. The only alternative to the arbitrary application of sanctions is a reliable and effective mechanism for world trade. The only alternative to unilateralism is adherence to international law,” said Alexander Lomanov, from IMEMO RAN in Moscow.
Based on the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind, the webinar was hosted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and China Daily to advocate effective and resolute international pandemic prevention and control efforts, call for greater macroeconomic policy coordination, and promote international collaboration to tackle the great challenges to global public health security and economic and social development.
“The problem is that statements about international solidarity in the absence of real solidarity between countries do not help to overcome the global crisis in any way,” Lomanov said, adding that the current situation for international cooperation is difficult.
He said that against the backdrop of an obvious lack of global leadership, countries with effective public administration systems will be able to overcome difficulties and return to economic growth, while countries with weak and inefficient systems will sink into prolonged stagnation or decline.
“In the worst-case scenario, the new global depression could last until the end of this decade,” he said.
Addressing the performance of global epidemic control, he said the world community failed to fully utilize the potential of international organizations to fight the pandemic in the first half of this year.
And he was pessimistic about future international economic cooperation.
“Previous experience does not allow us to assess the prospects for joint action in this area with optimism,” Lomanov said. “There is a lack of willingness to work together outside the frameworks of some regional economic associations.”
He also warned that some countries wanted to use the crisis to put additional pressure on external opponents.
“The attempt of the single superpower to launch a new cold war against China, in hope that this war will end in favor of the West according to the scenario of the 20th century, will lead to an artificial and dangerous split of the world community in the period of double crisis,”Lomanov said.
“The political events of 2020 demonstrate that the West made an irrational choice in favor of confrontation with China.
“This choice prevails over economic rationality, which requires joint efforts to promote economic globalization and expand the liberal system of international trade.”
Lomanov said that artificially imposing a new bipolarity on the world will inevitably exacerbate the problems of global inequality and increase the gap between developed and developing countries. The formation of two competing economic alliances that strive for technological leadership and do not allow the advanced products of the opponent to enter their markets will be a source of increased economic costs and a brake on the commercial spread of new technologies.
“From the point of view of human morality, attempts by one country to preserve its greatness by destroying the economies of other countries, suppressing their innovative potential, and arbitrarily restricting market access are intolerable,” he said.”However, in reality, this is what happens.”
Lomanov said the “zero-sum game” mentality has become the foundation of the foreign policy of the most powerful and influential nation in the modern world, but such a policy is not farsighted or sustainable.
“The strategy of subordinating the interests of the world community to the interests of one nation is doomed to fail in the long term,” he said.
ALEXANDER V.LOMANOV, deputy director for Scientific Work, head of the Center for Asia Pacific Studies of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on intellectual and political trends in contemporary China.