On March 17, at the German-French border, the German police were on duty near the “cross-strait bridge” in the German town of Kyle, and the border was closed. (Photo of Xinhua News Agency)
Even a country with a good relationship will be wary of each other.
Seeing that the number of diagnoses of British new coronary pneumonia continues to rise, French President Macron can’t sit still. On the evening of March 20th, he called the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
At that time, the messy-haired British leader had not been diagnosed with the New Crown Virus. In the face of the rampant British epidemic, he had decided to take unprecedented measures. London was “closing the city” and classes were suspended.
Macron clearly felt that this was not enough. Across the earpiece, he told Johnson that Britain must take tougher measures to curb the spread of the epidemic, otherwise France would have to close its border with Britain. French Prime Minister Edward Philip is also very dissatisfied with Britain’s epidemic prevention measures. He said in a televised speech that if Britain does not take more radical measures, British nationals will be banned from entering France.
The diplomatic communication among friendly allies is full of threats.
Closing the border is nothing new. Over the past month or so, the sound of closing doors has continually sounded on the border line, and even among the EU countries where the population has been flowing freely for more than 30 years, they have set up defense lines against each other. On March 14, Denmark banned all foreigners from entering; Austria closed three land borders with Italy-Italy is the most severely affected country in Europe; some border lines between Switzerland and Germany have been fenced The people who once traveled freely between the two countries could only speak across the barbed wire.
More than Europe, the US President Trump ordered the passage of Americans to and from Canada and Mexico and closed the door; the Chinese Embassy in Russia announced that the personnel passage at the China-Russia land border crossing has been temporarily closed; Paraguayan soldiers in the southern hemisphere, Armed with a gun and driving an armored car to the border city with Brazil, the blockade order was executed…
“It is equivalent to a world war, and human losses are very heavy. More than 1 million people have been infected and more than 100,000 people have died.” Wang Huiyao, founder and chairman of the Globalization Think Tank (CCG), said in an interview with this magazine, “There is also an economy. Loss, global shutdown, this is not in human history. Global shutdown is the first time.”
Pang Zhongying found that he was trapped in Singapore.
In January, Pang Zhongying, a senior researcher at the Chahar Society and a professor at the Ocean University of China, took a short holiday to Singapore as a visiting scholar. As the study came to an end, he had planned the time for returning home, but when he woke up, he found that the flight had been cancelled. “I continued to book again. I didn’t book it. I’ve been tossing it until now,” Pang Zhongying said.
He lived in a hotel and saw that the “Buddha” epidemic prevention Singapore controlled the spread of the first wave of outbreaks and was regarded by the outside world as a “anti-epidemic benchmark”. As a result, it now seems to be facing a second wave of epidemic attacks. With the return of foreign workers and Singapore citizens from other countries, the number of new infections in Singapore has increased dramatically.
Singapore had to adopt stronger control measures. On April 3, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered a national television speech announcing the government’s decision to take temporary measures called “Circuit Breaker”. From April 7 to May 4, all workplaces in Singapore that provide non-essential services will be closed. Previously, Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term document holders had to enter the country from abroad, but they only needed to be isolated at home. Now they must also be isolated at a place arranged by the government. Moreover, they must share cell phone location data with relevant departments to prove that they have complied with the isolation regulations issued by the government.
As a well-known domestic scholar of international relations, Pang Zhongying’s core research topic in the past 30 years has been “globalization, global issues and global governance.” Unexpectedly, in the most internationalized Singapore, he saw that global governance has entered a state of great isolation. Recalling the first international conference in Singapore, “One of the themes is interruption-“Interruption, Competition and Cooperation””, Pang Zhongying said that it is a bit of a flattering feeling to think of it now.
The interruption of globalization has been one of the research topics of the international academic community in recent years. In January 2019, the McKinsey Institute published a research report on “Navigating an Interrupted World” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Earlier, some scholars wrote the book “Big Global Interruption” to discuss All are rushing globalization and are entering a new and interrupted situation. The constant emergence of trade conflicts and the increased risk of local wars in the region are all possible reasons why people are worried about the interruption of globalization.
“I used to think of you against me, and I’m against you, fighting trade wars, economic wars, or other wars.” Wang Huiyao said, and finally encountered a virus attack from the natural world, making the world into a state of great isolation.
The changes in Singapore’s epidemic have cast a new shadow on the world war of the new coronavirus: even if a single country once controlled the epidemic, it may still suffer a second wave of attacks in the event of a global pandemic. Moreover, the “anti-epidemic benchmark” is still the case. India, Africa and other regions with poor medical conditions and large populations are even more dangerous. Zhang Wenhong, director of the Department of Infection of Huashan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University, said that if a new crown epidemic occurs in India and Africa, it will be a human disaster.
Fear of the virus has exacerbated the self-closure of countries. South Korea originally required only inbound passengers from certain countries to be quarantined. Now, this scope has been extended to all countries in the world. 151 countries around the world have implemented immigration prohibition measures against Korean citizens. Accordingly, South Korea has suspended the visa-free entry and landing visa measures for these countries, and has suspended the effectiveness of short-term visas issued by South Korean diplomatic agencies abroad.
Japan, which initially only isolated passengers, also fell to the border gates – all visas previously issued were temporarily invalidated, and residents of 73 countries and regions, including the United States, are prohibited from entering.
According to statistics, as of April 1, a total of 124 countries and regions in the world restricted flights/trains/ships, 71 countries and regions closed all or part of border crossings or strengthened quarantine, and 179 countries and regions imposed restrictions on personnel Sexual measures.
Such a severe state of isolation has almost never occurred. “Under war conditions and during a few refugee crises, border closures have occurred, but they are usually partial and bilateral,” said Wang Yiwei, a senior researcher at the Chahar Society and a researcher at the National Development and Strategy Research Institute of Renmin University of China. The interview said that countries around the world are basically isolated from each other. “Basically, there is little or no limited flow, which is unprecedented in the history of globalization.”
“Suez Canal Moment”
After the implementation of Singapore’s “circuit breaker”, Pang Zhongying would walk through the streets of Singapore’s Second Technology Park every day, just like the streets of many cities around the world, with rare people and empty streets. He occasionally remembered the son of a PhD student in the United States. On the afternoon of April 10th, Pang Zhongying listened to a Lang Lang piano at his residence, and suddenly thought that Lang Lang should be about the same age as his son. The family of three is trapped in three different countries.
After the borders of various countries have been closed one after another, global travel has almost stopped. In the previous world, many natural and man-made disasters have only affected the international movement of people in local areas. This time it was different. The international movement of people was greatly restricted. Most of the flights are stopped. Many people want to return to the country, but they can’t get a ticket. There is nowhere to escape except for protection against virus attacks on the spot.
On March 18, the Singapore and Johor Bahru city, the capital of Johor, Malaysia, was empty on the new Johor long embankment. (Photo of Xinhua News Agency)
Wang Yiwei noticed that the pattern of globalization is changing. From the previous capital flow and the flow of goods, to the present, the movement of people has also played an important role. More than four billion air passengers worldwide each year have become an important indicator of globalization. “This time it is no longer the globalization led by the United States and the West, nor the globalization led by capital, but the globalization of people, so the crisis of people is overshadowed (financial crisis, economic crisis).”
The old global order is not ready for the crisis brought about by population movement. The WHO has realized the global harm that the epidemic of infectious diseases may bring, but this unprecedented global pandemic has really appeared, and it still seems to be insufficient.
Compared with the World Bank, WTO and other international institutions, “WHO’s status gap is too large”, Wang Yiwei said that WHO does not have so much money, it is difficult for the World Bank to allocate billions or even tens of billions The scale of the US dollar; the IMF can even directly decide to forgive the debts of some countries; WHO’s coercion is also insufficient. Although the WTO is also constrained, it still has an arbitration court. WHO’s restraint on member countries is relatively weak, “more member countries take care of themselves.”
According to Xinhua News Agency, on April 7, US President Trump also publicly criticized WHO for its unresponsiveness and even threatened to stop paying dues to WHO.
Not only WHO, but UN Secretary General Guterres also felt the enormous pressure brought about by the epidemic. He bluntly said that the new crown pneumonia epidemic is the biggest test since the establishment of the United Nations.
“There is no doubt that the original design order of the United Nations can’t control this matter today.” Wang Yiwei said that the United Nations is based on the state as a unit to solve wars, conflicts, disasters and other issues between countries, but it is facing people. It has some helplessness in frequent cross-border movements.
In response to the crisis of globalization, it is clear that a national or international organization is required to coordinate more effectively. In the past 100 years, whether it is the two world wars or the global financial crisis, the United States and some major European countries have assumed this role. “In 2008, the global financial crisis, (the then US president) Obama also took the lead in the G20,” said Wang Yiwei. In this global epidemic crisis, the United States has not only failed to coordinate all parties to respond to the crisis, but has been creating conflicts. WHO, accusing China, in February, has not forgotten to increase the 25% tariffs imposed on European steel and aluminum derivatives.
“For four years, the Trump administration basically did not want the United States to continue to lead the world.” Pang Zhongying said, this is also the result of historical evolution. Since the end of World War II, the United States has spearheaded the establishment of international organizations such as the United Nations and has also paid the most dues. In the era of “the only superpower”, the United States has promoted global governance, all of which are historical facts. Today, “global challenges are becoming more and more complex. Under the pressure of populism and nationalism in the United States, the Trump administration is reluctant to lead this problem-filled world.”
Campbell, the former Assistant Secretary of State of the United States, also noticed this issue. He wrote in “Foreign Affairs” that the epidemic caused the United States to encounter a “Suez Canal Moment.” The article said that Britain’s poor operation to seize the Suez Canal in 1956 “exposed the decline of British power to the end, marking the end of Britain’s dominance in the world”.
In Pang Zhongying’s view, this is a dilemma in global governance. In the past few years, not only the WHO, but many international organizations have declined in influence. Last year, the WTO’s arbitration court shut down. The United States has also withdrawn from many international organizations and international framework agreements. At the same time, the United States’ own International influence is also declining. The lack of a strong coordinator has obviously made the global epidemic situation separate, and countries have more considerations based on their own interests.
There was once panic in Singapore.
Singapore’s land area is only 700 square kilometers, which is not as large as the Tongzhou District in Beijing. Although it has become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world by virtue of its internationalization and open genes, it is also because of its small size and almost all imports of materials, energy, and fresh water. Paul Teng, an expert in the field of food security at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, wrote in a report published in 2019, “Singapore’s food self-sufficiency rate is less than 10%. That is to say, more than 90% of food depends on imports.”
On March 16, Singapore’s neighboring country, Malaysia, announced a border restriction order. The Singaporean people were suddenly caught in food anxiety, and the daily supplies in the supermarket were snapped up. According to a set of data published by the World Bank, in 2018, 73% of eggs, 67% of leafy vegetables, 39% of fruits and 50% of water resources in Singapore came from Malaysia. Obviously, Singaporeans are worried that the supply chain of basic living materials will be interrupted with the global halt.
“The Singapore government dare not care.” Pang Zhongying said that Singapore’s transportation minister, health minister and other departments have been actively communicating with other countries to minimize the impact of the global shutdown on Singapore. On April 2, Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chen Zhensheng and Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan held a conference call, underlining that Singapore and China will ensure the free circulation of medical necessities and food supplies.
The impact of the global lockout is not just a food problem in some countries, but a bigger problem is the impact on the economy. “I think the 2008 financial crisis was just this exercise,” Harvard University economist Kenneth S. Rogoff said in an interview with the New York Times. “This has become the most recorded in the global economy in more than 100 years. Serious decline. Everything depends on how long it will last. If it lasts for a long time, it will surely become the root cause of all financial crises.”
The International Monetary Fund also published an article saying that in the last two weeks of March, nearly 10 million people in the United States applied for unemployment benefits. Such amazing growth has never happened before, even during the 2009 financial crisis. The organization predicts that in 2020, the world will face a recession that is worse than the financial crisis. The World Trade Organization also issued an outlook report, saying that the New Crown Virus Crisis is “unprecedented.” This year, global trade is expected to shrink by 13% to 32%, far exceeding the level of the 2008 financial crisis. The ILO predicts that there will be 1.25 billion working people in the world directly affected by the new crown epidemic.
Greater uncertainty comes after the epidemic. According to Xinhua News Agency, under the epidemic, a few American politicians are advocating “decoupling” from the Chinese economy. Peng Mei News Network quoted foreign media reports that 97% of the antibiotics in the United States come from China, and 80% of the active ingredients of the drugs come from China and India. The epidemic has led to a surge in the demand for medical masks. The Trump administration is considering introducing an executive order for the United States. Companies provide long-term incentives to produce drugs and medical products locally, reducing the US dependence on foreign drugs.
This is certainly not easy. As the Xinhua News Agency reported, the cost of transferring and rebuilding the industrial chain is too high. In the long run, China will still occupy an important position in the global manufacturing industry that is difficult to be shaken. But the US attitude towards China in the epidemic clearly added more uncertainties to the future.
The complex system of globalization has made this pandemic not only a problem of infectious diseases, but also a combination of economic problems, political conflicts, food crises, and even aging problems. Pang Zhongying cited the example of Japan, which is one of the countries with the highest aging in the world, and after being infected with the new coronavirus, the mortality rate of the elderly is the highest. “So Japanese Prime Minister Abe is said to be under great psychological pressure,” Pang Zhongying said. “Now it can be said that many kinds of crises are superimposed.”
Better or worse?
Kissinger, a 97-year-old American politician, recently remembered how he felt during World War II, when he was about to enter the battlefield as a young soldier of the 84th Infantry Division. “Now, like the end of 1944, there is a sense of danger that envelopes the world. It does not target any specific person, but a random and devastating blow.” Kissinger wrote in an article that he noticed In an era where prosperity depends on global trade and the movement of people, barriers are resurging. “The (New Corona Virus) attack on human health may be temporary, but the political and economic turmoil it causes may continue for generations.”
This is almost the consensus of all international political scholars: After the outbreak of the new coronavirus, the world pattern will change dramatically. The difference is that it is not clear whether it will get better or worse.
“Originally, globalization has brought profits and dividends. People welcome opening up and sing praises for globalization,” said Wang Yiwei, but now, the new crown epidemic, as well as the industry chain and economic problems superimposed on it, have made people aware of globalization. There are also negative and risk sides. The problems of nationalism and anti-globalization that existed before the epidemic may become more serious after the epidemic. Moreover, Wang Yiwei believes that the economy of many countries may collapse as a result, “like the country of Montenegro I have visited, 60% of the income is brought by tourists.”
“This world is going to be reorganized, which is certain.” Pang Zhongying said, but globalization will not be interrupted. Even if there is a real decoupling, like the United Kingdom, withdrawing from the EU, it still has to establish new ties with the EU. The same is true of international organizations. The epidemic exposed many problems of international organizations, “It actually needs to be further transformed and more fully centered on human life, human safety, and human health.”
“If we look at the epidemic as a turning point, before the epidemic, global governance was already in crisis.” Pang Zhongying believes that this epidemic has undoubtedly accelerated the development of the previous crisis. But relatively speaking, he is still optimistic about future changes.
Looking back in history, we can see that the League of Nations after World War I did not resolve the actual national conflicts, and eventually World War II broke out. However, after this, a more complex and efficient international system was gradually established. It was for the prosperity and freedom of the world. Played a huge role. Human nature is inherently selfish, and so is the country. “If the epidemic continues, everyone will fully realize that it is indeed on a boat. But this will take time.”
Moreover, even in this state of global isolation, Pang Zhongying can deeply feel that the connection is still there. “For example, at this moment, I heard the sound of a motorcycle outside through the window, heard the sound of walking and pushing the car.” Pang Zhongying said, this is the normal side of the world, and it continues. Not far from his residence, it is one of the world’s largest ports, Singapore Port, which can be seen through the window, the port is brightly lit, and the containers on the hangers continue to go up and down. “The world I see does not seem to stop completely. “.
Pang Zhongying: What should we do in the age of rupture?
Professor of Ocean University of China, Senior Research Fellow of Singapore Southeast Asia Research Institute, Senior Research Fellow of Chahar Society
Vista sees the world: Now, what impact will this epidemic have on the world?
Pang Zhongying: This epidemic has lasted for nearly half a year. The original global economic chain and the process of globalization have indeed been interrupted or interrupted. One is that the epidemic has led to the forced interruption of the global supply chain; the other is that the governments of various countries have adopted isolation measures, and the normal contacts within and between countries have been interrupted.
Our blow to globalization “break” or sudden “interruption” of life is not well prepared, and we never thought that such a situation would occur in the long-term world peace situation. In the past, world ties were too close, and the idea of globalization was pervasive. It was only after Trump was elected that he began to “de-globalize”, and people no longer took the world for “interdependence” and “interconnection” for granted.
Vista looks at the world: Singapore is a very important node in the globalization chain. What kind of changes will occur in such node cities after the epidemic?
Pang Zhongying: Singapore has a very high degree of internationalization and globalization, and it is an indispensable central city of system importance in the world economic system. The “break” caused by the epidemic basically occurred in a series of global central cities. As we can see, New York, London, and northern Italy—the richest part of Italy is its northern part. The epidemic has hit the central cities of the world even more, which means that the global economy is suffering huge trauma.
If compared with the catastrophe in New York and London, Singapore is a blessing. Although the number of infections has exceeded 2,000, the mortality rate is still very low. Shanghai, Hong Kong, Japan, Tokyo, Singapore and other central cities of the world economy are relatively lightly affected, which also means that the globalized world economy has not been “annihilated.” Speaking of which, I suggest that you can understand the world from the perspective of the world’s central cities.
Vista sees the world: Now in responding to the epidemic, each country has different methods, different ideas, and even separate policies. Why is this the case?
Pang Zhongying: The world is divided into large and small countries. Of course, the first thing to do when dealing with the epidemic is to do it alone. Some methods are quite useful for other countries. However, this also reflects another problem-at present, global governance is lacking.
Under the epidemic, the profound paradox of the world was exposed. The problem (outbreak) is global, but the response is lacking in global. In particular, during the four years of the US President Trump’s administration, the global governance body, the international organization, has been despised by the United States. The United States is a major contributor to the United Nations and international organizations of the United Nations system (including the World Health Organization). Before the crisis, the reforms of the United Nations and other international organizations were unsuccessful, and they were hit by the epidemic with various problems. International organizations should have played an indispensable central role in this epidemic. Some international organizations have also been hit hard. During and after the epidemic, the reconstruction of international organizations is the key to rebuilding the world order after the epidemic.
The United States under the Trump administration is criticizing the World Health Organization and intends to stop its assistance to WHO. However, the United Kingdom under the Johnson administration provides a lot of assistance to WHO. The positions of the United States and Britain towards WHO have shown differences. Despite being criticized by the Trump administration and facing enormous international political pressure, WHO still plays a central role in alleviating the epidemic. The vast majority of African countries and other developing countries need the assistance of WHO.
But don’t worry, there will be global operations. We have seen that the G20 held the first video special summit in history on March 26. UN Secretary General Guterres also called for global unity to fight against common challenges on April 1. Therefore, we have to give the United Nations and other international organizations time. Don’t easily conclude that global governance has collapsed.
Vista looks at the world: But you can be sure that after this battle, international organizations still have to transform.
Pang Zhongying: Yes, it needs further transformation to realize the great transformation that has not yet been achieved. International organizations need to be more people-centered. Human life, human safety, and human health are more important than anything.
Countries should use diplomatic channels or diplomatic means instead of resorting to political disputes and using force to solve problems caused by public health crises. At present, it is necessary to prevent and govern international relations that tend to deteriorate due to public health disputes.
Now, the people of the world, decision makers of various countries, universities, think tanks, companies, etc., must all have a calm spirit. With the epidemic completely globalized, it is almost impossible to be alone. It is only through international cooperation, global cooperation, and collective action to fight against the epidemic and overcome it.
Wang Yiwei: Where is the future world going?
Senior Researcher of Chahar Society, Researcher of National Development and Strategy Research Institute of Renmin University of China
Vista looks at the world: Looking back at history, every time a world crisis is encountered, it will bring new changes to global governance. With the League of Nations after World War I, the United Nations and a complex international organization system after World War II, this outbreak, Will it bring new changes to global governance?
Wang Yiwei: I think this is a very critical issue. The Secretary-General of the United Nations also said that this epidemic is the biggest challenge that the United Nations has faced since its establishment. There is no doubt that the original order designed by the United Nations is incapable of facing today’s crisis. At this time, there must be a new organization, which requires a process.
What should it look like? First, it is no longer controlled by a small number of people or a small number of countries, the mechanism should be more equal; second, it should not only serve capital, but should consider issues such as human safety and human health.
The United Nations is currently based on the country as a unit. The rules are designed to maintain post-war stability, peace and development. It is not a matter of developing peace now, but a fatal risk that emerges after the global movement of population. In the future, another operating rule should be established, taking people as the unit.
Vista looks at the world: In this way, in the future globalization, more attention should be paid to human management and safe services.
Wang Yiwei: Yes. More cautious and controllable, from capital-oriented to people-oriented, this epidemic will produce a series of conceptual changes.
From the globalization of capital to the globalization of people, this is a transitional stage. From the original world order with the United Nations as the center and the country as the unit, the transition to a human-oriented order has taken place. During the transition period, chaos may occur for a long time.
Vista looks at the world: In this transition process, there is still a more troublesome problem. Nationalism and populism continue to combine and ferment. How will this affect the post-epidemic world?
Wang Yiwei: Undoubtedly, the first thing that goes wrong is the priority of national interests. In recent years, the terrorism and refugee crisis, and now the new coronary pneumonia epidemic, many countries do not have the ability to take care of everything, just take care of themselves. Like the United States, if it has the ability to lead the world, it will not give up, and now feel that the cost is too high and gradually shrink.
Objectively, technological progress, personalized consumption, and extensive use of new media have also created a tendency for nationalist sentiment at the global level.
This is bound to have a negative impact on globalization.
It is for this reason that reverse globalization has been so popular in recent years. This is not a short-lived phenomenon, it is common, and the negative effects and risks brought by this trend of thought are increasing. This requires vigilance. Just look at the history. During the Great Depression, the global capitalist financial crisis, Hitler finally came to power through this trend.