Saturday, April 25, 2020


The Covid-19 situation challenges politicians and scientists. They are trying to come to terms with these dramatic developments, with respect and concern. Governments start to understand that this emergency is also an existential one. It is becoming clear that the post-Corona world will be different. The former fundamentals and norms--social fabric, health care, communication, international structures--will have to be reviewed and corrected. For Europeans, the EU in this was,  sadly, an almost-absent partner. 

Existing governance models failed. It remains an uphill battle to control the progress of this new plague, let alone to find adequate therapies and logistics. Never was the need for a new multilateral strategy greater. Never was the opposition to a global approach more strident. 

Nation states saw their devolution apparatus defaulting. They need to re-calibrate power so that the management of urgencies and priorities don't get lost in petty quarrels over who does what or who is best. A certain former philosophy of power sharing might have met an inglorious end. After all, the many 2020  priorities (climate, health, redistribution, A.I., Technologies versus labor) require a more centralized power structure. The Belgian situation (Snow White and 7 Dwarfs) is the perfect but absurd illustration for how things should not be done. True, the prime minister tries to correct and steer the better way forward, but at what cost?  The southern European countries were badly hit. Italy and Spain are nevertheless living up to a message that is both one of enlightened determination and existential depth.

Indeed, many countries have taken courageous, often creative measures to deal with situations that looked as being out of control. The economic and financial consequences will be enormous. These will put pressure on the governments to get their act together and face a different post-Corona quest for a coherent management of the future. As much as support was organised to alleviate the post-World War II trauma, a new set of even larger guidelines must be arrived at. The world faces a new grand depression. Too many will never recover from financial loss. A perverse perception is also creating a generational conflict, by stealth. The pandemic reignited hidden class and habitat frustrations that need to be addressed.

Elsewhere, the current American president cannot be counted on to be party to a common management of the future. He is just not interested. He has made the US a "dispensable nation"(Vali Nasr). Unfortunately he has also made it unpleasant. He started his term with the infamous carnage speech. He will end his first term with his reputation in tatters. Many think this term does not need to be repeated.

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