Wednesday, May 13, 2020


It will be one of the riddles of the future:   Why do governments manage the pandemic as an occurrence, and not as a watershed? Everywhere, the crisis managers do their utmost to alleviate/stop this most nefarious crisis. Nevertheless we will probably arrive at a chaotic finish-line because the winners will be few and the late comers many. Hence, the improved outcome of some will always be hazardous as long as the curse continues elsewhere. The infantile satisfaction derived from a claustrophobic calculus is self-defeating.

In this interconnected world it is a question of life and death to abandon the wreckage of populism for a more multilateral therapy. The post-battle panorama will be one of wounded economies, increased social disparities and crushed expectations. No country can live in the illusion that it can recover by itself. Before travel, transport, investment, research, trade and finance can restart, they will need to benefit from the prior infusions of an international clearing house. A civil war is going on in the United States between reason and "tweets". So be it, but the major--unfortunately grotesque--player should not stand in the way of others who are willing to share and pool the burden. If the US try to sabotage major global agreements, let them. The other parts of the world have the moral, creative intellectual cloud to find ways out of the disaster area  till a change of hearts and minds arrives in Washington.

One has to face the harsh reality that the post-Corona world will be totally different. Besides, it is for now impossible to even attempt projecting a time-frame. It is naive to represent bogus facts as victories, the more so that there is no gain if the plague continues next door or multiplies farther on. The myopic improvements will not make planes flying, trains rolling, people travelling, exchanges and investment restarting. There will not be sufficient means to repair the damage, to compensate for the losses in income and to restart a social recovery in this new Dickens-like urban landscape.

Leaders have approached the calamity with their own temperament: President Macron through ambitious philosophical rhetoric, Chancellor Merkel by smart guidelines, President Putin mostly by absence, President Xi Jinping by hauteur, President Bolsonaro by crimes and misdemeanors, President Trump by lies and insult.

Put together they all look mostly lost in contradiction. Therefore there is need for a global agenda before the situation gets out of hand. What good is the EU for if the internal market risks becoming a thing of the past?  What good is the UN if Manhattan is becoming a forbidden dream?  The same goes mutatis mutandis for Mercosur, the BRICS, the Shanghai Co-operation, the Gulf co-operation, etc.  Another danger is that the Trump administration will use this crisis to further its unpleasant agenda, by stealth.

Since the former master of rapprochement is now absent there still might be a thin chance in November that a change of American administration can stop the spread of an evil agenda. No doubt that President Biden would reclaim the heritage of FDR and pursue the goal for a rebuilding and reorganizing, which will take a generation, before the wounds will heal.

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