COVID-19 Pandemic's impact on Global Politics


A slew of international and domestic political issues has arisen because of the worldwide epidemic. The COVID-health crisis is an external shock to the global system, affecting international politics and causing new tensions between foes and friends. It will likely have far-reaching repercussions and long-term consequences for geopolitics.

Political leaders from major countries such as the United States and China may try to use the crisis to gain an advantage in the global political order's continuous battle for hegemony. 

States have been left scrambling to gather enough supplies and resources to properly combat the virus in many cases, prioritizing national interest and the well-being of their own populations.

The US, for example, asked to stop supplying protective masks to Canada and Latin American nations so that they could keep them for domestic usage. In the rush to produce a vaccine for the virus, a type of "vaccine nationalism" emerged, which erected hurdles to collaboration and favored local delivery once mass manufacturing began. The pandemic has the potential to intensify existing inter-state political tensions. COVID, for example, has the potential to exacerbate tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.

We might witness greater entrenchment of the armed status quo, as well as local initiatives to emphasize the weakness of Indian administration in Kashmir, while political leaders in both nations focus on battling the virus. 

Hardline Indian nationalist initiatives might potentially be utilized to shift public attention away from the COVID situation. The magnitude of the pandemic danger, on the other hand, is likely to focus attention in India and Pakistan on the urgent needs for public health services and the need to alleviate domestic economic distress. Politicians in countries with supranational governance institutions, such as the European Union, have had disagreements over new policies.

Despite disagreements during the negotiating process, EU member states finally reached an agreement on an economic recovery plan in July, despite reservations from so-called "frugal" nations about the plan's cost. 

However, debates over seasonal migrant labor have fueled tensions inside the EU, with certain businesses, particularly farmers, seeking access to foreign workers and populist leaders advocating for tougher immigration controls. The epidemic has also exacerbated pre-existing international issues around people migration.

Asylum seekers and refugees have been hit especially hard, especially as the epidemic threatens to exacerbate current humanitarian situations.

Temporary economic migrants have also been affected by the epidemic, particularly because of the economic crisis, which has led many businesses to lay off workers. Even though governments have implemented economic measures to help enterprises, temporary migrants are frequently left out of these programs.

Some governments are also contemplating changing migration restrictions and drastically altering how they handle asylum applications, such as limiting face-to-face interviews, erecting additional physical obstacles, or even encouraging asylum seekers to bring their own black or blue ink pens. 

Internal migration has also been impacted by the epidemic, with several countries imposing travel restrictions. In a variety of ways, the public health issue is impacting internal political conflicts.

Some politicians, for example, used the outbreak for partisan political benefit during post-Brexit discussions between the UK and the EU. 

In certain circumstances, politicians have questioned experts' authority, eroding voters' faith in evidence-based understanding.

To further their beliefs, they have often mischaracterized or usurped scientific expertise on problems such as mask wearing. 

In several nations, political division has fueled and worsened debate about the epidemic, creating tensions between regional/state and national/federal political authorities. Calls for unity and concerted action, on the other hand, have occasionally served to bridge ideological and party divisions.

The pandemic offers distinct threats to state stability, potentially amplifying the dangers of political violence, internal armed conflict, and state failure. 

Rebel organizations and other militant players have taken advantage of chances to expand their power, further political goals, and demonstrate their ability to administer and enforce norms. 

Armed groups operating along Colombia's southwest coast, for example, have publicly said that curfew offenders will be viewed as "military objectives."

In some situations, COVID- has given armed opposition groups the opportunity to ramp up assaults and target government opponents, while in others, the opportunity has been used to enhance claims of legitimacy and demonstrate their ability to deliver public services and rule.

To combat the pandemic, the Islamic State, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda affiliates, for example, have all offered instruction and local support. The pandemic has also had an impact on political engagement. Protest politics, for example, has been a hot topic of discussion.

On the one hand, residents in certain nations have turned to the streets to protest government measures aimed at containing the virus, such as lockdown and stay-at-home orders.

Protests like as those organized by Black Lives Matter activists throughout the world, on the other hand, were a source of debate as people and political leaders debated whether such events led to fresh COVID outbreaks.

Election politics are also affected by the consequences on political engagement. Local and national political leaders in several nations, for example, have opted to postpone elections or rethink voting rules and practices.

Governments have taken efforts to ensure social separation, health, and safety during the voting process, such as expanding the use of postal voting or establishing measures to ensure social distance, health, and safety during the voting process.

Traditional customs and behaviors such as shaking hands have been restricted, which has had an influence on campaign activities.

Furthermore, political gatherings pose a significant health danger for the virus's transmission. This aspect becomes particularly salient after former US President Donald Trump started large-scale political campaign activities immediately after his COVID treatment hospitalization.

Other politicians used virtual rallies and events to commemorate significant campaign milestones, such as the Democratic Party's announcement of a presidential candidate in August. COVID- has also influenced the substance of political campaigns and party politics. Issues like as public health and socioeconomic and racial inequality, for example, have grown increasingly prominent, and historically split parties have converged on more similar viewpoints on fiscal prudence and public expenditures.

When it comes to politicians, law enforcement, and the media, among others, TRUST is a critical component of political life.

High-profile instances of politicians disobeying their own stay-at-home directives, or openly contradicting or undermining health professionals can cause widespread misunderstanding and erode public faith.

The politicization of topics such as obligatory mask wearing demonstrates how a lack of consensus and diverse approaches may thwart public health initiatives and foster suspicion not just of politicians but also of law enforcement authorities entrusted with enforcing compliance.

In some situations, lawbreakers have retaliated violently against cops executing the new legislation. 

Members of an extreme militia were detained in relation to suspected intentions to abduct Michigan's governor and put her on trial for draconian pandemic policies in a particularly spectacular instance.

Furthermore, by adopting framing strategies or prioritizing certain material as they disseminate information to the public, the media can have a compounding influence on public trust (or lack thereof). 

Political trust can be exacerbated using social media by politicians to promote disinformation regarding COVID and associated legislation.

You may also want to read more analysis about the COVID-19 Pandemic here.