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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchIs COVID-19 a Geopolitical Game-Changer?

Is COVID-19 a Geopolitical Game-Changer?

Author: Michel Duclos

Affiliation: Institut Montaign

Organization/Publisher: Institut Montaign

Date/Place: March 24, 2020/ Paris, France.

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 2704


Keywords: Covid-19, Future Geopolitics, Post-Covid-19, World Towards China.


Michel Duclos, former ambassador of France to Syria, begins his pandemic analysis by asking the question of whether we should start thinking of potential effects on world politics from the new coronavirus COVID-19, but that building a general theory on the geopolitics of the pandemic is premature as the virus has not really reached the Global South. However, empirical views of the pandemic outbreak imply the weakness of global health governance on the one hand, and a potential shift in a geopolitical center of gravity from US towards China on the other hand. Due to both a partial withdrawal by the US in international politics and a discord of major powers, international institutions have known a weakening phase. The major powers’ recession, accelerated by the pandemic, coupled with a Chinese economic revival in its post-Covid-19 ordeal, proves the capability of Chinese assistance internationally while the EU and US are still in a messy incompetence. In this respect, the rise of China’s political model revives a debate between authoritarianism, populism and liberalism, as the idea of establishing border controls in a time of irrelevant EU institutions is raised. To this end, despite an unclear future paradigm of any geopolitical shift, three potential scenarios are envisioned:  Return to the past and the prevalence of the International Community with no paradigm shift, with the usual quarrels but minor changes to global health policy; the rise of China economically, technologically (5G), and eventually militarily, accelerated by the pandemic which Western nations are finding more difficult to overcome than Asian nations; A Western burst of action in which the US, supported by the EU, reinvests in international institutions and competes with China at different scales. 

By: Imad Atoui, CIGA Research Associate



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