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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchThe Pandemic and Political Order

The Pandemic and Political Order

Author: Francis Fukuyama 

Affiliation: Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University

Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs 

Date/Place: July-August, 2020/USA

Type of Literature:Article 

Word Count: 2725


Keywords: Pandemic, World Order, Covid-19, Crises


The author stresses the fact that major crises led to major consequences which were most of the time unforeseen. Some examples are how the Great Depression incited nationalism, isolationism, and fascism which led to the New Deal, and World War II which led to the rise of the United States as a global superpower and decolonization. The author considers American interventions after 9/11 as failed, which led to the rise of Iran and new forms of Islamic radicalism. The financial crises in 2008 generated a surge in anti-establishment populism that replaced leaders across the globe. The author anticipates that future historians will conclude similar effects to the current coronavirus pandemic. Why some countries have dealt with this pandemic in a better way than others are clear according to the author. We know that it is not a matter of regime type, since some democratic regimes have failed but others were successful. The author argues that the factors of success are state capacity, social trust, and leadership. Societies with dysfunctional states, polarized societies, or poor leadership have done badly. Economically, only large companies with deep pockets and the technology giants have gained the most as digital interactions have become more important. The political consequences will be more significant, economic recessions will turn into political backlash, but against whom is as yet unclear. The distribution of global power will shift to the East since they have done better during the pandemic than Europe and America. This decline will lead to the continued erosion of the liberal international order and resurgence of fascism around the globe. Also, the rise of nationalism increases the possibility of international conflict. The author closes by arguing that the world will move into a long depressing slog but will eventually come out of it, some parts faster than others. 

By: Leyla Yildirim, CIGA Senior Research Associate



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