By GP ACHARYA (KATHMANDU, 8 July 2020) – The people were more conscious, cooperative, humble and humane, than they were before the Coronavirus crisis intensify, in a community housing in Kathmandu where I live in. There are nearly 300 families, altogether more than 1000 individuals, living inside a single compound of the modern residential village.
I encouraged the fellow dwellers earlier to use stairs instead of elevators reminding that it could be a best approach to exercise, health and well-being. Myself being a long time “Mindfulness and Emotional Wellness” practitioner cum coach, I insisted them to adopt some mindful life-values. Following the global lock-down, after the intensification of Coronavirus, many of them acquainted in the stairs, may be they are afraid of using the elevators and are more conscious of maintaining social distance. Yet, the social distancing approach has brought miraculous social harmony among the fellow citizens in my community.
People have massively upholded human values such as graciousness, humbleness, lightness, sincerity, compassion, cooperation and sense of belongingness to the society. Their behavior were mostly guided by the ‘virtues’ than ‘vices’ present within them. The Coronavirus crisis has taught people- how to figure out more with less, cut-short unnecessary spending, best utilize the resources and survive well. More importantly, people have realized the true essence of self-love, self-care, self-health, self-hygiene and self-harmony. After all, most humans are being turned to self-discipline.
The COVID-19 enforced social distancing approach has brought an unprecedented social discipline, and has injected a value of socio-emotional cohesiveness among the nationals of distinct civilizations in every part of the globe. People have realized that humanity is above all the materialistic pursuits such as power, proud and paper-money. In addition, it has been realized that breathe and death are the only two realities in human life, while the rest are just feelings, fantasies and fallacies.
Meanwhile, people have started adopting some mindful life-values as part of performing their ‘noble deeds’ under the conscience of their ‘inherent duties’. They have, further, turned kind and compassionate towards all the living beings. Humanity has become the only religion of human beings, this is what exactly reflects the socio-emotional aspects of nationals around the world, today.
The terrorists and criminals too have turned little kind and compassionate towards people and society. Despite of the gluttonous desire of human beings, they have maintained butchering distance with animals fearing that human-animal contact could bridge transmit coronavirus into them. As a result, the consumption of animals have drastically declined, while the wild-life trade has been halted worldwide. Most of the people are committed to vegetarianism in daily life. Subsequently, very less number of animals are being slaughtered around the world during this crisis.
The carbon emissions have been reduced, and the individual carbon foot print has been minimized. The environmental pollution has been drastically dropped, and the air quality has been amazingly scaled-up. The global warming, hopefully, has been reduced. People have, further, started viewing nature through the lens of ecological, environmental, bio-safety, public health and national security. Probably, the world had not witnessed such a large scale of public health experiment in the history of medical science.
Despite of all these social impacts, the human cost of Coronavirus, however, is irreparable and the economic cost that of global crisis is beyond imagination.
The politico-socio conflicts of the nations have been dramatically neutralized. The Pro-democracy protesters in Hongkong have been less acidic. The Hindu-Muslim rioters in Delhi have been less catalytic, as if Gandhi Ji has reappeared to bridge between the contradictions in community of Indian nationals. The Kashmir and NRC issues in Assam have been shadowed down, while the Indo-Pak tension has been warmed-up. The geo-political friction between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been little greased. The trade tension between Japan and South Korea and that between Japan and China have been trade-off. Israel and Palestine have maintained state discipline, and are not firing back to one over another. The North and South Korea, however, need to maintain Korean harmony.
Syria is breathing cool from the war, despite of Coronavirus caused breathing difficulties. May be, Taliban are taking deep breathe inside the hunkers in Afghanistan. The IS, Mujaheedin, Laskar-i-Taiban, Bokoharam among others might have been wondering, “how stronger the Corona is than we were”!
Imagine, what if Bin Laden would have been thinking right now? May be, he would have been planning to regenerate the biological pathogens like Coronavirus and aiming for the second episode of 9/11!
Nevertheless, there are no principal conflicts occurred between nations and any group of civilizations, and the world has not witnessed any serious terrorist attacks or civilization clash during this time.
Back to South Asia, PM Modi has insisted for neighborhood collaboration and urged for winning the Corona battle together (in the earlier stage of the pandemic), he must have figured-out that the Corona is more dangerous enemy than Pakistan, at least for the moment. This is why, Modi has realized the significance of regional cooperation bodies like SAARC, and subsequently called to ‘chalk-out’ a common strategy within this framework.
Certainly, the current Corona crisis made India realize that the transnational issues like lethal biological enemy cannot be defeated alone by any single hegemonic posture. However, the border crisis with neighboring Nepal and China has to be resolved with equal spirits from either sides such that it will minimize the possibility of frictions in the future course of neighborly relations.
Nonetheless, this crisis could be an optimistic platform in strengthening the regional cooperation, resuming the stalled process like SAARC and unleashing their potentials. More importantly, it has helped strengthening regional harmony and collaborations among the regional countries and pushed for balance of power between the rival states.
Global Connection and Balance
Meanwhile, the rival countries have not projected any nuke, drones, or missile threats to one over another. There are no drones, missiles and fighter jets flying in the sky. Previously, the missile and AI technology were gradually balancing the power between the US and Iran, or between the US and North Korea, or others. The international terrorists brought the nations to be together after 9/11, while the 2003 Iraq war induced for global power-balancing. Now, the Coronavirus crisis is pushing for global balance again.
North Korea has not conducted any significant Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) tests. President Trump, reportedly, has sent letter to Chairman Kim detailing a plan to develop ties, while Kim must have insisted for talks again. Presumably, Kim has wanted to bring the US-North Korea talk to a logical end within 2020, before Biden is supposed to be emerged in the Whitehouse. May be, Kim is more feared to Biden than Trump’s “Chinese Virus”.
On the other hand, Trump is under great testification process as the Americans have blamed him for undermining the severity of the Coronavirus initially and pushed the nation into more crisis, while the “Black Lives Matter” protest added more fuel. Amid the financial and social crisis, borned by “Chinese Virus” and Trump administration itself, the US citizens, reportedly, are looking for more experience (in governance), visionary, non-discriminative, rational, mindful and emotionally intelligent guy in the Oval office who can devise optimal strategy in any crisis. Ridiculously, Trump’s “Chinese Virus” is likely to be proved luckier to Biden than Trump himself.
On the European front, the political fate and future of President Macron (in France), Chancellor Merkel (in Germany), PM Silveony (in Italy), PM Sanchez (in Spain), and PM Johnson (in UK) among others are likely to be tested on their efficiency, strategies and efforts in minimizing the loss and overcoming the European crisis.
Yet, some of the ultra-nationalists and illiberal were continuously avowing for national interest while the ‘Corona Trap’ has already jeopardized their national security.
On the contrary, President Xi is likely to be emerged as a responsible global leader as he has received tremendous praise at home and abroad for his patience and comprehensive measures of handling the crisis. China, under Xi, is expected to hold a strong diplomatic grip in Europe through the Medical Silk-Road, it has initiated lately. The ‘Medical Diplomacy’ adopted by China, during this global medical emergency, would certainly help strengthen and widen the sphere of the BRI prospect in Europe and beyond.
Yet, the ultra-modern biological pathogen has dominated the modern day bi-polarity between the US and China. The existing US-China rivalry has been transformed into mutual cooperation, under Medical Diplomacy’, and is largely focused on humanity and state-to-state cooperation. Meanwhile, the burning issues of trade war, tariffs, Huawei, espionage, South China Sea, Hongkong, Taiwan, Kashmir, Gaza and Golan Heights among others have been diffused. President Trump has openly praised President Xi for his extra-ordinary handling of the Crisis, and called for closer and newer trade ties. Subsequently, both the nations have been engaged in Soft Diplomacy, cooperation and technical support to each other against the global enemy.
After all, there has been massive global connection and cooperation among the states, governments and people following the global intensification of the Coronavirus. The world has been reminded that non-traditional security threats like pandemics, natural disasters, climate change and financial crisis have no international borders, and these transnational threats necessitate collective, coordinated and comprehensive global solutions.
Overcoming the Crisis
Yet, the bigger and powerful nations must overcome their belligerent attitude towards the smaller cum severely affected ones and provide instant technical support and cooperation that could contain the virus and revive their economy.
Nonetheless, a new model of major country relations need to be fostered against ‘Corona Trap’ and diffuse the existing ‘Thucydides Trap’- destructive tension between an emerging power and the established powers…
Hopefully, the emerging and established powers will come together to address all the transnational issues and contribute in overcoming the global crisis earliest possible.
GP Acharya, who holds an M.Sc., in Computer Science, M.Sc. in Statistics, completed M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy and studied MPhil in Management, is a researcher and analyst.
He can be reached to: [email protected]