Pandemic and the end of globalization – OpEd – Eurasia Review
Globalization is removing the boundaries of global society, interaction in the form of cooperation between actors is increasing. The actors in this case focus not only on the state, but also on companies and international organizations. According to David Held, globalization is a set of processes that describe a spatial transformation of the social relations that exist within. However, the current pandemic has changed everything.
The pandemic is a trigger
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of life, from increasingly limited interaction to the economic downturn. In the economic sector, Covid 19 has hampered the supply chain, as reported by the World Bank, there has been a decline in economic activity of 7% in developed countries and 2.5% in developing countries. development in 2020. The pandemic has forced all parties to adapt. to survive in a very unfavorable situation.
However, the response of the international community seems inconsistent and tends to view this moment as a new moment to strengthen its influence. This was demonstrated at the BRICS meeting summit on November 17, 2020, Russia, which developed the Sputnik V vaccine, asked its alias to use the vaccine they made, then China and America. acted alone by doing the same. This can be interpreted as a new hegemonic war with an emphasis on vaccine diplomacy. In addition, the pandemic has become a trigger for major countries to further strengthen their influence in the military sector.
Increase in military budget
America, China, India, Britain and Russia, which control 62% of global military spending in 2020, have dramatically increased military spending. America increased its military spending to the level of 4.4%, China by 1.9%, Russia by 2.55% and Britain by 2.9%. Globally, there was an increase in the military budget of 2.4% in 2020 which was initially only 2.2% in 2019 of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). In fact, during the pandemic, the average global GDP declined by about 4.4%. This is a very serious trend given that in times of uncertainty, proper calculation is necessary to maintain national and international stability. If military spending continues to increase each year, it will force other countries to implement a “balance of power” and the situation will not improve.
More and more concentrated war
On the other hand, the war which is being waged less and less raises big questions, is this a sign that globalization has succeeded in embracing all countries to cooperate. After the end of World War II in 1945, there were numerous conflicts in various regions which caused a loss of stability, ranging from the Korean, Vietnamese, Arab-Israeli wars to the Yugoslav civil war. However, data published by Foreign Policy shows that there were fewer wars in 2007 than in 1990. However, there has been a fairly significant concentration of conflicts in several areas such as the South China Sea, Syria. and Yemen involving many parties. It is a sign that in the next few years there will be tremendous changes in the world order of life, especially globalization.
The problem is not just the direct threat of war but there is a more real threat that has come over the past 3 years. Since 2018, America and China have officially waged a trade war by increasing tariffs on all goods entering their respective countries. This war was initiated by Trump who considers China to have committed frauds such as theft of intellectual property and unfair subsidies. This has had a huge impact on the world economy and triggered the policy of protectionism as well as a real threat to the continuation of globalization which has so far emphasized openness.
Reinforcement of authoritarianism and loss of expertise
The pandemic has not only worsened economic conditions but also democratic values. In some countries, the pandemic has become an arena to further strengthen the influence of heads of state through regulations that legitimize all policies issued. As it happened in Hong Kong under Carrie Lam and in China under Xi Jinping, tight control of the media seemed to be a necessity in an effort to maintain national stability. In the case of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam even attempted to suppress democratic values by banning protests against the National Security Bill which many see as highly damaging to the people of Hong Kong.
Authoritarianism does not only occur in countries with a very democratic climate. But this also happens in developing countries with a very concerned democratic culture. Indonesia and Myanmar make it clear that democracy continues to be eroded and replaced by authoritarianism. In Indonesia, Jokowi tries to eliminate the “Check and Balance” system by reducing the power of the opposition to the government to the weakening of the anti-corruption agency KPP (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi), and the fact is not. less significant the decline in the democracy index in 2020, the lowest of the last 14 years. Meanwhile, in Myanmar, as the pandemic raged, the military regime carried out a coup against Aung Sang Suki, who won the elections and responded to the illegitimate elections and sparked anger inside and out. outside the country.
The above case study is supported by data submitted by the Democracy Index, from a survey released by the Democracy Index in 2020, democracy in 167 countries is at the lowest position in the world. in the past 15 years since the first survey conducted in 2006, the points obtained are only 5.37%. This assessment is based on 5 indicators, namely the general election process, democratic culture, pluralism, government functions and level of political participation.
On the other hand, confidence in expertise disappears when information is easily obtained. In some cases, such as in America, many people deny the existence of Covid 19 with very little evidence and seem unreasonable, rendering government and expert efforts futile. If traced further, the root of this problem is due to the easy access to information obtained by the public from the Internet.
The globalization that has been glorified so far has indeed brought many new problems, many countries have started to abandon this value and are trying to return to the Meiji Restoration period led by Japan, including closing and becoming more and more authoritarian. America under Trump shows that it is necessary to take new measures to defend its national interests, even if they have to leave globalization. Growing military budgets, growing authoritarianism and loss of confidence in knowledge reinforce the thesis that this is the end of globalization.
* Gufron Gozali is a junior research assistant at the Islamic University of Indonesia