The new Coronavirus appeared in China, specifically in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, in late December 2019 and up to April 2, 2020. The infection transmitted to about one million people and resulted in more than 50 thousand deaths, with half of the world’s population isolated in their homes with the rise in various proportions (catching the virus, death and recovery) is still jumping.
Epidemics have had a role in the rise of deaths and the fall of empires throughout history:
Human history witnessed many epidemics that invaded societies, and led to a large increase in the proportion of deaths, and affected the change of the balance of international powers and the fall of forces and the rise of other forces. Perhaps one of the reasons that weakened the Roman state and destroyed its army was the Antonine Plague, which occurred in 165 AD in Rome, Italy, and most of the countries related to Rome, which caused the death of at least 5 million people.
The plague of Justinian (Justinian was one of the most important emperors of the Eastern Roman state, called the Byzantine Empire), which appeared thirty years before the birth of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, one of the major reasons that weakened the Byzantine and Persian states with the indication that the epidemic appeared in Egypt in the first stage then spread, which paved the way for the collapse of the two empires together at the hands of Muslims after six decades, and this led to the beginning of the formation of the Arab Islamic empire in the era of subsequent Islamic conquests.
In 1331, the black plague started from the Chinese province of Hubei, where a large number of Chinese people died due to this epidemic. Then the disease spread through Italian merchants, especially sailors, to Sicily and southern Europe, and from there it spread to Europe. The number of victims of the black plague in the Middle Ages is estimated at one hundred million. Thus, the great plague marked the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance in Europe.
Between 1665 and 1666 the British capital witnessed what was known as the Great Plague of London, which arrived from the Netherlands and whose number of victims exceeded 100,000 people, which is a quarter of the city’s population at that time. In 2011, scientists were able to know the genes of the “Black Death” disease or the plague. By extracting precise parts of the DNA from the dead bodies of medieval corpses found in London, they said that this bacterium is the root of all newly caused plague bacteria. In the year 1720, the French city of Marseille was hit by the great plague, which also killed 100,000 people. Then, in 1793, the yellow fever epidemic spread in the American Philadelphia area, killing about 45,000 people.
In 1820, cholera killed many in Southeast Asia, and the number of victims reached more than 100,000. It appeared in Calcutta, India, and spread to South Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean coast. And between 1918 and 1920, the Spanish flu emerged, that is, after the First World War, which spread through the soldiers who returned to their countries after their fighting in various parts of Europe, so they transferred the deadly virus, and it spread horrific, as it infected 500 million and killed 100 million around the world.
In April 2009, the swine flu pandemic spread, and it was first discovered in Mexico before it spread in many countries of the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the swine flu is one of the most dangerous viruses that can change rapidly and has caused the death of 18 thousand people. In December 2013, the Ebola epidemic appeared in Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, after which it was known as the “Ebola virus in West Africa”, which almost caused the collapse of the economies of the three countries, and during that year, about 6 thousand people died from it. In 2018, Ebola struck again in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where more than 2,200 people lost their lives.
COOVID-19 epidemic will cause major powers to set back:
Many wonder how the world will be after the decline in the spread of a virus, especially at the economic and political levels, given that the measures taken to contain the situation will have broad repercussions.
Governments, companies, and societies were forced to lockdown and politically, the epidemic will certainly have important repercussions, especially when some politicians and regimes were slow in anticipating to take the necessary precautions. This will lead to political, economic and international transformations, which in turn will lead to different balances and new world order. How will that take place?
1- Coronavirus impacts on the European Union:
As the Coronavirus struck most of the European countries, especially in Italy, Spain, France and Germany, and cost more than 35,000 lives in Europe alone, on April 2, 2020. The epidemic will continue to cause deaths in the coming period.
The absence of solidarity spirit in the European Union:
The gap in Europe has become clear through the failure and absence of NATO and its failure to provide any significant service, even though sterilization of Europe requires military intervention by forces fighting the viral attack in the alliance. As the Coronavirus paralyzed the ability of this alliance to intervene quickly. Rather than the epidemic being an opportunity to support the project of integration between European countries, it was the cause of the countries of the Union adopting measures that were more protective of protectionism than complementarity, such as the total closure of the borders starting from Spain, then Germany, Denmark, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, in blatant opposition to the “Schengen” agreement in addition to buying health supplies outside the framework of the European Common Market.
COVID-19 also showed another side to the countries that always advocate European unity and European solidarity, headed by France. In February, the health ministers of the European Union countries met twice in Brussels, to find out the stocks of each country of medical equipment and prevention tools to facilitate their transfer to the needy countries, and exchange real information about equipment, but only one day after the agreement, a decision was issued by France and Germany to ban the export of medical masks abroad. Romania also decided to impose a very strict ban on the export of medical and protective equipment. Hungary then announced that 120,000 masks were blocked and detained in the port of Hamburg.
Italy, the most affected country from the Coronavirus, appears to have appealed to the European Union for medical supplies, but the European response and the European response made the Italians burn the Union’s flag and made Matteo Salvini the most prominent right-wing extremist in Italy saying: “When others are in trouble, Italy must pay, but if Italy falls “they are closing their borders and keeping their money.” In the same context, Italy’s Ambassador to the European Union Maurizio Masari wrote an article in which he indicated that “the European Union should take concrete, effective and urgent steps and not only limit itself to meetings and exchanging views.” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte confirmed that “there is a danger that the European Union will lose its reason for being.” We cannot fail to condemn the French philosopher Michel Onfray – considered an extension of the postmodern philosophers in France – the inefficiency of European governments in dealing with the pandemic «Corona, as Onfray reported that this virus is part of the collapsing movement.
Although Serbia is in the negotiating stages to join the Europen union, its president, Aleksandar Vučić, said: “We have seen that there is no solidarity in Europe … I trust China as it is the only country that can help us … As for others, we thank them for nothing.”
The ambitions of the major powers regarding the disintegration of the European Union and the rise of the extreme right:
Many external powers, such as Russia, see that the collapse of the European Union is an opportunity to eliminate a bloc that was a key factor in facing its ambitions to control the European continent.
Russia, through “Putin”, wants to restore the Soviet Union’s project and extend its control over Eastern European countries, and the United States and China want to dismantle the European economic unit to control its markets and weaken the competitiveness of its companies, in addition to isolating its role in international issues. These ambitions made several think tanks loyal to these powers, especially the Russian ones, promote the idea of the collapse of the European Union and the decline in the values of solidarity in it, in addition to promoting gifts to China and Russia, which prompted Macron to ask not to invest that aid.
In addition to the aspirations of the major powers, the far-right will have convincing justifications for doubting the Union’s ability to lead European nations to form an integrated bloc. This is due to the futile conduct of the Union’s institutions to the crisis of the spread of Corona on the European continent. It is theorized that Italy will witness the return of the extreme right, with a stronger and more popular character, until recently it was governed by a populist coalition that rejects the austerity policies of the Union. In France and Germany, the rise of the right is inevitable, to a lesser degree than Spain and Italy. Noting that Spain has made huge gains in the November 2019 elections, the governments of Warsaw, Prague and Budapest are holding hatred against the Union more than affection.
2- The United States of America and the fall of Trump:
It became clear that President Donald Trump was weak in estimating the Corona pandemic, besides not taking the necessary precautions to protect Americans from the Coronavirus, he estimated that life will return to normal in April, and this is the opposite of what a significant number of experts and businessmen, including Bill Gates, have gone to. He believes that the return of life to normal is illogical, because the cycle of the virus outbreak in the United States has not yet reached its climax, and Gates assures that Corona’s economic bill will be prohibitive, and it would not have happened if the necessary preparations were made to confront the epidemic. According to an article in Foreign Policy, a complete closure is coming to America and should be prepared financially and psychologically, even though politicians have not yet admitted that.
For her part, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi continued her harsh criticism of President Donald Trump, stressing that his continuous denial of the facts and his delay in taking decisions caused the lives of Americans. She added that the president’s underestimation of the severity of the Coronavirus with the start of the outbreak paid the Americans their lives, stressing the need to open an investigation into Trump’s handling of the crisis after its end.
Trump’s failure and the number of Americans who will die due to the Coronavirus will show an American failure and its inability to remain on top of the world as a superpower, especially in light of the frightening expectations that await the United States. It will have two options in the future, and if its main goal is to ensure the continued domination of the world, then it will have to avoid any geopolitical conflict with the Chinese genie, whether on the political or economic level, despite Trump’s escalation policy until now.
If its goal is to improve the living conditions of the US people, whose social conditions have deteriorated, they will have to cooperate with China and change their policies. This is what the American administration started, at least in part, from America changing its policies with Venezuela, as stated by the Secretary of State on March 31, 2020, and from the initiative of the American side to communicate with Russia on March 30 and to emphasize working closely to fight the Coronavirus and revive the global economy.
3- China, a new world leader, even after a while:
What is happening now in many countries will force a review of the political leadership and the economic model adopted by them. Especially, after the failure of major countries, such as the United States, France, Italy and Spain, to provide the most basic needs, such as medical masks and respirators, to save their patients, which made these countries request them from China, which was assigned the task; it is the “factory of the world” without dispute.
China’s openness to the world over the past few decades has brought about an economic boom and boosted the Chinese people’s confidence in their culture and their ability to compete anywhere in the world. Concerning health industries, China is the largest source of medical equipment for America, and about 80% of the pharmaceutical ingredients come from China, and “Chinese pharmaceutical companies account for 97% of the US antibiotic market, and more than 90% of the market is for vitamin C. In 2018, the United States of America imported 95% of ibuprofen, 91% of hydrocortisone, 70% of acetaminophen and 40-45% of heparin (DEA) from China. “
The medical respirators are considered a model for China’s use of its industrial, economic and scientific capabilities, in addition to China’s domination of the auto, steel and electronics manufacturing sector…. The Chinese government started sending some medical equipment to several countries as part of the aid. It will also export 100,000 respirators and 2 million surgical masks to Italy, in addition to France’s request for a billion masks.
The Chinese propaganda of the victory over the COVID-19 and the policy of providing subsidies will serve as the leader of the world and as the leader in the war on the virus, thus proving that China can play the role of a responsible superpower. It is expected that after the end of the Corona pandemic, China will lead the world economically and scientifically and be the head of all-new strategic alliances away from arms race and missile manufacture, so that the trend is towards the manufacture of drugs and discoveries that would eliminate any advanced virus or biological weapon.
The map of strategic alliances in the world will change, and its positions will change, and a new world and map will be formed due to major economic collapses that will be caused by the Coronavirus and protection for peoples from any mysterious biological disasters, such as the Koruna disaster.
Today China “has a post-Corona strategy and is planning to use the decline of the economies of the countries that will be affected by the crisis to its advantage, by searching for more foreign direct investment.
After 12 years of the 2008 financial crisis, China is now home to some of the largest and most capable companies in the world. It plans to increase commodity production to flood the market and plans to be a haven for foreign capital and investment.
China will win and America will reach setback, as many powers and several empires had a setback.
TunisianMonitorOnline (Moez Ghribi, Expert in Security and Geopolitics)