COVID-19 has dominated conversations about in International Relations this year, and with good reason. But now that many countries are moving from lockdowns and starting to think about the post-COVID-19 recovery process, we need to seriously consider if we want to go back to the ways things were, or if we want to start investing in a more sustainable future for us and our societies.
Here are our suggestions for what we could be talking about in International Relations now:
The Future of Democracies
The completely inadequate response to the pandemic by authoritarian politicians was a warning that strongmen figures cannot tackle global problems. Furthermore, the need for countries to cooperate in order to adequately respond to the pandemic was also an illustration that we cannot go back to insular and protectionist policies.
Throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia, protests started to emerge against long-standing regimes. But in other countries, the pandemic was also used to further restrict civil liberties and scapegoats such as migrants were put in the spotlight. The far-right threat is still strong in many countries in the Global North and the refugee crisis in countries like Greece only got worse.
Care and Green Economics
The global financial crisis that began in 2007 seemed to shake the capitalist world to its core. However, business soon went back to normal. Despite repeated warnings that our current economic system is threatening life on the planet and leading to increased social unrest, it seemed like change was impossible.