COVID-19: is globalization a curse?Long ago, different tribes lived along the bank of River Nile. These ancient tribes were unaware of a well organized society as they lived simple lives for individual purposes. They were in close proximity with the river as it was their lifeblood. It watered their crops and carried their commerce. The friendship of the mighty river was unpredictable; too little rain would bring famine and starvation and too much rain would cause floods which destroyed their crops and lives.
No tribe alone could fix the problem, so they got united to stop the threat by building dams and digging canals. This union gave rise to the formation of the city state system. It was the collective effort which saved their lives. With passing time, the posing threats became bigger and wider, so did the organisation and union of the people.
In early 17th century, Europe witnessed Thirty Years War, a tug of war between Protestants and Catholics, primarily for power, which resulted in the massacre of European nations. In 1648, the nations of Europe collectively reached an agreement to stop the carnage and bloodshed in the form of the Treaty of Westphalia, which divorced religion from politics, gave way to sovereignty and statehood. Starting from clan, the cooperation gave rise to the shape of tribes, societies, nations, states and ultimately, in the 20th century globalization.
Later, in early 1940s, the world’s peace, during WW2, was shattered by the nations equipped with advance weaponry and powerful navy. It was not possible for any nation to re-establish the global peace alone. So, all flags gathered in a single table and formulated an organisation, the UNO.
In this consensus all nations, even the victors, consented for any sort of compromise if needed. The biggest of them, agreed by victors, was to give up oversea colonies. The formulation of UNO, in order to stop the global anarchy, once again replicated the act of the tribes of Nile Valley.
In the year 1949, once again, when the then USSR became a nuclear power the global community faced a threat of nuclear arm race and nuclear proliferation. The solution once more was found with collective efforts, so the world came up with “Atoms for Peace” initiative, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The problems didn’t stop then; after Cold War, the major threat to “global valley”, was that of environment. Ozone layer depletion by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and global warming by greenhouse gases (GHGs) threatened the planet. In order to cope with it, delegates around the globe gathered for Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and laid the foundation of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
In later years, consensuses were reached on Koyoto Protocol (1997), Doha Conference (2012), Paris Agreement(2015) and Kigali Deal (2016). The collective efforts remain successful as by 2050 the ozone hole will be fully recovered.
Today the world over again has been threatened by a pandemic caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19). Originating from Wuhan city of China, now it has affected more than half million people and caused 30,000 deaths.
This pandemic has another time invited the global cooperation as no single nation can fight it alone. This cooperation, somehow, is seen in the form of globalization. It comes true when Chinese doctors flew to Milan to save the Italian affected from Corona.
More interestingly, the medical crew used South Korean masks, made up of Pakistani cotton and gloves from Indonesian rubber; flew in a plane which burnt Saudi petrol refined by American oil company. Adding to it, while reaching Milan they flew over Iran, Syria and Turkey. The flight might not be possible without the consent of these countries as no one is allowed to breach the aerial sovereignty of any nation. Moreover, in near future may be the American labs, as expected, will design a vaccine for it, which will effectively be used in North Africa, Europe and Asia.
The scientific efforts made in Harvard University, USA, will save lives of masses in Madrid, Milan, Karachi and Delhi. The importance of globalization is further endorsed when we see several nations following the instructions issued by WHO and seeking help from IMF and World Bank. Simply, the entire cooperation at global level makes possible to save lives in global village.
In short, this COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of the lesson that global cooperation with greater pluralism is the only corridor towards a safer and more peaceful world, which a kind was recently been threatened by supranational India and Trumpist America.
Either it is the unilateral revocation of special status of Kashmir or withdrawal of US from Iran Nuclear Deal, we must not forget that xenophobic nationalism can only push humanity to cataclysmic catastrophe.
Whether it be COVID-19 or nuclear proliferation, we should follow in the footprints of Nile Valley tribes who, in spite of their differences, agreed on cooperation for their survival.