Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The Forbes authors are worried USA’s America first policies are upsetting the established international climate leadership of China and the European Union.
Climate Change Helped Global Cooperation. Will Coronavirus Undermine It?
By Nives Dolsak, Aseem Prakash, and Nicolas Wittstock
Climate change and Coronavirus are global problems. The former encouraged global cooperation (although the U.S. has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement) while the latter seems to create “us” versus “them” dynamics among countries. Would Corona-nationalism undermine global cooperation in the future?
Cross-border movements change the governance game. Countries recognize that some of these flows bring prosperity and reduce harm. But if not managed well, these flows can bring misery and create domestic discord. The dilemma for governments is that while they want to retain control over their borders, they cannot manage international flows unilaterally, at least not for long periods of time. If a country does get into a “North Korea” mode of shunning international connections, it suffers an economic and political penalty.
To manage these flows, countries establish international regimes and organizations which are staffed by experts. These regimes create rules, outline best practices, share resources, and provide mechanisms to make sure that countries are living up to their commitments. But creating a regime is not easy because of power, jealousy, and mistrust among countries. After all, why would a country give up its autonomy to make rules and hand over the power to an international actor? This is where the presence of a powerful country—a hegemon—could be helpful. After all, you need someone to herd the cats together — through bribe, bullying, or simply exercising moral authority.
Global cooperation on climate issues was helped by the leadership of the European Union (E.U.), and increasingly, China. In contrast, no country or organization seems to have emerged as a global public health leader. If anything, there is discord among great powers such as the U.S. and China. Worse still, while major international climate bodies have a reputation of independence and technical competence (the International Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, even got the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize), the World Health Organization (WHO), the premier organization in public health, faces a credibility crisis.
Public health cooperation could be facilitated if there is a forum where national leaders regularly meet. The annual Conferences of Parties to address climate issues play an important role for climate cooperation. Another example is the annual meeting of I.M.F. and World Bank Governors, central bankers, and finance ministers, which allows for a regular high-level dialogue on economic issues. If global cooperation on pandemics is to be strengthened, a platform is probably required to facilitate an annual meeting of heads of states, or at least health ministers. The WHO is probably running low on legitimacy to organize this event. Perhaps the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust together could organize an annual World Health Forum, akin to the World Economic Forum in Davos, to create a platform for this purpose.Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/prakashdolsak/2020/04/11/climate-change-helped-global-cooperation-will-coronavirus-undermine-it/#7ff79d77ccfe
They have the Chinese bribery and bullying right, what the authors glossed over is the lying.
The reason China is in no position to take on a global health leadership role, and why their other global leadership aspirations are in tatters, is they got caught lying their butts off about something which really matters, about the severity of their Coronavirus outbreak.
These lies will have real consequences. In the past when Chinese companies got busted putting toxic antifreeze in toothpaste, or decorating children’s toys with lead paint, or selling asbestos building products labelled “asbestos free”, or when they injured and killed babies when they added melamine to baby formula, everyone assumed these incidents were an anomaly; that once alerted the Chinese government would act quickly to punish wrongdoers.
Now we have incontrovertible proof Chinese communists simply don’t care. All they care about is appearances. They gambled away the health of the world when they lied about the Coronavirus outbreak, like it didn’t matter.
International cooperation requires trust. Trust requires honesty. And the only leading country which has been transparently honest about Coronavirus, Climate policy and other international policy objectives is the USA, under the leadership of President Trump.