9 April 2020
9 April 2020

The post-COVID19 world will be radically different. Thanks to digital communications technology, even a virtual global democracy may be possible. However, technology is only a means. Visionary global leadership is essential to implement reforms for global democracy.

Where is such a Leader? Not in the U.S.A. The Coronavirus Pandemic has exposed what is wrong with Trump’s America. There is no national healthcare system in the U.S.A. It is a land of user-fees and profit-driven private hospitals, pharmaceutical and insurance companies. COVID-19 patients with no ability to pay fees (up to $75,000) have been denied treatment. Trump’s “America First” policy is first and foremost for private companies. He himself and his son-in-law own numerous corporations.

But Trump’s biggest failure in the fight against the Pandemic is in the global arena. Throughout his presidency, he has done everything possible to weaken the U.N. and multilateral system. As a result, there is no global solidarity, no cooperative strategy to deal with the COVID19.

In 1941, in the dark days of WWII, the Atlantic Charter was announced. The U.N. system and the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund were planned under American leadership. Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, were exceptional leaders, dedicated to serving humanity. The multilateral system was established, financed on U.S. generosity, the U.N. agencies in the lead in every field: health, education, trade and finance, etc.

That is the system Trump has weakened. He acts as the ultimate narcissist, conducting the COVID-19 pandemic as an extension of his re-election campaign. Humanity needs a new F.D. Roosevelt. The Saudi King, the current chair of G20, pledged “any amount required” in the fight against COVID19, but he is no global leader.

The U.N. Security Council must declare a Global War on COVID-19, followed by effective global action. Otherwise, each nation will cope alone, driven by domestic policy. The best for now seems social distancing and self-isolation, while economies are being shattered in an unprecedented tsunami of survival of the fittest world.

After the Coronavirus Pandemic runs its course, modern communications technology, by default may impose a new world order. Tele-Summits and virtual conferencing may become the future pattern of multilateral governance.

In an age of smart phones and new information technology, there is no reason why literate Chinese, Indians and everyone else around the globe cannot vote and participate in meetings at the U.N. or other international fora. This can only help globalize democracy, i.e. governance by the people: One vote, one person; everyone counts, regardless of race, gender or status. Global equality prevails.

In a post-Pandemic world, virtual meetings and conferences, would revolutionize the workings of international organizations, including the U.N., W.H.O., I.M.F., W.B. and all other multilateral bodies. All of them badly need better coordination and relevance. The Coronavirus Pandemic may yet be the shock required for existential transformation.

For the past several years, the international system has been badly managed: From ecology to gender equality, from war and peace to refugee crises, global problems have been mounting, unresolved. Worse, the response of Rich Countries, the U.S.A. and the E.U., has been shameful: Building Walls and using brute force (as in the Greece-Turkey border), to keep their wealth to themselves, ignoring the health and welfare of the Rest of Humanity. It is wonderful that Turkey is sending planeloads of medical supplies to Spain, Italy and France. That is a model of multilateral solidarity.

The Pandemic has shown that Walls provide no security, no country has immunity.  Virus and germs cross boundaries at will, not just via airports and cruise ships. Like it or not, the Rich nations cannot go it alone. Coronavirus Bonds for Humanity would be a good idea, but not so if it were limited for only the Rich.

Humanity needs global solidarity. Banking and finance are already globalized. Now, medical supplies, like myriad of other products, depend on global sourcing and it is open to abuse, including profiteering.

One thing is certain. The post-pandemic world will not be led by the current U.S. President. Modern media and communications are pushing nations to a more democratic system of World Governance. Technology, however, can only facilitate. It needs visionary global leadership to take Humanity to a safer and better world. If not the U.S.A., who will lead the new world?



Ph.D. Mehmet Ozay

Özay is a retired Canadian academic of Turkish Cypriot origin, the first from Turkish Cyprus to study at the London School of Economics. He did his doctorate in Economics at the University of Toronto. In 2004, after 35 years of teaching, he retired as Professor Emeritus of International Affairs, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. He has been awarded the University’s highest academic honor by being named Distinguished Research Professor for his teaching and research. Since retirement he has been the Lead Scholar in creating a Centre in Modern Turkish Studies in NPSIA. He is Senior Fellow of the Centre which is funded by donations from the Canadian Turkish community and others interested in a of Turkish affairs in Canada and the world. Over the years, Özay has specialized in Economic Development and International Economics with special reference to Southeast Asian economies such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Asian Tigers. He has published extensively with over 25 scholarly books and more than 100 articles in top academic journals. Most recently he has written on Cyprus and Turkey. He has also written historical novels. He consulted for several international agencies including the World Bank, UN, ILO, WHO, Asian Development Bank, and several Canadian, British and USA aid organizations. He lives in Ottawa with wife Karen Ann Mehmet. They have three sons and five grandchildren.

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