COVID-19 enforcer of decade old tendencies: Rusnák

TEHRAN, Apr. 23 (MNA) – Dr. Urban Rusnák, Secretary-General of the Energy Charter Secretariat believes coronavirus outbreak is an accelerator of tendencies which have been present since last decade – the rise of nativism, the twilight of international institutions, strengthening of intercultural conflicts, widening of the income gap, and search for safe heaven by individuals and societies.

The current coronavirus pandemic ravaging every corner of the world and many states are desperate in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Nations and governments are panicking and the economy has already collapsed. This crisis is expected to deepen more and more without a serious global willingness and cooperation.

Due to the great impact of the coronavirus on the world from different aspects, many believe that changes to existing world order and international relations are inevitable in the post-corona era. 

In an effort to make the dimension of the changes to the existing world order by coronavirus clearer, we reached out to Dr. Urban Rusnák, Secretary-General of the Energy Charter Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium.

Here is the full text of the interview:

What will be the effects of coronavirus on the current world order?

The current pandemic is already changing the world as we use to know it. I see it mostly as an accelerator and an enforcer of tendencies which have been present since last decade – the rise of nativism, the twilight of international institutions, strengthening of intercultural conflicts, widening of the income gap, and search for safe heaven by individuals and societies.

The current world order is majorly based on liberalism and to some extent on realism approaches. What are the deficiencies of the said approaches revealed by coronavirus?

The underlying base for the current system of the international relation is the UN Charter and other basic UN documents, which indeed promotes universal values. Liberal and realistic approaches are not in the contradiction per se. What we see now is that the fight for the COVID19 legacy in international relations already started. The access to the information in due time and quality based on the available scientific evidence is still the most essential instrument in the battle against the coronavirus propagation. Handling the economic and social consequences will be with us for many years and will become a new normal.

Although the outbreak of the virus has put the realism and self-help approaches in the center of the focus, it also has revealed deficiencies of the realism which is based on state security and looks at the security issue just militarily. The outbreak of the virus also showed that militaristic economies also are not able to maintain the security of nations and governments in the post- corona era. What do you think of this?

The current pandemic is showing that there is no one size fit all solution to handle it. While there is a mounting body of evidence that some basic non-medical recommendations and actions (like maintaining basic hygiene, wearing the face masks and limiting social interaction of people) significantly reduces the speed of spreading the illness they do not provide with lasting solutions. Certainly, military hardware is of little use to combat the pandemic, and containing a large number of personnel in closed areas like ships or military bases is more a recipe for problems than a part of a solution. Certainly, as the COVID19 is a global threat that will last long, you cannot beat it with self-help isolated efforts. Now the race for vaccines from multiple research teams and producers together with internationally coordinated vaccination effort is our best bet for the future.

If we accept that the post-corona world order will be different from the existing one, will the changes be structural and fundamental ones? Which meanings will experience fundamental changes?

I wish the post corona world order will address the underlying causes of global tensions and challenges. Inequalities in a broad sense of this word should be addressed, as should be the challenge of climate change. I believe that we should keep in mind that the economy and the military power are very important indeed, however the people’s health and wellbeing is a way more complex issue. COVID19 outbreak showed the fragility of our world as we knew it until last December, regardless of the prevailing economic, religion, or social structure. It is a wakeup call for Humanity, to change our behavior and form a more cooperative and respectful one.

Dr. Urban Rusnák is secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat. He worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovak Republic and was the Leader of the Project for Slovakia's External Energy Security. He was Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to Ukraine (2005-2009), Head of the MFA Political Analysis Division (2003-2005), Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Turkey (1994-1998) and MFA Desk Officer for South Caucasus, Central Asia, CIS, and southeast Europe. He also held the position of Executive Director of the International Visegrad Fund in Bratislava (2000-2003) and Director of the Slovak Institute for International Studies (1999-2000).

Interview by Zahra Mirzafarjouyan

News Code 157911

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