The efforts made by policymakers at the regional level are crucial in forming an inter-regional circuit arrangement which in turn forms a new international relations system. This reciprocal caring within the region by its leaders will bear testament to the importance of multinational cooperation in these unprecedented times, writes Ambassador Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, a Fellow of the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia. The article is published as part of the Valdai Club's Think Tank project, continuing the collaboration between Valdai and the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia.
All nations of the world are awaiting the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Needless to say, it seems that the coronavirus will stay with us for a long time to come. This pandemic has taken more than one million lives and affected more than 40 million individuals. It is an unprecedented period where leaders of the world race to create strategies to protect their nations against further spread of the disease a time where governments are pushed into crisis management mode, struggling to maintain the delicate balance between saving lives and livelihoods. A period requiring, more than ever before, solid engagement, communication, cooperation and sharing of ideas between nations to prepare for post-pandemic economic and social recovery.
The post-Covid-19 world will certainly be different. The nature of the pandemic and its requirement of strict social distancing have caused somewhat a decline in the dynamics of relations between countries international conferences are delayed, meetings have been stalled, and high-level visitations are replaced by virtual alternatives. Interactions between countries will be influenced by their attitudes and positions during the pandemic, whether they became a friend in need, or a distanced neighbour. The approach taken today dictates the kind of world that we will inherit in the post-pandemic future.
What kind of world do we want to inherit?
There is too much at stake to opt for positions which may worsen the general outcome. For this reason, we cannot forget that we are now living in a global world; interconnected and interdependent. Many have shown this spirit of solidarity by providing assistance in the form of personal protective equipment and medicines to countries in need, but on the other hand there are also nations with leaders displaying narrow nationalism by prohibiting the export of medical supplies and medicines, or blocking the cross-border transportation of goods desperately needed by other countries. This is not the time for any actions of withdrawal and inward nationalism.