Research studies

Pandemics and the Challenges of Sustaining Peace

Les pandémies et les défis du maintien de la paix

Prepared by the researcher – Ahmed Abdel Azim Mahmoud – Master Researcher – Ain Shams University – Cairo

Democratic Arab Center

Journal of African Studies and the Nile Basin : Tenth Issue – January 2021

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
ISSN  2569-734X

Journal of African Studies and the Nile Basin

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Abstract

The international community is highly volatile, and it has always been difficult to predict the course of events, even at the level of one day, rather than at the long-term-level.
Since the beginning of 2019, we have had many events that have led us to rethink many future plans and the ways we use them in the policy work of the institution or individual, particularly in the context of recent events, and we still suffer from diseases and epidemics, the virus of Corona and its consequences in all fields. Also, different conflicts and the extent to which there can be no lasting peace, so that the various aspects and views on this issue are discussed in some detail.

 

Introduction
The world is witnessing many international challenges in these days, which differ from being political, military or even social to being more dangerous, as they threaten the very survival of mankind, namely diseases, epidemics and natural disasters, and we are talking here about some of the current events that we are experiencing. They have been the virus of Corona, which is now suffering about 5 million or slightly less.

There are usually plans included in the policies of countries so that the country can withstand this kind of risk, but what happened in 2019 was unexpected, began to appear in China and soon spread in the world because of the speed of trading and spread and because of the magnitude of China’s dealings with the countries of the world, at first glance the world could not predict the seriousness of the matter and it worsened.

The countries did not realize the seriousness of the matter to enable the virus from most countries of the world and the latest heavy losses did not occur in decades, so that led to many negative crises and that at all levels and areas, besides the conflicts that occur in the Middle East in many Arab countries such as Syria, Libya, Yemen, but the virus was another burden on the countries undergoing critical political and economic conditions.

Although there are no positive signs, the so-called public health diplomacy and protocols of cooperation between the various countries of the world have recently spread, creating a kind of international peace and understanding among the international community, as well as the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire.

The question posed by the research:

Is it possible to establish a lasting peace under the circumstances that the world is going through? What challenges do we face to achieve this? How did China survive the virus as an example?

Will the spread of the virus be a call for solidarity among the countries of the world or a call for the spread of peace in the Middle East, which is suffering from political and military unrest these days?

We will discuss these questions in the first four points about the U.S. position on the international situation after the spread of the virus, secondly china’s position as a successful example in terms of economic resilience and thirdly the situation in the Middle East, while the fourth goes to the extent of the possibility of establishing a sustainable peace in the world as a positive result of the changes that have taken place.

First: The U.S. attitude towards the developments in the world.

For many decades the United States has been the author of many influential decisions in the world, especially the Middle East, no doubt that what has happened recently in the international arena has been very influential on the occupying forms of life in American society, but with the emergence of this health crisis had the effect of destabilizing stability and economic growth so that the public indebtedness increased, which led to an increase in the projected budget deficit, and the U.S. stock market had the largest share of the global loss it achieved so that the price of the loss fell U.S. oil recorded its biggest global loss not to occur in decades[1].

But after the 2008 economic crisis, which had a major impact, the state’s activity in building a modern model of economic development to make the United States the economically dominant state once again, the administration of President Barack Obama implemented rescue plans, later known as “support and stimulus” to revitalize the economy and then inject it into the large capital economy, but of course it could not address the imbalance in the infrastructure of the U.S. economy over time.

With the emergence of the Coronavirus, it has worsened so that experts predicted more economic stagnation and this has already happened so that the unemployment rate rose to 12% by mid-2020, the loss of about 4 million jobs, which definitely affects the movement of tunnels, which means that it mainly affects the indicators of the main economy[2].

All this led to a decline in American influence at a time when there were many countries trying to dominate the world from many economic, political and other aspects, notably “China and Russia”, which became significant forces, both at the military and economic levels.

But the question that arises about the strategy of the United States of America to control the world and rebuild an empire again, similar to the empire’s domination of the world, we find my answer to what William Lind said in his comment on this matter, which is that the question is not that it will fail or not? Because she’s going to screw up. But the question is what drives America to that and it is to control the world, that dialectic is based on the concept of uniqueness is a dangerous concept, but it makes more enemies and not friends, it is based on the force that varies its sources and causes and has no ceiling, tomorrow America will receive more strikes from where you do not know, and will not benefit all the deadly weapons that it has[3].

The current situation forces the United States to reformulate its foreign policy by abandoning the dream of world domination in all fields, unless it happens in the presence of many international powers that share the United States, such as the People’s Republic of China, which is now one of the biggest threats to the United States.

But can the United States maintain its international status after so many crises such as the Coronavirus?

There is no question about the extent to which the United States of America is able to provide the conditions for international leadership in terms of three important factors that give it the status of international leadership: military power, economic power and unprecedented technological progress.

  1. Military force:

The United States has the largest regular military power in the world, with more spending on arming and developing the U.S. military than the 15 former U.S. military forces[4].

More importantly, the nuclear power possessed by the U.S. military makes it the biggest threat to most countries of the world, and despite international laws strictly prohibiting the use of these weapons or even the threat of their use among nations, it does not stop the production of more nuclear warheads that could one day be used.

Moreover, the U.S. arms market is the most powerful in the world, with more than half of the world’s arms sales in the world, and the U.S. military forces are the most involved in the conflict resolution processes around the world, not to mention the proliferation of U.S. military bases around the world to ensure military control over a conflict that erupts at any time.

  1. Economic power:

The United States has realized the importance of economic hegemony, so that it has the economic potential to be the world’s most powerful economically with the world’s largest gdp, as it is the largest trading power in the world[5]

What distinguishes the United States in this regard is that it realized early on how important economic power is since after World War II ended and the world went to stability, the United States began to establish international institutions that would control the international economy and adjust its organization and legitimacy while at the same time all in its interest.

This is like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and others[6].

  1. Technological advances

There is no doubt that the United States is the leader of the modern technological revolution in the world, including many fields such as modern information technology, space engineering, genetic engineering and other sciences in which it has achieved tremendous achievements.

Also many satellite communication stations, whether at the civil or military level, have become control of millions of encrypted conversations and others… All of this has gone to the United States at the international negotiating table in the Security Journal and elsewhere, so that the manifestations of international sovereignty appear in many different forums where it proves to the world that it is at the head of the developed countries.

All of this makes American power difficult to penetrate even with disasters such as epidemics and diseases, even confronting them militarily in such circumstances makes it likely impossible to ensure air, land and sea military superiority.

Second: China and the impact of the CORONA virus on its international standing.

It is natural after the major disasters to be redistributed political forces in the world, especially if there are those who are waiting for these moments to take the first place, and at the head of these countries and in the continent of Asia we find China and the next strongly in most areas such as military power, economic power and technological progress[7].

Over the past decades, many countries of the world have succeeded in achieving major economic leaps, the most important of which was the country of China, which achieved at the international economic level the highest growth in human history, and there is no doubt that the growing military power makes it in the ranks of developed countries and deservedly.

To look at China as a model is the most worthy of study and analysis in order to learn from it how to be insistent on achieving the goals, given china’s situation from several decades soon we find it was more backward from the international track, especially in technological progress… Now it has become the greatest threat to the United States in all military, technological and political aspects as well.

China decided to change the plans for economic reform so that the focus is on four axes through which it can be in the first developed countries namely science, industry, agriculture and national defense this plan was during the 90th century, with attempts towards real change towards the socialist economic market[8].

China’s industrial revolution began with real strength and achieved unprecedented growth in domestic production rates and did not even go ahead with the global economic growth rates towards the highest index of 9.8%, China is taking a peaceful approach to building its economies.

China’s involvement in global trade has made it an international market that is spreading very rapidly among the world, and has made it a more reliable source for many importers in the world, There is no doubt that Chinese investments around the world have a large share of economic growth, so that China invests heavily in the African continent in the construction of technological infrastructure, national projects and others, which makes a significant difference in the size of China’s overall national product.

As for The Chinese military force, there is nothing wrong, as China is one of the most important and powerful five countries around the world and the major deterrent force of the United States of America so that it depends very heavily in the process of arming on its own production and not on import from weapons manufacturers around the world, China’s entry into the nuclear club since 1964 has allowed it to produce a large number of nuclear warheads and produce nuclear missiles and submarines that pose a threat to the world, including the United States, Russia and others[9].

As for the spread of the coronavirus in China, where it was established, and despite the population density there, which greatly helps to spread viruses, but China had a attitude towards dealing with the virus, the rest of the countries had to apply the same Chinese protocol in dealing with the virus and how to contain it, so that China was able to overcome the rapid spread of the virus and surrounded it in the province where it was established, which is China’s Wuhan Province, and could not spread to the rest of the provinces due to the crucial medical procedures taken by China, which She did not tolerate it, in addition to china’s technological and medical advances, which helped her contain the disease very quickly[10].

Not only that, but it went to send medical aid to most poor countries suffering from the collapse of health systems and which do not tolerate such epidemics, and this is a message to the world on China’s ability to spread peace around the world and its desire to do so is clear and explicit.

Third: The Middle East under the Coronavirus.

 In light of the various and endless conflicts in the Middle East, especially the Arab region, the largest share of conflicts in the region such as Syria, Libya, Yemen, Lebanon and others.

More detailed about what is happening in the region and the extent to which the Coronavirus affects the possibility of establishing a lasting peace in the region, we must point out that at the beginning it was reshaping and distributing power in the region and the whole world, so that the roles of the great powers in the world have changed, many countries of the world have had a leading role in helping countries medically, which need to do so in times of crises and conflicts that they are going through, rather than the conflicts and civil wars they are experiencing and which have been exhausted economically[11].

Conflict states in the Middle East may not be experiencing a current outbreak of the virus in the strict sense, and the situation may soon change due to the deterioration of the medical infrastructure and the displacement of refugees to other countries, as happened in Syria and elsewhere, they are more vulnerable to a greater scale of risk.

As a result of the fact that the Coronavirus represents a very high risk, especially in the political circumstances that the country is going through, there was a call from the Secretary-General of the United Nations for a ceasefire in the world, especially in the Middle East, as some considered that this step is accompanied by lasting peace and the resolution of disputes under these difficult circumstances for all.

Indeed, many of the warring parties have begun a cease-fire in many dangerous locations around the world, about 14 countries that have experienced almost the bloodiest events, but can a ceasefire create lasting peace?

The main purpose of the ceasefire between the warring states is to give the opportunity to uphold the values of dialogue in an attempt to reach a fair and comprehensive agreement on conflicts and issues, for example the State of Libya, which represents a bad example in the issue of a cease-fire that has not been complied with the ceasefire order, the victim was the complete collapse of the Libyan health system, so that both sides are committed to a ceasefire that is contrary to what the other side wants[12].

We also find the situation in Yemen and Syria all want a ceasefire, but because of the conflict of interest between them, there was no ceasefire, and for many reasons, even after the UN requests for a cease-fire, this has not been answered, and in such cases the cease-fire requests have not played any role in the process of ensuring peace, even temporarily, so that efforts can unite to face a threat to all projects for which the human being is fighting.

The spread of the virus has had a bad impact on the peace-building process so that the role of international organizations in communication between countries has declined due to the ban imposed by air on most countries of the world, in order to reduce the spread of the virus, as well as reducing the number of representatives of international organizations in many countries that are experiencing unprecedented unrest due to the escalation of events[13].

Also at the level of international assistance has decreased significantly, due to the directing of assistance on behalf of the state itself due to the emergency circumstances, where the government found itself in front of two things either seeking to solve the problems of conflicts between countries or seeking to solve the problem of the coronavirus in their country, hence the damage damage sought policies to solve the problems of conflicts between countries, so that the ban prevented the travel of envoys to solve problems and became dangerous to move from one country to another[14].

There is no doubt that the spread of the virus has many negative economic effects, especially for the Arab countries in the Middle East, for many reasons…

Gdp is expected to decline to about $42 billion due to falling oil prices and a marked slowdown in the process of domestic production due to the closure of public and private system institutions, so that the more the period of closure, the greater the losses it suffers.

The Arab region suffers from many problems, including the issue of the loss of jobs noted, since from the first half of 2020 lost about 1.7 million jobs as expected, the epidemic caused many problems for many countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and finally Libya, which followed a severe austerity policy due to the circumstances of the war imposed on the government of reconciliation.

At last… Can there be a lasting peace due to epidemics and diseases, especially the coronavirus?

This may not be possible on the ground for many reasons, which boil down to the issue of conflicts of interest between the conflicting parties that are destabilizing the region[15].

The virus led to the cooperation of the countries of the world towards a single medical protocol to reduce the spread of the virus around the world, as there have been calls for a cease-fire in the disputed places, but the response was not as expected, i.e. it will continue to swing between stability and conflict situations permanently as long as there is always a disparity in military and economic forces.

Conclusion:

In about three axes, we have been able to summarize the position of several countries, whether they are the world’s great powers or the Countries of the Middle East mired in conflicts and wars that do not end up in the face of the Coronavirus in terms of whether they can achieve a lasting peace or not.

The first conclusion is the role of the United States of America as the largest country in the world economically, militarily and politically in the possibility of establishing a lasting and just peace in the light of epidemics and diseases that threaten human existence and how it played in that, and whether it was, The first conclusion is the role of the United States of America as the largest country in the world economically, militarily and politically in the possibility of establishing a lasting and just peace in the light of epidemics and diseases that threaten human existence and how it played its role in that, and whether its presence in the first place had a role in the process of addressing this threat, it was isolated and decided to survive on its own only, the United States must have a greater role, especially with the emergence of the people’s China, which threatens the American center with rising power in all fields.

Then we went on to talk about the People’s Republic of China and how it represents the world’s most successful model of economic, military and technological growth, and how it has become the world’s greatest terror even in the opinions of current President Donald Trump, who is constantly concerned about global Chinese activity.

Finally, in a brief overview of what is happening in the Middle East, especially in some Arab countries, where it has been the scene of conflicts for a decade, and how these conflicts affect their response to this threat, which increases the burden on them more and more, and the extent to which the possibility of establishing a lasting and lasting peace in the light of all these conflicts and challenges.

References:

  • Morse, S. S., Mazet, J. A., Woolhouse, M., Parrish, C. R., Carroll, D., Karesh, W. B., … & Daszak, P. (2012). Prediction and prevention of the next pandemic zoonosis. The Lancet380(9857), 1956-1965.
  • Dunlap, R. E. (1994). International attitudes towards environment and development. Green globe yearbook of international co-operation on environment and development1994, 115-126.
  • Long, W. J. (2011). Pandemics and peace: public health cooperation in zones of conflict. US Institute of Peace Press.
  • Aronson, N. E., Sanders, J. W., & Moran, K. A. (2006). In harm’s way: infections in deployed American military forces. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 43(8), 1045-1051.
  • Pedersen, J. S. Post-Pandemic Development: Lessons from Indigenous Philosophies.
  • Green, R. K., & Wachter, S. M. (2005). The American mortgage in historical and international context. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19(4), 93-114.
  • Bogoch, I. I., Watts, A., Thomas-Bachli, A., Huber, C., Kraemer, M. U., & Khan, K. (2020). Potential for global spread of a novel coronavirus from China. Journal of travel medicine, 27(2), taaa011.
  • Campbell, K. M., & Doshi, R. (2020). The coronavirus could reshape global order. Foreign Affairs, 18.
  • Harari, Y. N. (2020). The world after coronavirus. Financial Times, 20.
  • Zhou, Y., & Chen, L. (2020). Twenty-Year Span of Global Coronavirus Research Trends: A Bibliometric Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(9), 3082.
  • Van Doremalen, N., Bushmaker, T., & Munster, V. J. (2013). Stability of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) under different environmental conditions. Eurosurveillance, 18(38), 20590.
  • Wang, H., Li, T., Gauthier, S., Yu, E., Tang, Y., Barbarino, P., & Yu, X. (2020). Coronavirus epidemic and geriatric mental healthcare in China: how a coordinated response by professional organizations helped older adults during an unprecedented crisis. International Psychogeriatrics, 1-4.
  • Abd El-Aziz, T. M., & Stockand, J. D. (2020). Recent progress and challenges in drug development against COVID-19 coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)-an update on the status. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 104327.
  • Cauchemez, S., Fraser, C., Van Kerkhove, M. D., Donnelly, C. A., Riley, S., Rambaut, A., … & Ferguson, N. M. (2014). Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus: quantification of the extent of the epidemic, surveillance biases, and transmissibility. The Lancet infectious diseases, 14(1), 50-56.

[1] Morse, S. S., Mazet, J. A., Woolhouse, M., Parrish, C. R., Carroll, D., Karesh, W. B., … & Daszak, P. (2012). Prediction and prevention of the next pandemic zoonosis. The Lancet380(9857), 1956-1965.

[2] Dunlap, R. E. (1994). International attitudes towards environment and development. Green globe yearbook of international co-operation on environment and development1994, 115-126.

2 Long, W. J. (2011). Pandemics and peace: public health cooperation in zones of conflict. US Institute of Peace Press.

[4] Aronson, N. E., Sanders, J. W., & Moran, K. A. (2006). In harm’s way: infections in deployed American military forces. Clinical Infectious Diseases43(8), 1045-1051.

1 Pedersen, J. S. Post-Pandemic Development: Lessons from Indigenous Philosophies.

[6] Green, R. K., & Wachter, S. M. (2005). The American mortgage in historical and international context. Journal of Economic Perspectives19(4), 93-114.

  1. Bogoch, I. I., Watts, A., Thomas-Bachli, A., Huber, C., Kraemer, M. U., & Khan, K. (2020). Potential for global spread of a novel coronavirus from China. Journal of travel medicine27(2), taaa011.
  2. Campbell, K. M., & Doshi, R. (2020). The coronavirus could reshape global order. Foreign Affairs18.

[9] Harari, Y. N. (2020). The world after coronavirus. Financial Times20.

[10] Zhou, Y., & Chen, L. (2020). Twenty-Year Span of Global Coronavirus Research Trends: A Bibliometric Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health17(9), 3082.

1 Van Doremalen, N., Bushmaker, T., & Munster, V. J. (2013). Stability of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) under different environmental conditions. Eurosurveillance18(38), 20590.

  1. Breban, R., Riou, J., & Fontanet, A. (2013). Interhuman transmissibility of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus: estimation of pandemic risk. The Lancet382(9893), 694-699.

[13] Wang, H., Li, T., Gauthier, S., Yu, E., Tang, Y., Barbarino, P., & Yu, X. (2020). Coronavirus epidemic and geriatric mental healthcare in China: how a coordinated response by professional organizations helped older adults during an unprecedented crisis. International Psychogeriatrics, 1-4.

[14] Abd El-Aziz, T. M., & Stockand, J. D. (2020). Recent progress and challenges in drug development against COVID-19 coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)-an update on the status. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 104327.

[15] Cauchemez, S., Fraser, C., Van Kerkhove, M. D., Donnelly, C. A., Riley, S., Rambaut, A., … & Ferguson, N. M. (2014). Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus: quantification of the extent of the epidemic, surveillance biases, and transmissibility. The Lancet infectious diseases14(1), 50-56.

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