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An American Perspective on Post-Pandemic Geopolitics

By Frank G. Hoffman RUSI

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A group of National Guardsmen wearing protective gear stand together.
Wisconsin National Guardsmen discuss safety procedures before testing at Sunny Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Sheboygan, Wis., April 5, 2020. More than 300 troops mobilized to fulfill potential missions that included specimen collection at mobile testing sites, transporting supplies or equipment, logistics support and additional medical support to communities.
A group of National Guardsmen wearing protective gear stand together.
Collection Team
Wisconsin National Guardsmen discuss safety procedures before testing at Sunny Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Sheboygan, Wis., April 5, 2020. More than 300 troops mobilized to fulfill potential missions that included specimen collection at mobile testing sites, transporting supplies or equipment, logistics support and additional medical support to communities.
Photo By: Army Spc. Emma Anderson
VIRIN: 200405-Z-VN142-1131C

Viewed from the other side of the Atlantic, the coronavirus crisis will have significant geopolitical implications in the near term, becoming possibly even more significant over the next few years.

With this in mind, we should expect politics in Europe and the US to be more focused on the current health crisis and its follow-on implications. Political leaders will have little time to devote to issues outside their borders, and the spillover impacts at home will demand fiscal resources and induce domestic socio-economic pressure that will have to be dealt with as a priority. This will reduce attention to global matters for some time and absorb massive resources.

China, in my view, does not come out as a winner in any way from the crisis. There is little doubt that the West is painfully aware of the grave risks of the interaction with Beijing. Both government officials and the general public are smart enough not to give credence to the CCP’s word. Both sides of the Atlantic are aware of where the contagion originated, and equally aware of how China’s leaders distorted the scale of the contagion.  Both realise that China's orchestrated disinformation cost US and UK lives. Far fewer people today believe that China can be trusted. It may represent itself as taking on a global humanitarian role, but it cannot erase the devastating costs that its repressive system allowed to occur. So, I see China as weakened geopolitically in the near term.

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