Double Jeopardy

Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc around the world.
There are no solutions in sight except the development of a
vaccine and that will take some time.

By Dr. Moonis Ahmar | June 2020

It is too early to predict a radical transformation of the prevailing world order once the coronavirus pandemic crisis is over. The earlier structural change in the global order after the end of the Second World War and the end of the Cold War was predictable as the map of the world had changed because of the two major global events. The pandemic crisis of 2020 is of a different nature as the virus which is said to have originated in Wuhan China at the end of December 2020, has spread to all the continents of the world and the number of those infected has crossed over 4 million while the death toll has crossed 300,000 lives.

The physical and financial damages of COVID-19 are unprecedented as never before in the last 100 years, barring the Spanish flu of 1918, the world has been so vulnerable to a virus with a lethality that has no boundaries. The crisis has exposed the fault lines of the World Order because two major global powers, the United States and the People’s Republic of China, are eye ball to eye ball, blaming each other of spreading the virus, thus plunging the entire world in a colossal crisis.

The World Order means a global system in which major international actors and global transnational organizations play a vital rule. The World Order is composed of international economic, military, security, political and information systems which are responsible for governing the world. The United Nations, the Group of Seven, the Group of 20, the World Economic Forum, NATO, the World Bank and IMF, the Asian Development Bank and other organizations play an important part in the functioning of World Order.

In analysis, it is obvious the world order has weakened the unipolar system which emerged after the disintegration of the Soviet bloc. It is gradually being replaced by a multipolar order. From 1945 till 1991, the world was bipolar in which there were two centers of power i.e. the United States and the Soviet Union. Prior to 1945, the world order was multipolar and imperial in nature in which great European powers like Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium had vast colonial territories in Asia, Africa and Latin America. After the dismantling of the imperial world, the vacuum was filled by America and the Soviet Union. In the last 15 years, one can observe the steady erosion of the unipolar world order and the fragility of American power despite the fact that out of 1.9 trillion dollars of global military expenditure in 2019-2020, the United States share stood at 750 billion dollars. The emergence of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is another attempt to challenge the unipolar world.

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The writer is Meritorious Professor and former Dean Faculty of Social Sciences University of Karachi. He can be reached at

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