COVID-19 and geopolitics: Amid the ongoing fight against COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitics over a global superpower is changing
At a time when countries across the world is struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese economy is growing in a bid to help the country attain the status of a superpower over the United States. While the US and Eurozone economies are projected to face declining growth, China is among those countries projected to grow at 1.9 percent. With US’ influence gradually fading away, China is taking over a strategic superpower after transforming its economy and bolstering its political structure.
Countries across the world are expressing concerns over China’s increased influence and participation in various regions and sectors such as information and communication. As per a recent survey by Nikkei, China’s cross-border data flow in 2019 outstripped that of 10 countries examined including the United States. As of now, China accounts for 23% of cross-border data flows, while the US ranks at second with 12%.
Over the last six years, China’s Belt and Road Initiative has expanded exponentially. As of April 2020, around 138 countries and 30 international institutions are a part of the initiative. As per the World Bank, China has the world’s largest economy and is the world’s largest exporter. It is one of the biggest infrastructural giants in the world.
The United States is finding itself in the middle of changing global forces where it sees China as a peer competitor and Russia as its main key adversary. Both China and Russia are in direct contest in the international order to wield greater influence across the world. However, as Beijing’s influence and economic grows, Russia is also grappling with increased competition. Burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia is likely to remain financially stable due to several reasons including its National Wealth Fund. However, the economic shock is likely to put millions into extreme poverty and hamper Moscow’s plan to improve people’s welfare. At the same time, China is overtaking Russia in terms of development and mobilisation of high technology.
Taking note of these developments, Efforts are being made to rethink economic interactions with Beijing and reduce Chinese-dominated supply chains. European Union is accelerating efforts to cut Chinese takeovers and technology and pharmaceutical dependence on Beijing. A number of countries including Australia, Japan and India are investing in projects to support local manufacturing and reduce their reliance on global supply chains.
With the changing equation of global superpower, the COVID-19 pandemic has started a new era of geopolitics.