von Olaf Wientzek

Contribution to the series "The World HandCov'd"

The COVID-19 pandemic has in many ways worked as an accelerator of already existing tendencies in international politics and in multilateral fora. While it is far too early to predict the consequences of the crisis for multilateralism and the multilateral architecture in general, certain developments can still be seen. Definitive predictions should however be approached very cautiously.

Key takeaways

• The COVID-19 crisis has shown both the importance of viable global organizations and their limitations.

• China has demonstrated its global ambition and willingness to use global public fora accordingly.

• Lack of US leadership during the crisis has damaged its soft power reputation and might undermine its positions in the multilateral system. However, the US remains the most powerful state and the leader in innovation and research.

• Other Western countries have tried filling the vacuum left by the US.

You can download the entire report as a pdf.