A few days back while addressing the budget session of National Assembly PM Khan loudly stated his foreign policy regarding USA. He said as I quote here, “We can be partner in peace with America, but we cannot be partner in conflict anymore.
” Two days after the statement, Two and a half million doses of Moderna vaccine arrived in Pakistan under the COVAX program. COVAX is co-led by CEPI, Gavi and WHO, alongside key delivery partner UNICEF.
And this initiative was taken to help the developing countries in vaccine procurement to inoculate their population against Covid.
The global vaccination drive is also going in a full fledge manner and many developed nations have almost their three quarters populations inoculated. The world has again showed its commitment to integration and globalization amid a global crisis.
Just like it did in the post 1840s and 1970s economic disruptions, and the world witnessed new eras of globalization. But how far the statement stands true today; the other side of picture needs to be assessed too.
As the world is apparently trying to contain a pandemic and re-open the economy to mitigate the devastation, the global realignment seems to take place along too on the very basis of conservatism, protectionism, nationalism and autarky.
And the leading nations of the world are trying to use the pandemic to realign their global support and create new alliances
. This has led to the emergence of vaccine nationalism. World’s leading nations which contributed to the development of vaccines are now using their supply to take over support of developing nations in international geopolitical arena.
Pakistan, already facing geopolitical and economic constraints has found herself in the midst of another dilemma.
It has procured and administered Sinopharm and Sinovac in most of its population till now. And the international travel as it seems, is going to get difficult for many citizens in future.
Vaccine Nationalism has also created similar problems for European Unions as its procurement for Chinese made vaccines got pushbacks a number of times due to geopolitics and thus the rate of vaccination throughout Europe has remained slow.
Similarly, trade protectionism and political conservatism has increased too and thus reintegration is facing disintegration instead. And many people are questioning the future of globalization.
The world may face hurdles to its massive rebuilding efforts if the reversal of globalization occurs.
As the global demands for goods have also changed, people are looking for new visions and new leadership and powerful countries mainly the US and China are pushing themselves to take on a leading role to assert their economic and strategic prowess.
But amid all this, the real conundrum is faced by the developing and other developed nations.
As I write these lines, US and NATO forces are hastily leaving Afghanistan and concluding their war on terror efforts in the region in a chaos.
They are thus leaving behind another space to be taken over by the countries that are looking to create new alliances regionally and globally.
And thus PM Imran Khan’s statement in National Assembly is thus an entailment to a shift in foreign policy to catch up to the regional and global realignment.
The fragmentation, multilateralism, confrontation and disruption are thus ensued. Is there an emergence of “Nobalization” — globalization vanishing in a viral haze?
—The writer is a doctor, based in Lahore.