Before Covid-19 in Baden-Württemberg, there were three trends occurring in the world that challenged the Westphalian notion of nation-states with complete sovereignty over citizens within their borders. The Westphalian ideal is the pattern of nation-states, with a rule of law defined by geographical borders that emerged out of the Thirty Years War in Europe and replaced a patchwork quilt of overlapping medieval loyalties with more solid blocks of unitary rule under the rule of a sovereign.
Our guest today is Tom Tugendhat. He is part of the UK parliament and he joins us straight from UK. We will ask him how the Nation State may be altered after Covid-19.
–The Nation State is a concept, which many people know as a 200–300 years old in many ways. I think in some ways it is reasserting itself and, in some ways, redefining itself. One of the areas we are going to see evolve in a post-covid world. The Nation State has been reasserting itself already. We have certainly seen countries like UK leaving the European Union, we have seen the rhetoric coming out of the white house and indeed the actions. When it goes further afield we’ve seen Germany was very slow to assist Italy. France was banning the export of various medical products- even to Italy in the early days. So, we are seeing different national identity. Even the US, we are hearing of state boundaries becoming the boundaries between States.
So, we are seeing very different form of national identity emerging maybe a more solid form from what we have been used to for a long time. That is one area where, the fear of the other that a virus, a pandemic can prompt a along with the failure of international institutions from the WHO of the UN right down to many regional bodies has struggled to respond. That has given a greater legitimacy to a real local identity.
What might that mean for foreign policy and the practice of foreign policy?
-There is a possibility that this changes the way we do foreign policy quite markedly, because nation states like to view each other as equals, even if that is not always true. So, countries like UK will start, I suspect, to try and push themselves in a way to see themselves as equal with the world, rather than being a part of a regional organization. I suspect that will also come from many European and many countries around the world. Well, the question is, of course, with how many you truly can be equal and whether your partners will accept it. Now, some partners may do, France and Germany I suspect would do. India is an open question, China appears to be less of open question and whether the current administration of the US would see anyone else as equal is, well, not open to very much question at all.
When you and your colleagues meet back again once all of this is behind us , on the other side of Covid, what do you think will be the biggest foreign policy questions will be wondering about?
– The longer the Covid crisis lasts the more it will be a new world and at the moment will be picking up more of the old one.
The extended it lasts the more we will have seen organizations like WHO will have not answered the questions we needed as early as we needed them and even regional organizations like the European Union and many others around the world will have been found wanting. The extensive therefore this lasts, the more radical as it were the change will be. And that is where we come back to the question of nationalism and national identity, because we are going to have to think again about what the building blocks are of the future. Which is that we will be much more part of a national structure looking to work together than what has evolved the last seventy years into international structure that has started to, in some ways, seek to frame debate rather than be framed by national debate.
This is where, it is very difficult to say, is this the explosion of a supernova that burns brightest before it goes out and this is the end of nationalism or is this quite the reverse. Is this the end of internationalism?
Ultimately, while the world responds to COVID-19, a key question for world leaders is whether 2020 be the year that COVID-19 re-empowered national sovereignty — or is it the year that nation-states proved ineffective in responding to the pandemic, and citizens from around the world opted instead for something different that spans geography?
One thing is certain: we live in interesting times.
MVS Pharma GmbH is an innovative pharmaceutical start-up company, which researches in the area of reducing viruses and bacteria with plant-based aerosols and Covid 19 aerosol protection. Their special formula ensures the purity and the stability of the used ingredients during storage.
Aleksandar Videv is an article writer, who explores the scientific and fictional ideas about Covid-19 future impact in Baden-Württemberg with/or after Covid-19…. and the possibilities for producing aerosols made out of plants against respiratory viruses and bacteria.