Liberalism and geopolitics beyond COVID-19

This latest briefing from UK think tank The Foreign Policy Centre looks at how Covid-19 is disrupting long held liberal assumptions.

This briefing by Dr Kevork Oskanian examines what he sees as the broken promises and mistaken assumptions long held by uncritical proponents of the Liberal World Order that are being exposed by the current Covid-19 crisis. Firstly, the concept of the decreased relevance of the nation-state, and national forms of identification – which has been contradicted by overwhelmingly nationally-based reactions, and national forms of existential identification, building on the political trends of the last decade. Secondly, liberals’ faith in free-market and free-trade fundamentalism, whose dangers have been exposed by vulnerable supply chains, the necessity of state intervention, and the relevance of moral – rather than purely technocratic – choice. Thirdly, he argues the liberal West’s frequent lack of self-awareness, and one-size-fits-all universalism, have created distorted perceptions on the nature of the crisis, and unwarranted expectations on the applicability of Western liberal solutions to wider world. Oskanian concludes suggesting a form of liberalism that scales back what might be seen as messianic universalism & market fundamentalism in favour of reinvigorated, inwardly focused yet open, exemplary liberal-democratic states (& communities of such states), with more pragmatic world-views.

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