ICS Analysis

South China Sea Geopolitics and the Shadow of Covid-19

The current strategic discourse is one of speculation as to whether the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating existing geopolitical trends or generating trends for a new world order in its wake. It may still be early days for a definitive answer given that this global crisis is still unfolding. Its effect, so far, has been for the national leaders to become more inward looking and to hunker down into a survival mode. Individual countries, feeling confident of having overcome this challenge, see a strategic advantage for themselves over the others, still grappling with it, for exploitation in specific situations but they also remain apprehensive that the tables might be turned against them if they are unsuccessful during the pandemic’s next spike.

The domestic political churn being caused by it implies that the shape of emerging decision-making structures would determine the nature of the response the world community will make to the wide spectrum of global challenges facing it. The international environment is characterised by deepening suspicion amongst major powers with little prospect, as compared to the previous pandemics, for global cooperation.


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