Dan Fisher, editor-in-chief of Uncommon Ground Media, unpicks the isolationist approach adopted by Western countries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, whereby governments have focused primarily on protecting those within their own borders.
Few events in recent memory have demonstrated just how interconnected the world is than the global pandemic we are currently living through.
In the early stages, it appeared that everyone believed COVID-19 would pass them by. Western countries failed to take it seriously. African countries considered it the ‘white people’s virus’.
But it turns out that lax hygiene standards and neglected animal welfare in the wet markets of China have the capacity to infect millions and kill thousands of people across the globe.
Despite the current floundering of liberal and social democratic parties, we can no longer afford to indulge the false promises of nationalism and populism, which suggest we can ‘take control’ of what happens within our borders.
„In the early stages, it appeared that everyone believed COVID-19 would pass them by. Western countries failed to take it seriously.”
The truth is, no matter who we elect, our country will remain adrift on the tides of the global climate, economy and regulatory standards.
Many in the West are terrified of immigration, but the mass movement of people is a product of conditions in their home countries. Those who leave for economic or political reasons often badly wish to return to their places of birth, but felt forced to move elsewhere.
Attempting to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world is not merely ‘selfish’ but self-destructive. The only way to protect people in our own country is to push for universal standards across the globe: working conditions, healthcare, animal rights, environmental policies, democratic norms and human rights.
This is no easy task, as multinational institutions such as the UN and even the EU are seemingly incapable of handling the global crises we are facing. A lot of thought and a lot of work is required from the brightest minds Earth has to offer before we can come to any satisfactory resolution on this front.
It may be too late for a global solution on COVID-19, but there are plenty more disasters on the horizon. We must learn the lessons of this pandemic and act to secure the future of our planet.