Adaptation by me.
Humanity faces, for the first time, a truly global crisis that concretely and potentially affects our entire species and the mere nature of what we’re all a part of. It’s a known fact that the economic crisis the pandemic unleashed will impact every facet and basis of life at a global, national, local, familiar, and individual level. To think that our suffering is fleeting is suicidally ignorant.
Benevolent predictions from the Ides of March have been disproven, and even reversed by scientific evidence that confirmed the cruelty of April. It seems like a new biblical condemnation for our past sins. Those who are religious are comforted by Jesus’ resurrection, which is tomorrow. It’s up to us to do the impossible to alleviate the struggles future generations will inherit.
Drama and tragedy occur simultaneously; We suffer it as adversity that comes from up above but is also a conflict between men. The present is impregnated with the future. When guessing what will spawn, we opt to summarize it in metaphors without introducing any straight talk. COVID-19's reign is indeterminate in time, disaster is its crown. The secretary-general of the UN cautioned that “the moment of truth and biggest challenge to humanity since the defeat of fascism in 1945 has arrived.”
Wars have created New Orders indifferent to the political results. An example is the Treaty of Versailles after WWI, the birth of the league of nations, composed of 32 independent states; the guarantor of peace and security through the approval of all of its members. Mexico joined in 1931, precursed by Lázaro Cárdenas, who also fought lone, but unforgettable battles against the advancement of nazism; an ideology that would wreck the organization when European powers resigned. It was all foreboded by the United States’s absence in the organization.
The formation of the United Nations, which began in 1945 with the San Francisco Conference, is an accomplishment of thought and politics which the current crisis has nullified, but is yet to invalidate. It embodies the promise of international law over states and the paradigm of universal, inalienable, and progressive human rights proclaimed in 1948. Its precursor was the Atlantic Charter, which orders stopped the use of force and made armed conquests illegitimate; it seeks to emancipate humanity from terror and want, and it “incites a maximum economic collaboration between nations.” Originally signed by the United States and Great Britain, it was later signed by the USSR and the representatives of occupied European nations. The Atlantic Charter was an antidote for a possible cold war, which, finally, turned inevitable.
The Bretton Woods agreement of 1944 is unforgettable; it originated the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which were a part of the UN, despite their counterproductive effect on the UN’s goals of human liberty and rights. Also unforgettable is the Marshall Plan created by the United States in 1948 to rebuild western Europe, the transfer of fourteen billion dollars at the time, specifically to contain communism. Adjusted for inflation, the sum would be enough to mitigate our catastrophe, which now claims a hundred thousand deaths and a million and a half infections, with unlimited exponential growth. This catastrophe’s cycle could be extended or it could be shortened.
But it isn’t a phenomenon with an end date. It gives way to a substantially new era for humanity. Those who lived during the middle ages never thought that we’d refer to that era that way, and we’ll ignore how this era will be referred by in the future. The duration will be decided by the speed of science and the structure we’ll build to sustain this new era. Kissinger affirms that the pandemic “will alter the world order forever”, and declares that all the institutions failed. The black monk of international relations, even at the age of 96, optimistically imagines he’ll outlive the virus. He admits that “no nation could overcome the crisis with a purely national effort.” He refers to the lack of precedent as the “surreal atmosphere” that the pandemic offers.
He warns that we cannot let statistical marvels or diagnoses through Artificial Intelligence make us complacent. He posits a New World Order: a new social contract that reestablishes the equilibrium between power and legitimacy, its failure would “set the world on fire.” It doesn’t allude to the one proposed in 1975 in favor of another equilibrium between western powers and developing nations, which was left astray by the power’s neglect. Kissinger proposes a “global collaboration” program, but he doesn’t reference the United Nations at all. He talks of a new Social Contract; American superiority, with a Roussonean sauce over it.
It’s time for the Security Council to take control of the chaos. Biosecurity is key to global peace, more than armistices or nuclear treaties; which are both annulled by the power of a superior force that was not created by man.
Porfirio Muñoz Lerdo
A life long political figure who helped introduce dozens of political ideas to the Mexican public administration. He was ambassador to the European Union, part of Mexico City’s Constitutional assembly, president of PRI, and founder of PRD. Currently, he serves as a congressman.