The Nexus Between the COVID-19 Pandemic, International Relations, and International Security

Excerpt:

The extent to which other related global relationships, national entities, and supranational organizations have performed in the current case will only be clear in retrospect: it will quite possibly emerge that a combination of right- and left-wing polices – cherry-picking elements of travel and visa restrictions, greater health security and diplomacy investments, and other defensive and protective policy aspects from the two highly divergent sets of agendas — will be the guiding paradigm for the decades to come. Despite the mutual antipathy between contemporary political perspectives in the United States, there are elements of each agendas — what has been called bipartisanism, or post-partisanship — that will be crucial to the future of humanity. Taking this forward in a proactive, positive, and productive manner requires that neither side be vilified.

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Date: 2020/05/26

Five Coronavirus Success Stories: Different, But the Same

In this paper, Dr. Virginia Bacay Watson highlights the steps taken by five countries to minimize the spreading of COVID-19 through a common thread of effective preparation, quick actions and effective, trusted leadership, despite different approaches.

Excerpt:
All told, the quick, early, and decisive actions of the governments of Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam enabled them to manage the coronavirus spread. A legacy of a robust health-care infrastructure provided a point of departure for assessing additional requirements and priorities in both Germany and Taiwan. A legacy of experience and lessons learned with the MERS and/or SARS epidemics allowed South Korea and Taiwan to activate existing mechanisms already in place. The public-supported “go early, go hard” strategies of New Zealand, Taiwan and Vietnam accounted for a low number of cases at the onset. In all of the cases, leaders fully appreciated the severity of the situation and quickly developed responses that were timely and appropriate.

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Date: 2020/05/20

Resumption of Work After the COVID-19 Lockdown Period and an Approach to Attaining Herd Immunity While Suppressing the EPI Curve – in the Philippines

Noel Miranda details the steps taken in the Philippines to decrease the EPI-Curve, while implementing a strategy to obtain herd immunity, and urges decision-makers to implement the use of the identified pharmaceutical/biological approaches to COVID-19.

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The duration of this COVID-19 epidemic could last up to 2022. This means we should be constantly suppressing and flattening the curve for that entire duration.  Hopefully, we would have better preventive and curative approaches that can modulate COVID-19 disease or enable herd immunity to be achieved sooner.  This would reduce risk of severe disease and deaths, or eradicate the disease.

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Date: 2020/05/18

Oceania’s Potential Role in Space Governance Development?

In this paper, Dr. Alfred Oehlers focuses on the potential of Oceania playing a more vital role in the future of space governance.

Excerpt:
It may seem incongruous to speak of space and Oceania together. Somehow, the juxtaposition of high-tech space missions against a commonly held vision of relaxed, sunny, palm-fringed beaches, just seems odd. Yet, in these unusual times we live in, the connection may be more important than we realize. At a time of heightened geopolitical competition across multiple domains, Oceania can assume a very helpful role assisting the United States and like-minded nations in a strategic contest shaping the governance of these domains.

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Date: 2020/05/13

2019-NCOV Political Framing and Blame-Gaming

In this paper, Dr. Srini Sitaraman demonstrates how the mechanisms of political interference have historically resulted in disastrous outcomes in battling pandemics, and highlights this repeating pattern with COVID-19.

Excerpt:
According to an American intelligence assessment, the conclusion that 2019-nCoV is “not manmade or genetically modified” is the current official position. However, intelligence officials continue to explore “whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.” Several governments have called for independent inquiries into the origins of 2019-nCoV and publicly issued calls for re-examining economic and political relations with China. The Chinese government has aggressively reacted with threats against the European Union, Australia, United Kingdom, and Canada.

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Date: 2020/05/13

COVID-19 Healthcare Workers: 70% are Women

In this paper, Dr. Inez Miyamoto highlights the need for research to understand the challenges healthcare workers face from a gendered perspective to better respond to pandemics.

Excerpt:
“Healthcare workers are suffering from elevated stress levels not only from exhaustion and loss of life, but from also having to make painful, ethical decisions on patient care in an environment of constant shortages. In a study of healthcare workers in China, more women experienced more severe symptoms of depression, anxiety, and distrust than did men.”

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Date: 2020/05/13

Ships Become Dangerous Places During a Pandemic

In this paper, Wade Turvold and Jim McMullin illustrate the difficulties of life aboard ocean-going vessels and cite historic cases of how onboard ventilation systems and close-quarters living conditions have contributed to the spread of contagious diseases, including COVID-19.

Excerpt:
“Due to their unique features, ships become particularly dangerous places during times of pandemic. The outbreaks in the USS Leviathan and the MV Diamond Princess both point to the same lesson. Ships with their characteristically crowded conditions, small spaces, and poor ventilation increase the transmission rate of breath-borne respiratory illnesses. “

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Date: 2020/05/05

How to Improve Security Outcomes During a Pandemic? Start with a Gender Lens

In this paper, Sharon Gouveia Feist and Monica S. Herrera state that “Here in Hawai‘i, in response to increased multi-island reporting that landlords are pressuring women for sex in exchange for rent, the State Commission on the Status of Women published guidance and resources for women being exploited by their landlords during this COVID-19 crisis. Every day, physical security is threatened as a direct result of this pandemic. This is addition to other security concerns women uniquely face, such as, economic insecurity as the lower paid workers; family and household insecurity as primary caregivers for the elderly, sick, and out of school youth; and health security as the world increasingly relies upon women serving on the front lines as pandemic responders – over 70% of the healthcare workers are female.

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Date: 2020/04/27

Making the Most of It, Part II: Xi Jinping Leverages Coronavirus ‘War Without Smoke’ to Spur Digital Transformation, Test National Defense Mobilization

In this paper, Dr. Dorman states that “Despite being tied to the pandemic or “economic restart,” current Chinese domestic propaganda efforts on topics ranging from “crisis management” to “digital transformation” and “defense mobilization” did not originate with the coronavirus. Instead, each represents an agile repackaging of Communist Party guidance and propaganda messaging that was already months or years old. Facing a crisis of confidence following its muddled response to the coronavirus outbreak, domestic propaganda efforts were initiated within days or weeks to remold the Party image. Instead of starting from scratch, existing campaigns were repackaged to highlight a Party that was not only in control and leading the crisis response, but even taking advantage of the crisis to accelerate China’s domestic and international goals.”

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Date: 2020/04/27

COVID-19 and the ASEAN Chair Agenda: Vietnam’s Lost Year? and Brunei’s, Too?

In this paper, Dr. Oehlers states that “There is mounting concern the COVID-19 pandemic may negatively affect progress with several crucial issues confronting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Precautionary measures such as restricted travel have virtually paralyzed progress while intensifying impacts have injected additional priorities on already crowded agendas, all to be addressed by Chairs facing increasing constraints. Efforts by the current and next incoming Chair – Vietnam and Brunei, respectively – will likely mitigate circumstances. ASEAN may also wish to consider bolder temporary measures to signal and reassure a sustained continuity and focus on these crucial priorities, despite the extraordinary challenges now faced.”

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Date: 2020/04/24