Now its officially in Turkey, too, after 114 countries in the World. Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in early hours of March 11 that the first Turkish patient, a male, had been disinfected during a travel to Europe, not to China.
Perhaps it will be too speculative to question a link between the year 2020 being China-Italy Year of Culture and Tourism as of Jan. 1 and Italy being one of the major hubs of spread of Coronavirus originated from China. Five million Chinese tourists visit Italy every year, anyway, but the “zero patient” is spotted as a man from Milan recently travelled to China. After the death toll from coronavirus COVID-19 has reached 463 on March 9, the government has locked down major cities in the country, closed down schools and universities and cancelled domestic and international event which gather more than 1,000 people.
Schools and major institutions and closed in Iran, too, where the death toll is revealed as 237 on March 9; the “zero patient” in Iran was spotted as a merchant from Shiite Muslims holly city of Qom, near Tehran, who recently travelled to China. Neighboring Turkey has closed all border gates with Iran (and Iraq) decreasing its lorry trade by 90 percent and all flights were cancelled after a Turkish Airlines flight from Tehran to Istanbul had an emergency landing to Ankara due to high fewer of several travelers on board who have been taken under quarantine immediately.
Impacts on life and economy
China which happened to be source of the virus, possibly from the openly sold game animals infected by bats whose natural habitats are under human-made deforestation and global warming, is acting responsibly in imposing an effective lockdown, despite being late to admit the disease. Its spread all over. There are real-life horror movies going on in cruise ships taken under quarantine across the world. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence revealed that 21 people on board such a cruiser anchored off of California had tested positive and 19 of them were crew members. Working in the kitchen, or room service? It’s not revealed yet.
Everyone should better forget about high tourism revenues this year and perhaps for many years; civil aviation as well. Also export products and not only from China, Japan and South Korea; now it’s spreading terribly in Europe, thanks to the Schengen travel liberties. Japan Today News started a 6-day voting campaign on March 9 via its Twitter account asking for a “Yes” or “No answer to the following question. “Ignore the coronavirus hysteria – now’s the perfect time to visit Japan because airfares are cheap, there are less crowds and the chance of being infected with the virus is low. Do you agree?” It was perhaps an attempt to get a positive answer but the results in the second day was 67 percent “No”. Japanese government is working hard on what to do about the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) representing 36 important economies of the World has reduced the global GDP rate almost by half to % 1.5 for 2020; before the outbreak it was %2.9.
The second blow to EU after Brexit
The COVID-19 spread in Europe has delivered another blow to the European Union (EU) after the exit of UK, or the Brexit from the most successful peace and development project of modern times. EU leaders after Brexit have been trying to give the impression of “No, nothing has happened, Brits will suffer more” kind of a mood but that is not true; the EU’s “soft power” attraction is not as strong as before. And speaking about power, EU’s joint defense is much more dependent on NATO and the U.S. after Brexit, as clearly stated by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the opening speech of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) on Feb. 15, 2020.
The theme of the MSC was “Westlessnes” and its report was underlining that in today’s world, the “global tendency was anti-globalism”. In the report it was also said that the “Western values”, mainly respect to human rights and liberal democracy, market economy and resolution of conflicts through dialogue are being corroded by the West as well. That we observe nowadays over desperate refugees at the joint border of two NATO countries, Turkey and Greece, the later is also being a member of EU. During the Conference the questions about whether the world is going back to a new form of the nation-state order from globalism were also asked in several speeches and panel discussions. With no clear answer, but those were rhetorical questions anyway.
The world is turning inwards
Globalism has been used for nearly 30 years since the collapse of the berlin Wall in 1989 and then the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1992. It was used in parallel with the term of “unipolar” World, since one of the poles was no longer there. It was as if celebrating the victory of the U.S. its NATO allies and capitalism against Soviet Russia, its allies and communism. That’s why former allies of Moscow in East Europe were rushed into the EU without qualifying the criteria due to strategic calculations which has been proving wrong nowadays.
Not only the U.S. but the EU enjoyed their global domination in 1990s and 2000s. The EU, as a total became World’s largest economy in 2018. Not any longer after Brexit and Eastern Europe members have already turned their faces to the U.S. rather than strong EU allies like Germany and France.
The “West” considered Russia only as a new market to exploit and China as a new market, plus cheap labor and they were wrong. China grew beyond expectations. It was the World’s second economy (representing %16) in 2019 after the U.S. (In the year of SARS outbreak there were 20 million Chinese tourists travelling across the World; in 2018 the number was 150 million; meaning a $250 billion economy and %9 of the global tourism.)
With new trade barriers imposed by the U.S. both to China and Europe, new politically motivated sanctions, emerging of local economies, the globalism as it was defined three decades ago even before the COVID-19 virus does seem to come to its end. A new and more dangerous form of nation-state dragging the world toward the set of pre-WWI (not WWII) circumstances is rising on the horizon.
Brexit was like the political manifestation of the end of globalization and Coronavirus happened to be the economic end with a lot of loss of lives.