The South China Sea as a test for the post Covid-19 order


Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam Nguyen Hung Son

The pandemic caused by Covid-19 virus has had major implications to the world and will continue to be a major factor influencing global order in ways still not yet fully comprehensible. By certain measures the global disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic was the most significant after World War II, at least with the global economy. Will Covid-19 also lead to disruptions in global peace and stability? Would the geopolitical consequences of the pandemic lead to armed confrontations or wars? Analyst around the world are gauging the risks trying to provide early warnings of troubling trends, whereas policy makers in every corner either are guarding against such risks or trying to reap the benefits of any opening created by the global structural movements.
How would the Covid-19 going to transform global order 
A key determinant of the post Covid-19 world order would be China. The continuous rise of China for decades has been a major factor influencing global geopolitical configuration and its changes. How China emerges from the Covid-19 would again have huge impacts on the direction of the geopolitical changes. Having successfully controlled and emerged from the pandemic earlier than the West, especially the United States, would China become politically and economically stronger and expedite the “West to East” tectonic shift? Or would the pandemic bring down the already slow Chinaʼs economy with irreparable social and political consequences to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)? If this is the scenario, how would the wounded Dragon react internationally, especially against mounting foreign pressure for accountability on the origin of the Covid-19 virus.
Another important determinant of the future order would be major powers rivalry, especially that between the US and China. While the general observation is that this rivalry is structural and would not dissipate anytime soon, regardless of how China emerges after the pandemic and who would be elected as the USʼs President in November, the intensity of the rivalry and the extent to which it influences other countries is at any oneʼs guess. Some suggests that a cold war between the two countries has already began, albeit in new form, others thought hot armed conflict could not be ruled out, especially in the South China Sea. Many suggest that the analogy of todayʼs geopolitical rivalry to Cold war 2.0 is misleading, because of the absence of some key features of its 1.0 version, namely an ideology competition and the segregation of countries into competing blocks. However, there also are observations that those lacking features are under brew. An ideological flight is seen through the US attacks of the CCPʼs core values while China claims its political system out perform its democratic rivals evident through the fight against Covid-19.