The pandemic induced by COVID-19 shows no signs of abating: it may be that this unprecedented calamity might be a ubiquitous feature of the world in an open-ended manner, for years to come, in different permutations and combinations and with varying intensities, defined by ebbs and flows.

This condition will exact a toll across domains: economics, politics, public policy and international relations.  In a partly globalizing and partly deglobalizing world, all these domains abut and crosscut each other. But, for the purposes of this essay, the focus will be on international relations. What would be COVID’s impact on it?

Given the various ‘unknown unknowns’, against the backdrop of immense uncertainty induced by the pandemic, no easy answers lend themselves to this question. Having said this, some trends -macro and micro- can be discerned.  Superimposed by a rough or ‘loose’ bipolar ‘order’- where China…

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