COVID-19 spread across the globe like a true tsunami: almost imperceptible at the outset, building inexorably, resulting in tremendous destruction.
Global interconnectedness such as the free flow of goods, services and people became a liability spreading the disease across borders and around the world. Efforts to contain the outbreak and staunch the increasing loss of life resulted in economic conditions not seen since the Great Depression. Wealth was wiped out, businesses closed and poverty rates grew.
Geopolitically, the adversarial relationship between the United States and China intensified and the worldwide contest between democracy and authoritarianism deepened. It was a global crisis necessitating a collective response―yet international cooperation almost entirely broke down with key world leaders hardly on speaking terms.
Thomas Wright’s recent book “Aftershocks” (written with Colin Kahl) offers a riveting and comprehensive account of one of the strangest and most consequential years on record. He draws on his research for this book in a program with the Vail Symposium to tell the story of how nationalism and major power rivalries constrained the response to the worst pandemic in a century. The COVID-19 crisis exposed the limits of the old international order; Wright will explore how the reverberations from COVID-19 will be felt for years to come.
Cindy Engles graciously underwrites our Geopolitical Series. Alpine Bank graciously sponsors our online programs.