Fear abounds. If not fear for your health, then fear for the economy – what happens after Covid19 has been put back in its cage. On both sides of the Atlantic, voices of those who believe that the ‘cure is worse than the disease’ are getting louder. On a more meta-level, there is a real fear that the world as we know it is falling apart.
The fear of economic carnage relegating millions to immediate and abject poverty is real. On all Atlantic coasts, nations find it hard to cooperate, to show solidarity amidst one of the worst crises in the scenario binder – a global pandemic.
Those who observed the Credit Crisis and the ensuing intra-EU crisis that almost brought Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland to the brink of financial armageddon in 2009 and 2010 recognize familiar patterns. Only this time, they argue, things may get much, much worse.
We’ve blown up the economy – now what?
What seems sorely missing is some kind – any kind – of coordination between the European Union and the United States, formerly(?) the staunchest of allies since the end of World War II.
European countries are fending for themselves, with only piecemeal solidarity popping up now and then, when national stocks of facemasks and other medical supplies are replenished. Northern Europe is in a fight with southern Europe about who should be supporting whom, when bills are due, and who should foot them.
Whereas during the financial crisis the United States, leaders of the European Union and multilateral institutions teamed up to organize coordinated responses in 2009 and after, there seems to be no such thing now.
Meanwhile, literally millions of people everywhere are staring down the abyss, unsure of where to go, on what door to knock, or which phone number to call to get help while their livelihoods literally disappear, in many cases overnight.
The possibility that the planet may be headed for a scenario unseen since the 1930s is very real. The easiest thing to do then is for each of us to run for our own hill and assume defensive positions. This while international coordination, cooperation and mutual aid have in the past shown to be the best guarantee for peace, security and prosperity.
The question of how that can be brought about is what we here on the Atlantic Anchors podcast are to investigate in the coming episodes.