It is harmless to assert that COVID-19 has exposed strengths and weaknesses of the so-called great powers, emerging economies and International organizations.
However, China have a great opportunity to take the lead in the global leadership stage since its one of the commitments of President Xi as he pursues China’s dream of National Rejuvenation.
China’s early mitigation measures against COVID-19 including the 76 days of lockdown of Wuhan City the origin epicenter of COVID-19 saved the Chinese government, Chinese economy and helped the CCP to polish its international image.
The conflicts within EU as witnessed by the Brexit in January 2020, serves to explain why China may have an opportunity to test US hegemonic power.
EU members were really affected by COVID-19 which limits the EU’s ability to serve as alternative power to US hegemony hence creating gap for China to take the lead.
The key players in EU the likes of German, France, Belgium, Italy were all economically affected by the COVID-19 and these EU member states are now working to ensure that economic recovery of their individual states, creating room for China to test US’s global power supremacy.
In the historical perspective, which shows that global leadership has been changing after the global crisis provides life for this article.
The students of history do remember that the outbreak of the WW I and WW II gave birth to US as global leader in world politics and the collapse of USSR in 1990s gave room to the US to become unipolar power in global affairs and therefore, the outbreak of COVID-19 and its impact on humanity may greatly work out for the ambitious Xi’s government to takeover leadership of global affairs.
The unprecedented China’s influence in global affairs most especially during this COVID era has enormously promoted Health Diplomacy between China and the rest of the world.
China single handedly has supported the most affected countries in Europe and Asia ranging from Italy to Iran respectively.
China provided technical assistance ( Chinese doctors and Nurses) were sent to Rome and Tehran as well as medical facilities like PPE, masks.
The Chinese government funding and support to WHO during in this COVID era where US under Trump Administration is threatening to reduce funding of WHO blaming WHO for being China centric works for China.
China seems to be ready to carry on the global burden which comes with taking on global leadership. On 18th May 2020, China declared to fund WHO with $2bn to enable WHO to deal with global health emergence to fight the global pandemic, this politically serves the China’s interest.
The Chinese economy has remained intact since of the outbreak of COVID while the US economy is in its evening hours as its witnessed with an accelerating unemployment where over 26M US citizens are left employed and yet the competitors’ economy is becoming sustainable.
This means that its only China which is capable for bailing out countries with loans to awaken their economies, this without any single grain of doubt, it is a plus for China because taking on global leadership requires a combination of vibrant economic muscle coupled with beautiful sustainable political landscape and well equipped military hardware which all China possesses.
The COVID-19 has exposed the loopholes of globalization as many great powers have turned their attention to their individual countries which reminds me of Geoffrey Chaucer’s quotation which states that “God for us all, every man for himself”.
In conclusion therefore, it is imperative to assert that China may rise to global stage by offering global leadership at the apex with Chinese characteristics by the end of global pandemic COVID-19.
My argument is based on historical, economic, political and social factors ranging from historical perspective where the change of global leadership has been greatly influenced by global crisis the likes of WWI and WW II which led to the rise of the US as the global leader.
China’s early mitigation measures which have saved the regime and her economy, the loopholes of globalisation where great powers now focusing on individual states recovery from the global pandemic, has enabled China to create allies and polish Chinese Image which are very important in determining the global leadership.
The author is a Graduate Student at Silk Road School, Renmin University of China.