Coronavirus Pandemic Offers Opportunity to Change Russia's Relations with the West
With the spreading coronavirus pandemic, an escalating oil price war, falling markets, and rising tensions in the Middle East, 2020 is on course to be the twenty-first century's most disruptive and volatile year to date.
This constellation of shocks coincides with a profound crisis in the system of international relations. Global governance institutions are paralyzed by normative disagreements, interstate rivalries, a breakdown of trust, and dwindling resources.
The World Health Organization is trying to stand up to the challenge of COVID-19, but it lacks the resources and authority to articulate and implement a global strategic response to the pandemic. International financial institutions are constrained by increasingly confrontational relations among its key shareholders and are unable to be more proactive in tackling global challenges.
In the meantime, the COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped Saudi Arabia and Russia from engaging in a tactical game of chicken over oil prices. The recent collapse of OPEC+ agreements and the subsequent oil price war are unlikely to see any clear winners in either the short or the medium term. At the same time, the price war has significantly increased the vulnerability of all resource economies to the impact of an impending global economic recession.