U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at a joint press conference in Berlin, Germany, Dec. 17, 2020 (AP photo by Michael Sohn).

At the end of a tumultuous and disorienting year for the international community, it seems only fair to take stock of where we stand. The answer is clear: We are between storms. COVID-19 and climate change—the first a dramatic gale whipping the globe, the second a far deadlier gathering hurricane—have brought fresh urgency to international cooperation. The first injections of coronavirus vaccines have brought hope that the pandemic can be defeated soon, though we are far from out of the woods. Meanwhile, with the United Nations gearing up to take a bolder leadership role, a new U.S. president pledging a […]

Photo by 692 Productions, courtesy of Dambisa Moyo.

“It’s very easy for us to forget that things in the global economy and geopolitically were already somewhat precarious before COVID hit in earnest,” says Dr. Dambisa Moyo. “As we start to think about what a post-pandemic recovery looks like, I think it’s very important to have that context in mind.” This is why, for Dr. Moyo, “COVID is an accelerator to the challenged environment that was already occurring.” Dr. Moyo is a widely acclaimed economist and author of four New York Times bestselling books, most recently, “Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy Is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth—and How to […]

A man passes the New York Stock Exchange, Nov. 16, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Lennihan).

In addition to its human toll, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked economic havoc around the world. Entire economies ground to a virtual standstill as governments implemented strict lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus. The impact on individual countries has only been exacerbated by the disruptions to global trade caused by the pandemic, and uncertainty still surrounds the shape of the economic recovery that will come in its aftermath. But even before the pandemic, the developed economies of Western democracies faced structural obstacles to growth that have called into question their models of governance, even as China’s high-growth development […]

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Early this year, when the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic were beginning to sink in, the governments and monetary authorities of the world’s largest economies were challenged to respond. To prevent the worst from occurring, economic rescue packages needed to meet three key criteria from the time-tested, crisis-fighting playbook: speed, size and sustainability. At the time, the policy responses could only be judged on the first two of those characteristics. On both counts, they scored quite well. Collectively, from the United States to Europe to Japan, policymakers’ efforts to address the economic fallout of the pandemic were impressive and historic […]

An employee of Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinovac works in a lab at a factory producing its vaccine for COVID-19, Beijing, Sept. 24, 2020 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR contributor Lavender Au and Assistant Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curate the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive China Note by email every week. The global race for COVID-19 vaccines has serious implications for how soon countries will be able to return to something resembling pre-pandemic normality. China has struck deals with more than a dozen countries to develop vaccines, including many with which it has close trade ties, amid questions about the vaccine trials and their eventual rollouts. Billions of doses are needed, and one of […]

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The year 2020 may well mark the tipping point for the oil and gas industry. Amid a global pandemic that has slashed oil demand by some 8 million barrels per day, the governments of key countries—China, Japan, South Korea, South Africa and others—have announced that they aim to reach net-zero emissions by the middle of the century. After President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January, he will likely add the United States to the list, and when he does, net-zero targets will apply to more than three-fifths of global CO2 emissions. It seems that the world is about to double […]