On 30 March 2020, UN Secretary-General António Guterres explained how the impact of the virus would be much more profound than we had yet realised. The crisis is about far more than health. “The new coronavirus disease is attacking societies at their core, claiming lives and people’s livelihoods". Guterres went on to say "Covid-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations...[we need] an immediate co-ordinated health response to suppress transmission and end the pandemic". The urgency of his petition was clear: as nations grapple to protect their own and politics becomes increasingly inward-looking, the UN is under threat.
The virus has led to draconian measures being introduced to combat it; these range from enhanced surveillance to total lockdowns, and the arrest of people seen on the streets without a good reason. Authoritarianism, a term long associated with only the most brutal of political regimes, now looms over every continent. Importantly, international organisations such as the UN rely on openness and cooperation amongst members. Without this, the opportunity for centralised power grows. And the role of these bodies diminishes, As Andy Gregory writes of this new social order: "At the advice of health experts, even countries regarded as the world’s most liberal democracies have enforced quarantine measures thought unthinkable mere weeks ago." If this continues, the UN will become increasingly redundant in the eyes of political leaders.
The UN is more important now than ever before. It is vital that we listen to its recommendations for limiting the difficult side-effects of this crisis. The body has already announced that it is establishing a coronavirus fund. This will be a vital resources for developing countries without the health infrastructure to care for its people, as well as for developed countries in overcoming the protracted outcomes of the pandemic.
[P1] Success of international bodies relies on liberal societies [P2] Coronavirus is destroying liberal societies
Rejecting the premises
[Rejecting P2] It is too early to tell whether the coronavirus is destroying liberal societies