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How Will the Coronavirus Impact Global Politics?

woman alone with mask on train

With the growing number of confirmed coronavirus cases, many are left wondering how this pandemic will affect global affairs. This week on Full Disclosure, host Roben Farzad sits down with PBS NewsHour Senior Foreign Affairs producer, Morgan Till to discuss the pandemic, crude oil wars, the refugee crises and international affairs. Full Disclosure airs Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 8 p.m on VPM News 88.9. 

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Episode Excerpt

The following excerpt was edited for clarity. [1:10]

Roben Farzad: It seems like a few weeks ago, we were doing New Year's resolutions and planning the year ahead, and in one moment, we're taking out the military leader of Iran and a broader war in the Middle East, a world war three. That is completely forgotten now that this pandemic, this once in 100 year pandemic, has truly brought the world to its knees.

Morgan Till: Yeah, I was scrolling through Twitter the other day and our NPR colleague, Steve Inskeep was charting the course from the beginning of the year. [There was] the killing of Qasem Soleimani and threats of war and impeachment and everything, I just tweeted back at him, “I'd like a do over.” It's been that kind of year so far. And now I think there's the realization ... that this may be the biggest story of our lifetime. 

A lot of us covered September 11. A lot of us have covered the wars since then, which were globe shifting and globe tilting. But this has a different feel. As we speak, there are 10 million Americans who have applied for unemployment insurance benefits in the last 10 days. That's just a shocking number that didn't happen during the Great Depression. We're looking at a period where instability in this country is just going to be widespread economic instability. Looking at the global picture, the Secretary General of the United Nations said the other day that he thinks it will take one tenth of global GDP to get the globe back on track, which is an astonishing number. The United States has already passed a $2 trillion relief package. It's not really a bailout, it's a relief package and direct cash infusion. The Fed has opened every spigot and …  we're looking at June before people are really starting to get out and about again.

Farzad: Is there a chief global health officer that every country or most of the countries respect? 

Till: It's a complex question and a complicated question. There is the World Health Organization and its secretary-general. But the WHO was accused -- at least by the United States and some others --- of delaying declaration of the coronavirus epidemic and then pandemic. Some critics accuse it of knuckling under the pressure from the Chinese. There are guidelines that they put out. They do declare pandemics and they have declared this a pandemic. It's a complicated question because there's so many disparate interests for different countries. 


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