Would 2021 with Covid 19 be better?

Would 2021 with Covid 19 be better?

Buse Biçer Akbaş – President of GJC Nationwide Media Assembly

2020 was spent trying to manage the Covid-19 outbreak. It was an ‘unpredictable’ year in all its dimensions. We have not seen global leadership or cooperation on such an issue that requires all-out struggle. So to speak, each sheep was hung by its own leg. Finding and distributing the vaccine was an example of serious non-coordination and non-compliance.  The World Health Organization has failed to do its part, it has failed to show leadership. We’ve seen that China, which played to world leadership before the pandemic, is not actually ready. The United States under Trump literally screwed up in the fight against the pandemic, the number of cases exceeded 16 million as of mid-December, and the loss of Life approached 300 thousand. That failure drove Trump out of the presidency.  Europe also fell into its own problems, severed contact with the world. The world in pandemic management now has to turn to global collaborations to deal with this wreckage, which it takes over from 2020. So 2021 is a year in which global change is expected. Biden’s rise to power has also stoked the prospect of that change.

What kind of Global Change?

First of all, this year will be the year of a return to predictable policies. In addition to the uncertainty created by the epidemic, a US administration led by Trump had changed the balance in the world. Now in the system, it can be expected that the stones will first fall back into place and new areas of cooperation will be formed. We will begin to feel the impact of the recovery from April, the first quarter of 2021. A significant part of the vaccination has been done and will spread around the world.  But for the recovery to be permanent, there needs to be a ‘synchronized and strong recovery’. Strengthening the World Health Organization or collaborations on this issue on a new platform that will be created will be crucial for the effectiveness of the fight against the health dimension of the pandemic. In this context, the US re-accession to the World Health Organization under Biden, who will take his seat first in January, will be important for global cooperation, as well as support for the development and equal distribution of vaccines and treatments.  In the next stages, Global Change and cooperation are needed in 4 key areas, especially in order for the stones to fall into place in the world system. These will be the economy, trade and technology, foreign policy and climate.

Economic recovery

The rise of the rapidly falling world economy from early 2020 will depend entirely on private sector risk appetite. Covid 19 case numbers, which have increased again in the world since October 2020, which we call the second wave, have slowed our rate of return to normal in 2021. Economic restrictions resumed in many countries as new outbreak cases increased in October 2 of 2021. from the quarter, we can see growth accelerating in both developed and developing countries. The last time we saw such a synchronized recovery was in 2017.

Although the fact that the pandemic was so strong and lasted for so long shows that the global economy is not as weak as thought, we will see it leave permanent scars on the global economy, especially on the side of growth and unemployment. Even if there is a sharp recovery in 2021, the economies are likely to be 5% smaller than planned. Expectations in the IMF Economic Outlook report also point to this.


IMF forecast for global economic growth

  April June October
2020 %3.0 %4.9 %-4.4
2021 %5.8 %5.4 %5.2

                                                                                                                                                                              Source: IMF

Covid 19 is also expected to grow by 9% in 2021 and 5.4% in 2022 for China, the country that implemented the first restrictions. Some emerging markets outside of China have ‘emerging markets’ due to the dynamics covid 19 creates in the supply chain, and they will positively affect the global growth rate. For example, trade-dependent economies such as Korea and Taiwan are already in the process of recovery in large and more domestic demand economies such as India and Brazil, some numbers have exceeded pre-Covid19 levels and are recording positive growth compared to the previous year. India is forecast to record a recovery of 8.8% higher than any other country in 2021.

On the unemployment side, the numbers have reached levels never seen before. One of the most important issues in the economic recovery of 2021 may be creating jobs and increasing employment.  Areas of cooperation for economic recovery also depend primarily on public health and the vaccine race between countries, global consumer demand, financial market sentiment and capital flows. So it seems that the political monetary support given by states during the pandemic cannot be withdrawn too soon.

Trade and technology

The competition between the United States and China, which reached its peak in 2020 with 5G technology, will continue to increase in 2021 on issues such as robots, artificial intelligence. Tech avoid establishing China’s dominance China’s attempts to stop global norm-making standards, to cooperate on Cyber Security, protect critical technologies, starting from 5G to create a common approach to the digital economy issues such as fair taxation, technology and trade can be expected to be on areas of joint cooperation. At this point, cooperation can be seen, especially between the US and the EU. Because one of the issues on the agenda of the European Commission was the establishment of Technology councils between countries. But finding common ground on issues like digital taxes and data privacy won’t be easy. On the other hand, it is necessary to read well the changes that occur in supply chains during the pandemic. Global collaborations will reshape Sunday places that have been transformed by the pandemic.



Foreign policy

China will again be the focus of the world foreign policy agenda in 2021. Cooperation with China will stand out as the key element of alliances in the global system. Other areas of cooperation could be re-establishing the Iran nuclear deal, ensuring stability in the Middle East, redefining the EU defence identity. Remember a France that said,” NATO is brain dead, ” there is a Europe divided on NATO. The EU’s glue on this issue could be the US. At the center of the foreign policy agenda, authoritarianism, human rights violations and the fight against corruption can be seen as the main areas of study. US-EU rapprochement in the eastern Mediterranean is important. At the EU leaders ‘ summit in December, the two sides agreed to co-ordinate relations with both the Eastern Mediterranean and Turkey. The summit was also postponed until March to impose tough EU sanctions on Turkey. The sanctions were one of the most important topics of 2019 and 2020 because of the S-400s with the US and the Eastern Mediterranean with the EU, and they will be in 2021. Because of the S – 400, the United States announced a series of sanctions decisions in December targeting the Defense Industry. In 2021 we can see the continuation of these sanctions. The severity of the moderate sanctions could increase further. With another EU sanction due in March, this bill could be too heavy for Turkey. On the one hand, global cooperation will be a starting point for 2021, while severe sanctions imposed by the US-EU bloc will damage the spirit of ‘global cooperation’ that the world needs to heal.  Excluded in such a situation, Turkey may turn to the search for new cooperation.  This drives the world into a new polarization.


Perhaps one of the most important consequences of the pandemic will be the need for Common will to be created against global climate change. Otherwise, the new global crisis after the pandemic could be caused by the climate. Former US President Trump has withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement. Biden had promised to return to the deal as soon as he took office. The Common will to fight climate change could be one of the key areas of global cooperation. The most important issue of cooperation here is that countries make a common commitment to Yesil carbon emissions by 2050 and create a green trade agenda in line with the World Trade Organization.

As a result, the policies of conflict and protectionism inherited from 2019 have fallen asleep with the pandemic process in 2020, and there has been a period of ‘struggle’ in which the world has become more introverted. 2021 is a period of ‘tactics and action’ in which the cards are re-drawn. We will see a year 2021 in which we will witness more cooperative reset relationships. The biggest obstacle to broad-based cooperation seems to be technology. We’ll see if 2021 is a better year than 2020, but more dialogue and cooperation on the international stage seems necessary.