In Depth

Instant Opinion: Coronavirus ‘not a crisis of globalisation’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Wednesday 11 March

The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Robert Armstrong in the Financial Times

on an interconnected world

Coronavirus is a global crisis, not a crisis of globalisation

“There is no longer any doubting the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis. But we need to be clear about what kind of crisis this is. It has the potential to do worldwide economic and human harm. But it is not the result of a flaw in the organisation of the world economy, in the way people, goods and money flow across the globe. It is a global crisis, not a crisis of globalisation. The distinction is important, because if politicians and business leaders take the wrong lessons from this crisis, the world will be less prepared for the next. It is not surprising that, when Covid-19 still looked like a Chinese rather than a global problem, US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said that the virus, regrettable though it was, would ‘help accelerate’ the return of jobs to North America. If you see the world economy as a zero-sum game, one country’s loss must be another’s gain.”

2. Rafael Behr in The Guardian

on an inexperienced chancellor

Rishi Sunak’s impossible task: sticking to a plan Johnson doesn’t have

“Sunak’s rapid ascent to the job of chancellor gives him status, not stature, and he goes into his first budget with authority already diminished by the circumstances of his promotion. Sajid Javid resigned rather than surrender his Treasury advisers to a command-and-control structure based in Downing Street. By accepting the job on terms that were unacceptable to his predecessor, Sunak advertised himself as the most submissive chancellor in living memory. If he has an independent streak, he keeps it covered in public. He is fluent in that polystyrene dialect that politicians use to pad out space in interviews when they would rather say nothing. That makes it hard to distinguish between caginess and mediocrity.” 

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3. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in The i

on the hardships of womanhood

After the optimism of International Women’s Day, it’s back to the hard reality of misogyny

“Online the worst of men spume misogynist vitriol; in public spaces they leer, touch and intimidate; at work they find ways to keep us in our places; and at home women and girls are forced to submit to them. Let me say emphatically, that this is not a slur on all men and boys. Many men are kind, supportive and stalwartly feminist. But reactionary maleness is resurgent and needs to be recognised.”

4.  Hana Al-Khamri in Al Jazeera

on a dynasty of tyranny

MBS and the Saudi crisis of legitimacy

“Just like his predecessors, MBS [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud] has struggled to resolve the most pressing problem of the House of Saud - that of legitimacy. His grandfather, King Abdulaziz Ibn Al Saud, the man who founded modern Saudi Arabia, set up the fledgeling Saudi state on two pillars: the distribution of oil wealth among the kingdom’s people in return for allegiance to the House of Saud and an alliance with the Wahabi religious establishment. He also concluded a strategic alliance with the US to ensure the country’s regional security, which one could see as the third pillar of the Saudi state. Despite MBS’s best efforts, however, cracks have appeared in all three.”

5. Sean Guillory in The Moscow Times

on America’s memory

Why should Bernie Sanders apologize for communism?

“No matter how much Sanders genuflects in the ritual denunciation of communist authoritarianism — and make no mistake it is a ritual — he will continue to be treated as if his signature had been alongside Stalin’s on NKVD execution orders. This is because the ritual isn’t about any real memory of the lived experience of communism, rather, it is an exercise in white-washing the US’s social and economic injustice and focusing the lens on imagined dark regimes elsewhere. Like most memory politics, the American memory politics of the communist past and how it is narrated is first and foremost a whip for ideological disciplining. At a time when the hegemony of the American political center trembles, the thrashes of this lash only intensify.”

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