In this article, I explore the new contours of world politics.
The Black Death is a natural benchmark for the COVID-19 pandemic and indicates that, after the present catastrophe, each place will undergo reconstruction on its own terms. However, a better reference is the pandemic that decimated the Americas in the aftermath of the arrival of Spanish conquistadores. This was the first time since the rise of capitalism that no Western power pre vailed in an international crisis. In the current pandemic, the United States has lost to China. Liberal democracy has lost the seductive power it once enjoyed, as a post-totalitarian polity has done better in “the battle of COVID-19.” Rather than sparking a new Renaissance, as happened after the Black Death, the current pandemic signals a different aftermath in which the powers that be feel the pressure of a rising outsider, as with the Conquista that changed forever the political landscape of the Americas.
Key Words: COVID-19 Pandemic, Geopolitics, Imperialism, U.S.-China Relations, World Hegemony.
Published as Centeno, Ramón I. 2020. “Pandemonium: The International Situation after COVID-19,” in Pandemic and the Crisis of Capitalism: A Rethinking Marxism Dossier, edited by the Editorial Collective of Rethinking Marxism. Brighton, MA: ReMarx Books, 37-48.