Tag Archives: world health

Global Governance After the COVID Pandemic

31 Aug


Global Governance After the COVID Pandemic


Introductory Observations


In making conjectures about global governance in the post-COVID-19 era, it is important to be both cautious and clear. Cautious because there are many uncertainties, including knowing when the Coronavirus Pandemic has subsided sufficiently to make special precautions no longer necessary. Is it at the time when the economy is fully reopened or when a successful vaccine is developed and available for widespread distribution at affordable prices or when it is declared over by national governments, the WHO, or the UN Secretary General? Are we all awaiting ‘a new normal’ or will we remain nervous unless the old normal is restored?


Clarity is equally important when projecting alternative futures for global governance, especially drawing clear lines between what is expected and feasible, what seems necessary, and what is desirable but not likely attainable given existing frameworks of policy framework. A second type of clarification relates to global governance, distinguishing between contingent and structural deficiencies of state-centric world order as it now functions. For instance, the quality of global leadership is clearly a significant dimension of world order, yet too often contingent on the behavior and governmental priorities of the United States and China, and secondarily, on the influence exerted by moral authority figures such as the UN Secretary General or by powerful private sector interests.


In contrast, the dysfunctional failures to achieve sufficient levels of global cooperation to solve common challenges extending beyond the COVID crisis that include climate change, global migration, prolonged civil strife reflect a combination of contingent and structural limitations on problem-solving. States, especially the larger and wealthier ones, seem still preoccupied with satisfying self-serving, short-term definitions of national interests without exhibiting a willingness to take account of global and human interests or the global common good, and so governance responses to planetary challenges continue to be disappointingly weak.


The mismatch between the non-territorial interconnectedness of digitalization and the territorial mentality of nationalism is another source of tension. And perhaps, the most serious tensions pertaining to global governance arise from the interplay between the geopolitical maneuvers of a few political actors (notably, by the largest of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council enjoying a right of veto) and normal states that are more sensitive to their dependence on responsible globalism, and display more readiness to respect international law and the UN. This structural reality was present long before the COVIS-19 suddenly emerged as the most impactful governance threat to human wellbeing in more than a century, especially if measured by its planetary scope and real time worldwide awareness.



Governance Lessons of COVIS-19


Against this background, it seems rather obvious that the most relevant governance lessons are the precariousness of world order at a time of radical uncertainty with respect to challenges of global scale and the unevenness of preparedness for and prudent responsiveness to threats whose reality was being experienced even as their timing was unknowable. There are two distinct lines of plausible response. The first is that there will be a widespread greater appreciation by governments and the public that more centralization of health policy and capabilities is needed to respond more effectively, given the prospect of future pandemics, while withdrawing attention from the governance implications of the pandemic for non-health issues on the global horizons of the future. Such a foreclosure of learning would be in line with the historical recognition that generals correct mistakes of the last war rather than making plans for quite different future wars. Further disorientation occurs because in the context of global governance political leaders of sovereign states are mainly judged by their short-term performance, and tend to assume that their tenure will have ended before future dangers materialize.


Positive adjustments with respect to global health would mean expanding greatly the budget, independence, and authority of the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide warnings, guidelines and training programs as to treatment, early warning alerts, trustworthy information as to disease outbreaks, and even emergency authority to set minimum safety standards. It would also mean taking parallel steps, especially among more economically challenged countries, to develop regional cooperative procedures and institutional arrangements, sharing knowledge, resources, and costs in ways that heed warnings in ways that minimize economic and social dislocation, and take account of the mental strain of prolonged lockdowns. In effect, the peoples of the world need to push hard for an adequately funded global capability to identify and implement good governance practices with respect to global health policy with a stress on crisis management and post-crisis recovery would seem beneficial for all states. Without the push from below such a global capability will not happen.


If such positive adjustments were forthcoming it would reveal an encouraging compatibility between strengthening international institutions, enhancing the capabilities of sovereign states, and recognizing the need for advance preparation, longer term policy horizons, and cooperative arrangements at all levels of social interaction. In this respect, the adaptive policy potential of state-centric world order would be mobilized without necessitating any basic changes in the structures of global governance. The success of this policy-oriented approach would also depend on the emergence of more enlightened global leadership by prominent government, especially the United States, and possibly by new political actors. A basic concern would be whether U.S. global influence would become more internationalist in spirit and substance as exemplified by the restorative commitments made after World War II or would remain inward-oriented, nationalistic, and conflictual as has been the unhappy global story during the Trump presidency.


In this respect, such contingent factors as whether Trump is reelected for another four years in 2020 could be decisive in determining the quality and potential of global leadership after the COVIS-19 crisis ends. There is also the possibility that if the nationalistic orientation persists or even intensifies as the pandemic subsides, it might stimulate other political forces to fill the leadership gap, including coalitions in Africa and Asia. The COVID experience of discouraging international travel could also produce powerful de-globalization trends in the world economy with many unpredictable consequences, including delinking measures that would lessen the risks associated with transnational supply chains, especially for food and security.


If Trump is defeated, the situation will remain cloudy, with possibly heightened prospects of a new cold war highlighting confrontations with Russia and China, accompanied by a renewal of security alignments involving West against East.



Beyond the Health Sector


The most haunting question is whether the COVID-19 widely shared sense that ‘we’re all in this together’ would facilitate more globally oriented responses with respect to climate change, nuclear weaponry, global migration, extreme poverty, and biodiversity loss. As with the pace and depth of changes in the health sector, the applications of lessons beyond health would depend, in the first instance, on whether more globally and future oriented leadership emerged in key national actors, but even this may not be sufficient to overcome the inertia and opposition of entrenched special economic interests pressing for a return to business as usual. Although resistance would be encountered with respect to reforming and internationalizing the health sector, opposition would likely be even stronger if serious attempts are made to regulate fossil fuels, arms sales, robotics, automation, migration/asylum on the basis of the global common good.


For this reason, it seems that heeding the COVID-19 experience with respect to policy formation in relation the non-health agenda will depend not only on enlightened leadership at the level of the state, but mounting social pressure from popular movements and municipal governance seeking longer term, human security, urban-oriented approaches to global threats. If effective, a new political atmosphere favoring internationalism, transnational urbanism, and multilateral agreements could emerge that would facilitate the restoration, enhancement, and reproduction for other world order challenges of such cooperative approaches as were heralded by the Paris Climate Change Treaty (2015) and the Iran Nuclear Program Agreement (JCPOA) (2015).


In essence, post-COVID-19 prospects hinge very much on whether the potential for policy

adaptation can be increased sufficiently to mitigate the most threatening global challenges, and thereby restore confidence in state-centric global governance, as reinforced by transnational civic activism and urban networks of innovative policy initiatives. In other words, these developments do not presume to transform global governance by creating mandatory mechanisms for cooperation and control that are detached from geopolitical oversight. In this regard it would be mistaken to adopt a world order vocabulary such as ‘world government’ or ‘post-statist world order’ to describe a recommended emphasis on maximizing the cooperative potential of the present world order system.


It is possible, especially if other global threats encroach more directly on affluent societies, that a more geopolitically guided approach to global governance would emerge either under a revamped U.S. internationalism or by way of new coalitions that brought together China and the U.S. or China, Russia, and the U.S. to address less coercively what was widely experienced as ecological or economic emergencies. This, too, would not represent a structural modification of global governance as geopolitics—or the role of so-called Great Powers—which have throughout global history pursued their grand strategy outside the framework of inter-state diplomacy and the constraints of international law, and in way that violated moral constraints. The United States, and to a lesser extent China, are currently more accurately perceived as ‘global states’ with a presence and leverage that extends far beyond their borders, yet with a formal political framework remains predominantly ‘state-centric.’ It would be appropriate to reconceptualize the territoriality of state-centric or Westphalian world order to take account of this phenomenon of global states. At present, the influence and activities of global states is not acknowledged on world maps that continue to shape world order imaginaries.


In this central respect, plausible scenarios for the post-COVID-19 Era, have no grounds under existing conditions to anticipate any structural challenge to state-centric world (as including its geopolitical dimensions and urban outreach). The two most controversial structural features of global governance can be focused as follows: 1) the allegation that neoliberalism, the recent phase of capitalism, has dangerously accentuated inequality and global warming, and will become less and less sustainable unless more equitable results are forthcoming; 2) the claim that resurgent ultra-nationalism constitutes a regressive form of state behavior given the realities of the 21st century, although selective deglobalization may enhance human security, especially if emergent in tandem with more obligatory frameworks of state cooperation at regional and global levels. This presupposes increased respect for international law, a stronger UN, and regional actors with more governance authority.  .



Concluding Note


Just as the COVID pandemic came to the world as a shocking surprise, the post-COVID-19

era is likely to be an occasion for major surprises reminding us once again that the human condition is one of radical uncertainty. With this awareness, the most sensible approach to global governance is one that invokes a posture of prudence toward the future. The best guide to prudence is the Precautionary Principle that seeks to take account of future risks without first demanding certainty as to their degree of threat, heeding scientific knowledge and relevant experts. If our leaders learn to guide policy by applying the Precautionary Principle, we might someday conclude that this was the most beneficial lesson learned from the COVID-19 experience.




Post-COVID Prospects Assessed

8 Jul

[Prefatory Note: The text below is a slightly edited interview on post-COVID prospects that was published in Mutekabiliyet, a Turkish student online journal, July 3, 2020]

Post-COVID Prospects Assessed

Question 1: I​​n the past few decades, the world has been heading towards more globalisation, more openness, more interconnectedness and there were more bridges between the civilisations and countries. However, with the rise of US President Donald Trump to power, the far-right started to gain more momentum all over the world. For instance, in France, Marine Le Pen got around 33% which was unprecedented and never happened before. In Germany, Neo-Nazi AfD got around 25%. These are the powers of convergence. Powers that are closing up the countries and not building bridges with the countries. In light of this, what are we going to witness after COVID-19? Are we going for more convergence or divergence? More nationalism and divisiveness or more connectedness?

Response: ​As there are contradictory tendencies present, and their relative strength difficult to evaluate, speculation about post-COVID-19 realities remain highly conjectural. I can offer more or less informed opinions setting forth hopes, fears, and assessments of what we expect in light of what we should have learned from the planetary scope of such an exceptionally dislocating pandemic experience. Also, some alternative scenarios suggest that there are events that might bear heavily on what we expect will happen in the aftermath. Maybe reflecting my identity as an American, although presently residing in Turkey, I regard the American upcoming presidential elections six months away as highly significant, maybe the most significant of my lifetime. It is not only a question of a referendum on the national leadership provided by Donald Trump, but also whether the United States will continue to withdraw from its pre-Trump internationalist role of encouraging global cooperation to achieve shared results that are somewhat reflective of ​human interest at stake as well as of ​national​ and ​geopolitical​ interests.

The earlier Obama role in championing a UN approach to climate change that led to the Paris Agreement in 2015 and his promotion of a deescalating agreement on the nuclear program of Iran in 2015 are illustrative of pursuing national interests by way of global multilateral diplomacy. Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. participation in relation to both of these agreements, previously internationally praised as benevolent breakthroughs for a more positive ecological approach in one instance and a laudable attempt to replace conflict with accommodation in the other, highlights the difference between these two statist and globalist approaches to global problem-solving. During the period of the current health crisis the absence of global leadership by the United States has been a pronounced negative element that has aggravated efforts to combat the disease, with leading countries engaging in blaming rivals rather than promoting cooperation, and some governments even seeking to gain national and commercial advantages by commodifying medical supplies and vaccine research and development.

I would venture the view, that the extension of Trump’s presidency to a second term will mean that nothing fundamental will change with respect to the absence of global leadership attuned to challenges facing humanity as a whole. If Trump is defeated in November 2020, then a vigorous resumption of American internationalist leadership is almost certain to occur, but containing some new and different dangers of geopolitical confrontation. As matters now stand, this dimension of steering the global ship of state remains overly dependent on the U.S. as no alternative leadership is now visible on the horizon, although this could change, yet not likely for some years. China or a conceivably resurgent European Union are the most likely political actors that might become politically assertive in global settings if unresolved issues reached crisis levels of perception. The UN is institutionally situated to play such a role, but so long as geopolitics retains primacy with respect to global policy formation, the UN will remain marginal when its leading members disagree and instrumental only when they agree.

Aside from leadership, another area where conjecture seems helpful, if read with caveats in mind, is with respect to preparedness for future health challenges of pandemic magnitude. It seems tragically evident that many countries, including some of the most affluent and technologically sophisticated were both grossly unprepared with respect to medical supplies (ventilators, ICU units, test kits, personal protective equipment), hospital facilities, and governmental knowhow (timing of lockdowns, social distancing). It would seem likely that the experience of the COVID-19 Pandemic would encourage two sets of adjustments: increased investment in national health systems and an expanded role for the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations generally. The U.S. formal withdrawal from WHO in mid-2020 will create a funding crisis and a loss of universal support. It can be expected that pressure from the public to institute these health-oriented reforms will be considerable in the aftermath of the current crisis, but whether it will lead to major improvements in preparedness remains in doubt as some contrary elements are in play.

On the one side, national leadership, as with wars, learn from disasters to address past mistakes, often without an accompanying realization that future health challenges might not resemble COVID-19. As health crises have tended to be inter-generational, there is are strong temptations for politicians, once the crisis atmosphere passes, to concentrate resources on existing or very short-term public policy challenges. Their performance is not judged by their degree of preparation for longer-term threats but what they do in the span of their term in office, and if a crisis should materialize, then their handling of the situation, not their failure to prevent or prepare, will be the focus of evaluating their leadership. Beyond this, so many governments around the world are stretched thin to a point of being unable to devote resources and energies to the sort of health infrastructure that would put a society in a better position to minimize damage if faced with future viral epidemics.

Such considerations build a strong case for a global approach as it would seem much more economically efficient than expecting the almost 200 countries in the world to make prudent national adjustments, especially those that are poorest, densely populated. and most vulnerable. It would seem sensible to increase the budget of the WHO and assign it major responsibilities with respect to detection and early warning mechanisms, as well as to formulate guidelines as to prevention, treatment, and recovery, and possibly with regard to stockpiling of medical supplies and the subsidizing of regional hospital capabilities. Although this would seem a rather uncontroversial post-pandemic response, it is far from assured. Trump has been attacking the WHO for incompetence and complicity with the alleged early coverup by China, has defunded the agency in the midst of the crisis, and has alone blocked support for the UN call for a global ceasefire that had the support of the other 14 members of the UN Security Council. It seems true that the WHO has not enjoyed the sort of leadership that appears above politics, operates transparently, and commands a high level of professional respect. Additionally, the ultra-nationalist trend in so many countries, unless reversed, is hostile to globalizing solutions to policy challenges, and seems content to let severe problems simmer rather than empower international mechanisms beyond their national governance structures to seek and implement solutions.

In general, what should be the major learning experience from COVID-19 is the significance of what is called the Precautionary Principle (PP) in environmental policymaking. The PP privileges ​prevention​ over ​reaction,​ and encourages action to reduce risks of severe harm before the extent or timing of the risk can be conclusively established. Such an approach rests on heeding warnings from science and relevant experts. The failure to apply the PP has been frequently discussed in recent years with respect to regulating the dissemination of greenhouse gasses, especially CO2, so as to avoid global warming beyond a certain threshold. The reasoning that applies to climate change would also encourage preventive behavior in other areas of concern, such as risks of major wars fought with nuclear weapons or the further increase in transnational migratory flows. Each challenge has its distinctive features, but each would benefit from the application of the PP, but is blocked and resisted by short-termism and by leaders and segments of the public that prefer to leave the future in the hands of God, bestow confidence in the belief that technology will come up with solutions when the risks materialize, or indulge conspiracy theorists that reject all claims of governance structures to limit individual freedom, whether involving pollution or disobeying lockdown decrees.

And, of course, sometimes even well-evidenced risks do not materialize, and the prophets of doom are discredited as was the case of the warnings about Y2K destroying bank records and computer files at the turn of the century or the dire predictions of famine, over-population, and resource depletion by the Club of Rome fifty years ago. The COVID-19 experience underscored the precariousness, fragility, radical uncertainty, and deficiencies of governance at all levels of social action, but what to do poses daunting challenges to the moral and political imagination of all of us. The meme ‘we are all in this together’ has never rung truer, but so has the inverse, as the bodies of the poor and marginalized pile far higher than those of the rich and racially/religiously dominant who minimize the gravity of the crisis because for them it is not as serious as is the economic challenge.

Finally, is the perplexing challenge of interpreting the impacts of interconnectedness, and the contrary moves involving various retreats from globalization. Technological trends in relation to networking and digitalization are certainly heightening the sense of interconnectedness, and the varieties of vulnerability associated with the ease of transnational communication, commuter hacking, and cyber warfare. The degree of networked interaction is creating a new human imaginary. The post-9/11 combat zone pitting non-state extremists against the ‘global state’ of the United States encompasses the entire planet as a global battlefield. Both sides targeted their enemies, with low technology ‘terrorists’ relying on box cutters for weapons and high technology counter-terrorists relying on drone attacks from the air and infiltrated special forces units on the ground. Such interconnectedness erodes greatly international boundaries as markers for a disconnected world order, while the connectedness that arises is a kind of lawless anarchy with no acknowledgement of shared respect for international law, sovereign rights or the authority of the United Nations.

In addition, there is the kind of retreat from globalism that is expressed by the references in your question to a generation of autocratic leaders elected to preside over important states on the basis of an ultra-nationalist, nativist, and chauvinistic message. Such a Hobbesian contrast between order and community within the state and chaos without represents a reaction against the excesses of neoliberalism, especially gross inequality and severe social alienation subject to manipulation by aspiring demagogues. These developments bear witness to the dialectical relations between the pulls toward ​connectedness​ for the sake of market gains and global cooperation to meet systemic challenges such as climate change and migration and ​separation and ​self-reliance​ for the sake of identity, tradition, and community. We can wonder now whether the COVID-19 ordeal will revive the globalizing dynamic seemingly the wave of the future in the 1990s or will intensify the reactive reaffirmation of the statist benefits of disconnectedness that attained such prominence in the decade preceding the pandemic.

Question 2: ​The legitimacy of the international organizations is decreasing as they were not able to do much during pandemic. Some leaders like Trump are threatening international organizations to cut funds which would mean that these organizations would shut-down. What future would IOs have after COVID-19 is over? Is it something that would reinforce their legitimacy and their functioning or something that decreases the legitimacy?

Response: ​My response here again emphasizes the dialectical flow of history, but in a lesser key than with respect to the complex interactions between states and markets in the period following the end of the Cold War. I disagree somewhat with the premise set forth. I think that both the. WHO and the Secretary General demonstrated an importance that came as a surprise to many observers. It is well to remember that COVID-19 became ‘a pandemic’ only when WHO so declared  on March 11th​ and this designation was accepted as authoritative by the entire world. Such deference is a sign of legitimacy and speaks to the need for having responses unified in relation to a shared assessment of the nature of the challenge. Similarly, taking advantage of the leadership vacuum mentioned above, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, filling the void, receiving attention and respect as the world’s leading moral authority figure when he spoke in favor of unity and a people-first perspective. More than any political voice, Guterres seized the historic moment to call in late March for a global ceasefire for the duration of the pandemic that gained at least rhetorical support from most of the world’s government and almost unanimous approval from world public opinion, although with somewhat mixed behavioral results.

At the same time, it is true that the most publicly visible elements of the UN, the Security Council and the General Assembly, have been up to this point largely missing in action during the pandemic. The silence of the Security Council during the health crisis has been deafening, confirming that if any action had been attempted it would have floundered due to U.S./China tensions. This silence is also a result of the stubborn refusal of the U.S. to allow a Security Council resolution to go forward because of an indirect positive reference to the WHO that would have been an important geopolitical endorsement of the Guterres call for a global ceasefire in a text that embodied six weeks of work to find political compromises that succeeded in satisfying all 15 members of the Security Council except for the U.S.. This unfortunate confirmation of the degree to which the U.S. is prepared to oppose even symbolic moves expressing global solidarity in responding to the pandemic curtails the relevance of the UN even as people are dying the world over from this lethal disease.

The less geopolitically accountable General Assembly did manage to pass two constructive resolutions calling for sharing of medical supplies and vaccines as well as emphasizing the globality of the crisis, accentuating the human solidarity rather than nationalist factionalism, but were largely ignored because without authoritative force and not embraced by major governments or the media. On reflection, it should be understandable that the political organs of the UN are by design of its founders, shaped mainly to be instruments of Member states and especially the uber-states that are given privileged P-5 status with an unrestricted option of obstructing UN responses by casting a veto whenever their leaders are better off with silence rather than action.

With respect to legitimacy considerations, any assessment must be alive to the contradictions present. Among the most salient of these are the tension between Trump’s hostile actions toward the WHO and the widespread public appreciation of its role and essential contributions for countries with less sophisticated health systems. So long as nationalist and geopolitical turns in world politics remains influential among leading states, the relevance of the UN and internationalism generally is likely to remain at the margins of world politics, not so much with regard to legitimacy, but more with regard to effectiveness as assessed by behavioral impacts. If as mentioned in my response to the first question, Trump is defeated in 2020, and a more internationalist leader takes over control of the U.S. Government, there will be a strong push toward the reaffirmation of globalism in many of its dimensions, including the institutional dimensions exemplified by the UN System. International institutionalism as part of global governance is far more extensive than the UN if regional, economic, civil society institutionalization is taken into account. As matters now seem, the short-term aftermath of COVID-19 is likely to disappoint globalists hoping for a major transformative impact that lessens the statist nature of world order, and legitimates the UN as confirming that ​the whole has at last become greater than its parts​. This cautious view would seem to hold even if more globalist leadership from the United States is forthcoming as of 2021. This is because the public sentiments, as present in legislative and executive organs, tend toward affirming sovereign rights and dismissing externally imposed duties or accountability procedures.

If the dialectical interpretation of historical process is correct, then we can expect before too long a reaction against ultra-nationalism and chauvinistic styles of leadership of sovereign states, which will translate concretely into a new dawn for globalism, and especially for the UN. The material explanation for this anticipated sea change in political atmosphere is the near certainty that global scale challenges will grow more menacing in the course of the coming decade, and could induce a post-catastrophe mood that has been the only historical circumstance in which global reforms of any magnitude have any hope of gaining sufficient support from heads of the more influential states. Given the disparity of wealth and capabilities among states, such pressures could work in the opposite direction, intensifying inward and selfishly oriented national political postures, although a problem-solving approach would produce a growing recognition of the need for globally structured solutions, but quite possibly along hierarchical or even hegemonic lines.

Question 3: I​​n case we are heading for more convergence, more right-wing and nationalism, are we going to have head towards more wars, more clashes, more proxy wars like in Syria or larger scale wars? What are we most likely heading to?

Response:​This is a fundamental question, yet formulating a coherent response is not a simple matter given the radical uncertainty arising from the complexities and contradictions of the historical circumstances. A haunting unknown is whether the turmoil of the Middle East is a special case or a foretaste of what will happen in other parts of the world, and has already been causing prolonged havoc in several sub-Saharan African countries despite arousing far less concern in the West for a variety of reasons. The Middle East has several defining features that are not reproduced elsewhere to nearly the same degree: artificial states created on the basis of European colonial ambitions after the Ottoman collapse at the end of World War I; the primacy of oil as a the indispensable source of energy in the modernizing process of the industrial age and still crucial in the digital age; the inflammatory support given to the Zionist Movement by Europe in the early 20th​ century leading to the success of its settler colonialist project at the time when European colonialism was collapsing in the rest of the world; the fact that the region was perceived as the epicenter of both political Islam (after the Iranian Revolution of 1979) and Western grand strategy after the Cold War (replacing Europe), and then became the main crucible of transnational terrorism after 2001. Given the frustrations of prolonged acute strife in Syria, Yemen, as well as discrediting regime-changing interventions in Iraq and Libya, one wonders whether the geopolitical appetite for engagement in the region will persist. A further regional concern is whether the United States and Israel will press Iran to the point that provokes a major war that neither side wishes.

The other dangerous global hotspots in East Asia and South Asia seem to involve unresolved inter-governmental conflicts of a more traditional type familiar throughout world history. The question posed as to whether the U.S. and China can escape ‘the Thucydides trap’ by which ascendant hegemons have historically tended to go to war rather than risk being displaced by rising rivals seems like a central concern over the course of the next decade, and tensions between these two dominant world powers rose to a fever pitch of mutual recrimination during the pandemic. Much may depend whether the rivalry remains centered on economic competition or takes the form of military encounters. A second concern, also in East Asia, is whether the denuclearizing pressure on North Korea exerted by the United States so as to maintain its global security framework anchored in a regime of ‘nuclear apartheid’ will cross the military threshold, and bring about a possibly devastating war on the Korean Peninsula that engages China and Japan, and possibly Russia. A third concern is whether India and Pakistan will turn their conflict over Kashmir in a direction that erupts in a war fought between two states possessing nuclear weapons.