Like the “Silk Road” , the network of trade routes until the 18th Century, globalisation has created –or re-created- cultural, religious, political and commercial connections and interactions among continents., as well as diseases. A “ dèjà vu “ that remains the most enthusiastic and passionate about integration -like me- that they are limits for everything including full integration across countries. A planet full connected also needs to establish different rules that move beyond goodwill but a strict framework able to address the crisis through effectiveness, prevention and guarantees for all including residents.
Free or freedom movement does not represent the same: I may feel free without freedom, although I may hold freedom of movement without being free to decide. The right and the exercise of rights.
Free movement of people is a framework that regulates it or not does supposes true freedom. Instead, freedom is about circumstances, e.g. COVID 19, however, people hold their freedom for their choices in terms of risk but they are not free to decide what to do. In times of crises, war, global migration, diseases the principle of free movement is deeply attacked paradoxically because of a search of guarantees. If the global migration crisis has arisen nationalist feelings of preserving national identities, if terrorist attacks in Europe awake fears of a “Muslim” threat, COVID19 has remained us that safety goes beyond politics. Any attempt of getting political credits should be submitted to citizenship scrutiny as there is no need for ideological measures but just logical ones. There is not a consistent response if political leaders focused on their actions as if they were just another political partisan issue to fight back. COVID19 as any other crisis is being managed by politicians but is not a political issue, just an emergency that must be tackled through specific measures out of political considerations. As a direct consequence there is any possibility of confrontation is it just “what it should be”. Short-terms results are the measurement for knowing if they are moving in the correct direction.
The world is claiming for changes and if there is not a new mentality they will not be successful outcomes. Is it simply ridiculous to ignore coronavirus as a “Media production monster”, ignorance and fear become the worst enemies for prevention measures. Besides, Media contribute badly to deliver safety and boost a sense of safety beyond the threat. Indeed delivering safety is also about leadership, from the Media and the political sector in the first place. The internal consensus among different political parties its paramount if not the citizenship goes through the painful show of politicized and useless debate, repeating the same patterns than from campaigns. There is no place for being “the opposition party” but an active participant towards solutions within a strong sense of State. COVID19 becomes an opportunity to exercise and innovate new shapes of relationships among parties within joint action and close supervision from the citizenship that must be alert to call their leaders for accountability and eventually remove them if they are not leading with determination and effective results.
On top of all, the own nature of crises: migration, diseases force to adopt a mix of different approaches including those that we personally fight against it, like nationalism. Therefore, isolationism, the authoritarian decision of restrict movement of people or discrimination according to their country of origin/resident may become vital to tackle and prevent a world pandemic. So, do we need to apply nationalist principles in crisis time? Well, they are specific circumstances in which the national and global interests depend on freedom restrictions precisely because of a global perspective. If people exchange products and services and move freely like the old Silk Road we must create mechanisms to make sure that the exchange is made under certain safety rules. For nationalists, it’s a matter of rejection of the system, for globalists its just the need to regulate, control and make a global system alive and healthy enough to be sustainable.
It is precisely for this paradox that in crisis time we cannot dismiss any approach based on a serious expertise analysis but without ideological perspectives, only a results-driven focus as it is not a political issue. Any kind of “merchandising” should be condemned and submitted into accountability.
No doubts an opportunity to move forward into new ways of relationships among political parties and current extremism and inappropriate mix of interests private-public.
A “silk road” of global relations demands a flexible but guaranteed framework through a coordinated action in and out crises which seems to be a perfect opportunity to conciliate positions. Even if they are totally opposite there is a chance to approach positions and exercise innovative ways that turn confrontation into respectful international relations. They are crises that do not allow to apply globalist principles and they are interconnected interests and a consolidated global system that does not allow a strict interpretation of nationalism.
Let us transform a silk road of crises into a road of silk relations by creative leaders and active citizenship.