Covid-Panic and Nuclear Prowess! 

Nuclear prowess and all the diplomatic command held by the super, major and most powers have failed against the vicious virus, named Covid-19. The phase isn’t over yet nor is the panic. But elementarily speaking the tiny virus has exposed far more and beyond probably envisaged by even leaders who once held themselves and their countries above all others. The “others” were viewed as dwarfs in comparison to their own selves. Coronavirus hasn’t spared their prowess. It has exposed the limited medical facilities which demands comparison to money spent on health system with that on weapons for defense and offense.

On one hand, it cannot be ignored, statistically, the negative impact of Covid-19 seems hardly a significant figure when thought of destruction, human lives lost and injured by use of bombs, missiles and other weapons. Covid has had nothing to do with the latter. But the coverage accorded with photographs to sufferings undergone by persons because of Covid, limited beds in hospitals, lack of medical attendance, graves and so forth particularly in the West conveys a totally different picture. Of course, each life is as important as any other. Yet, how many really care for this grim reality?

Covid-impact has brought power-holders face to face with what loss of health, lives, employment and other amenities can spell for their own people. Think of the sufferings which people in the Third World have undergone for no fault of theirs when outsiders have hit at them, dismantling even their basic infra-structural facilities, including hospitals, educational institutions, and political power-centers:—all for the sake of what some external power holders desired and/or viewed as important. How much importance and/or coverage has really been accorded to what these sufferers have faced and are still going through?

Silence is not always golden. And diplomatic silence actually amounts to turning eyes away from what often some powers don’t want to encounter, irrespective of whether the damage is caused by their own actions. A lot has been written on US decision to withdraw finally from Afghanistan. In all probability, even this criticism will soon end. When US and its allies chose to step in Afghanistan followed by their stay in the country, primarily a positive positive picture of their steps was painted. Quite a strong similarity to how praises were showered on these powers when the so-called Arab Spring began. Subsequently, the latter was quietly accepted as Arab Winter and following subdued criticism, majority chose to stop talking about the same.

Suddenly, Covid-panic has sent similar diplomatic shivers in practically most parts of the world.  Panic created by Covid-19 has displayed the dangerous impact that a small vicious virus can have on normal life of people hailing from all sections, classes and geographical terrains. In the process, Covid-impact has also unraveled quite a few complex diplomatic knots which till late appeared to have blindfolded majority of weaker parties towards their actual relevance.

Yes, most blindly accepted whatever version was painted about the need to step in Afghanistan, usher in the so-called democratic revolution in certain Arab nations and so forth. But how much significance has really been accorded to the negative impact still being felt by the affected people?

Paradoxically, the same may be same about economic sufferings faced by countries whose leaders have failed dismally to handle the Covid-crisis. Sadly, India also falls in this bracket. Loss of employment, income and similar economic woes have been felt here more severely than health problems caused by Covid-19. In fact, Indians are still suffering economically caused not by Covid-crisis but by the manner in which it has been handled.  And this aspect prompts one to deliberate on this issue from another angle. Yes, the sufferings faced by people in the West because of Covid-19. This also exposes probably the limited attention paid to handling their medical crises when and if affecting their own people.

Of late, a lot of importance is accorded to several brands of vaccine which can increase immunity against Covid-19 but cannot guarantee protection/cure from it. Covid is perhaps here to stay but life has to move on. Clearly, time has come when more attention needs to be paid to reduce economic sufferings and increase medical facilities.

The world is caught in a fix, facing a major economic dilemma. Everything that matters economically, including tourism, business, sports, etc cannot be put on hold and/or move at a snail’s pace because of Covid-panic. Money does talk and cannot be silenced for all, forever. Nuclear prowess and/or diplomacy matters little when money means business- a stark reality many have been forced to stare at because of Covid-panic. Against its impact, even nuclear diplomacy seems nothing but a fragile stick!


Nilofar Suhrawardy is a senior journalist and writer with specialization in communication studies and nuclear diplomacy. Her latest book is Modi’s Victory, A Lesson for the Congress…? (2019). Others include:– Arab Spring, Not Just a Mirage! (2019), Image and Substance, Modi’s First Year in Office (2015) and Ayodhya Without the Communal Stamp, In the Name of Indian Secularism (2006).