By Ron Israel
We have worried that there would be a 3rd world war since the end of the 2nd World War in 1945. Pundits speculated that the 3rd world war would come from an escalation of an existing great power confrontation, like the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, or by the gradual global expansion of a regional conflict like the Korean or Vietnam wars; or through the unauthorized use of nuclear weapons by rogue states and non-state actors. But although none of these predictions has materialized we find ourselves today at the onset of World War III caused by a microbe—the corona virus.
From its origins in the Wuhan province of China in December 2019 the virus has spread with deadly effect to 150 countries around the world. It has no geographical preference for whom it affects, and all who are in its path become its victims. Sadly as of yet the global community has failed to come together and marshal the forces needed to defeat this enemy. Each country seems to be struggling on its own to do what it can to protect its own people.
The victors in World Wars I and II were the allied forces— countries who came together united by the presence of a common foe who challenged their mores and threatened their freedom. They shared armies and intelligence, coordinated battle plans, and helped out members of their communities who were hard hit by the conflict.
A winning response to World War III needs to have such an alliance on a global scale. Sure each country needs to adapt its own measures to help safeguard its citizens, including travel bans for people from other countries. But countries also need act on a global scale in order to win this war. The planet needs a World War III Global Pandemic Alliance to combat the spread of Covid-19. The alliance should be open to all countries provided they commit to the transparent sharing of all information about the status of the virus in their countries, and to joining in collaborative efforts to combat the virus.. The battle plan for the alliance would include:
-The exchange of data and information about the virus and its spread.
-Joint scientific research focused on critical tasks such as vaccine development
-The setting of operational standards for important operations such as testing and risk status.
-The establishment of a global fund for poor countries affected by the virus who may lack the funds to pay for its treatment.
-The exchange of information and technology related to approaches that work in combatting the virus.
-The monitoring of the incidents of the virus in each country, the morbidity and mortality rates, and a periodic assessment of the status of risk in all countries.
The Global Pandemic Alliance will need leadership. It can come from national leaders with global perspectives, leading scientists, business leaders and leaders from the philanthropic and NGO community. The World Health Organization is one possible convening organization for the Alliance but there may be others. We need the organizations and people with the ability to bring the world together to fight and win World War III to step forward.