As we rebuild, Canadians will rightly insist that a democratic and economic logic inform our interests in a world order where medicine is now weaponized, write Marcus Kolga, Kaveh Shahrooz, and Shuvaloy Majumdar. The following is an excerpt of a piece which originally appeared in Maclean’s. The full piece can be read here.
By Marcus Kolga, Kaveh Shahrooz, and Shuvaloy Majumdar, April 7, 2020
In homes and hospitals across the country, Canadians are now directly encountering the existential threat that authoritarian forces pose to their lives. As leaders navigate public health and economic crises caused by COVID-19, our foreign policy establishment has opportunity to dispense with ideological fantasies of post-nationalism, and embrace the reality that nations are comprised of citizens, borders and interests.
Instead of pursuing genuine cooperation when confronted by the virus, authoritarian regimes in Beijing, Tehran and Moscow facilitated its transmission by concealing their failures, proliferating disinformation about its source, and expending immense resources exploiting this crisis for their exclusive economic advantage. They are weaponizing medicine to advance their standing in the world order.
The implications of this subversion of Canadian interests are immense, and place two crucial objectives before our leaders. First, Canada must ensure that our vital supply chains are not at the mercy of non-democratic adversaries; and second, we must deepen resilience and cooperation among other democracies.
Marcus Kolga, Kaveh Shahrooz and Shuvaloy Majumdar are senior fellows at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s Centre for Advancing Canada’s Interests Abroad.