Reflections on the Pandemic in the Future of the World

International Relations Theory and World Order After COVID-19

International relations theory has always tried to either preserve the world as it is or prescribe the world as it should be. The first great debate between realists and idealists embodied these two premises and subsequent development of theory also evolved within the same parameters. Whether critical or problemsolving theory, each in its turn either attempted to preserve and legitimise the status quo or sought alternatives to challenge it. Before COVID-19 the current international system was already going through a transition, with the tension between those who would like to preserve a globalist liberal order and those mercantilists reacting to it. COVID-19 will force new modes of cooperation to emerge and states will be neither totally mercantilist or protective of a global liberal order. States are likely to be more self sufficient and less reliant on international supply chains but more engaged in international trade. International cooperation will be needs based on a functionalist model and ideologies will not be in the forefront of policy making and theoretical development. International relations theory will no longer be preoccupied in preserving or legitimising a status quo or challenging it with alternatives. It will most probably try and explain the various non political, non ideological strands of international cooperation emerging out of needs not prescribed grand designs.

Prof. Gülnur Aybet
DOI: 10.53478/TUBA.2020.085