Israeli historian and bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari writes in Financial Times of startling technological and scientific progress (such as the COVID-19 vaccine) during the pandemic. But he contends that “science cannot replace politics,” citing examples of bad political decisions and mismanagement and three lessons for the future. Similarly, Yascha Mounk of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change argues that “populism has proven lethal” and “the longer the pandemic has dragged on, the more the quality of governance has turned out to matter.” One proposal for a better kind of politics comes from two authors at Foreign Affairs magazine. While rivalry today between powerful nations often results in multi-lateral paralysis, they argue for “microlaterialism.” Why not let small countries take the lead in international relations? “Drawing on smaller nations’ particular strengths – Scandinavian countries’ long history of conflict mediation, for instance, or Jordan’s experience dealing with extremist groups – allows for a productive division of labor that combines deep expertise with the kinds of resources that larger, more influential countries bring to the table.” They cite Estonia on digital governance and Costa Rica on conservation. 

(Recommended reading from our May 2021 Global Briefing)