March 5, 2021

A world in crisis even without the pandemic: Five looming problems

Perhaps understandably, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many other international stories off the news agenda.

It is global, it is deadly and it is multi-faceted, raising all sorts of questions, not just about how we respond to the initial crisis, but about the way we organise our societies and the way we run our affairs.

Some major international problems have been pushed to the sidelines since the outbreak of the crisis and it may now be too late to deal with them. Others have been made much more intractable. And some governments are seeking to use the distraction of the Covid-19 pandemic to pursue long-held ambitions.

Here are five issues that we should be keeping an eye on in the weeks and months ahead.

A renewed nuclear arms race?
The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New Start, that limits the long-range nuclear arsenals with which the US and Russia threaten each other, expires in early February next year. Time is getting short if it is to be renewed. This is the last of the great arms control agreements inherited from the Cold War which still survives.

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