On the Horizon

The immediate reaction by governments everywhere is to strengthen barriers at the border. This has not stopped the pandemic. At the same time, the pandemic highlights the relative weakness of global institutions of governance coordination. The major international institutions—the United Nations, World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund, International Civil Aviation Organization, and so on—have little to offer to mitigate the scourge.

Within the United States, we are seeing both the strains and the benefits of the federalist architecture of our government. Health care is a local responsibility but requires a competent and responsive national support structure. Like every natural emergency, we stumble at first, sometimes badly. But we learn. Fortunately, we have an exceptionally robust private sector—both profit-seeking and nonprofit—that has stepped into the void of weak government response.

This pandemic potentially changes everything. But where will it take us? How will the landscape of economic and social life change in months and years ahead?

To address these questions, CSIS has launched a new commentary series called “On the Horizon.” Our scholars offer their insights into the more fundamental changes we might anticipate for our future social and economic world.

We welcome your feedback and your ideas. None of us has perfect vision for the future. But it is far better to anticipate significant change so that we can position our policy framework to manage it.

On the Horizon.

— John J. Hamre President and CEO, Langone Chair in American Leadership Center for Strategic and International Studies