Photo: Illustration of Chinese and Russian vaccine diplomacy. (Photo courtesy of SkyNews)
Stories to follow:
Vaccine diplomacy is here. As more and more Covid-19 vaccinations become available, several states are well-positioned to utilize vaccine deployment as a component of their national security strategy. Some analysts see the vaccine as an opportunity for the United States to demonstrate a willingness to remain involved in global affairs. However, the U.S. is joined by other powerful states with similar objectives. China, India and Russia are all major players in the game of vaccine diplomacy and all are currently under the leadership of nationalist premiers. It remains to be seen who can leverage the vaccine for maximum geopolitical benefit as rival states attempt similar programs. In Israel, the prime minister arranged for a surplus of vaccinations that could be used to influence potential concessions from neighbors during normalization negotiations. Ethicists are raising questions, and some are criticizing national governments for playing politics with global health.
In a significant departure from his predecessor, President Biden is highlighting climate change as a featured component of his domestic and foreign policy. Climate change mitigation requires robust international cooperation; the problem is simply too large for one state to confront alone. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called 2021 a “crucial year” for climate change. Following numerous rounds of negotiations, some progress has been made toward emissions reduction but not a level sufficient to prevent long-term climate disaster. The next UN Climate Change Conference is set for November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Civilian activists are bringing attention to climate change by protesting major capital investments in energy companies specializing in fossil fuel extraction.
A high-level diplomatic photo op quickly soured late last week. In their first face-to-face meetings since President Biden took office, American and Chinese diplomats broke with mutually agreed protocol. American diplomats challenged the Chinese to return to a rules-based international system and warned that the U.S. will not shy away from competition with China. Chinese diplomats accused the U.S. of meddling in internal Chinese affairs and criticized the American approach to democracy. News cameras were instructed to continue covering the event as official representatives repeatedly rebutted each other’s statements. Some tension was to be expected during the Alaska Summit. President Biden is still considering the details of his China policy while President Xi evaluates his strategic options vis a vis the new American administration. Other interested parties include North Korea, and Sino-Chinese tensions could be an opportunity to improve their position in future nuclear negotiations.
Happening this week:
Strengthening Indigenous Voices: Legal Empowerment and Community-Based Methods for Advancing Access to Justice. Despite advances in the past 20 years, indigenous communities continue to highlight serious human rights violations with consequent grave threats to their forests, way of life, and identities as indigenous peoples. Drawing upon the expertise of indigenous leaders around the world, this webinar will explore the ways in which legal empowerment and community-based methods are advancing access to justice for indigenous and forest communities. Attend the webinar on Tuesday, March 23, at 9 a.m. to learn more. You can register for the event here.
This week in JPI:
A Call for Papers. Got something to say? JPI wants to hear from you. Send us your op-eds, political analyses, and deep insights.
In your free time:
Fully vaccinated? Take a look at the CDC guidelines for appropriate gatherings and continued precautions.
Try these home work-outs to feel good and reduce some stress.
Start an indoor garden. Why buy herbs when you can grow them in your living room?
Even though we have been at it for over a year, a good Zoom meeting laugh might get you in the right mood.
This week’s Monday Briefing was brought to you by Daniel Shibley.