Aftershocks: Pandemic Politics and the End of the Old International Order (Hardcover)
Two of America's leading national security experts offer a definitive account of the global impact of COVID-19 and the political shock waves it will have on the United States and the world order in the 21st Century.
“Informed by history, reporting, and a truly global perspective, this is an indispensable first draft of history and blueprint for how we can move forward.”
The COVID-19 pandemic killed millions, infected hundreds of millions, and laid bare the deep vulnerabilities and inequalities of our interconnected world. The accompanying economic crash was the worst since the Great Depression, with the International Monetary Fund estimating that it will cost over $22 trillion in global wealth over the next few years. Over two decades of progress in reducing extreme poverty was erased, just in the space of a few months. Already fragile states in every corner of the globe were further hollowed out. The brewing clash between the United States and China boiled over and the worldwide contest between democracy and authoritarianism deepened. It was a truly global crisis necessitating a collective response—and yet international cooperation almost entirely broke down, with key world leaders hardly on speaking terms.
Colin Kahl and Thomas Wright's Aftershocks offers a riveting and comprehensive account of one of the strangest and most consequential years on record. Drawing on interviews with officials from around the world and extensive research, the authors tell the story of how nationalism and major power rivalries constrained the response to the worst pandemic in a century. They demonstrate the myriad ways in which the crisis exposed the limits of the old international order and how the reverberations from COVID-19 will be felt for years to come.
Thomas Wright is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. Tom has written several definitive pieces analyzing Donald Trump’s foreign policy, mixing research into the historical record of Trump’s remarks over three decades with reporting from contacts inside and near the administration. He is also author of the book All Measures Short of War: The Contest for the 21st Century and the Future of American Power (Yale University Press 2017).
"Colin Kahl and Thomas Wright offer insights and frameworks likely to be of enduring value … well-written and well-documented.” --Financial Times
“National security experts Colin Kahl and Thomas Wright provide a clear-eyed look at the devastating impact that COVID-19 had on the world’s political stage.” --Variety
"COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the international order, and Aftershocks is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what that means for the future. Written by two of America’s leading strategists, this ambitious and engaging book puts the pandemic in historical context and makes an important case for how, in the wake of this crisis, we can build a better international system." —Madeleine K. Albright
"Colin Kahl and Tom Wright are two of our nation's leading analysts of geopolitics and American foreign policy. Aftershocks will provide a vital first take on the global response to COVID-19, the worldwide consequences of the pandemic, and what it all means for the future of international order." —Susan Rice
“US Physician Larry Brilliant once said, ‘Outbreaks are inevitable. Epidemics are optional.’ Aftershocks is a timely, gripping, and necessary call to action, showing the steps governments, international organizations and citizens must take to provide a more reliable and sustainable security for us all." —Samantha Power
“If you want to understand how and why the pandemic is reshaping the international order and revealing the dangers of unchecked nationalism, Aftershocks is the place to start. Informed by history, reporting, and a truly global perspective, this is an indispensable first draft of history and blueprint for how we can move forward.“ —Ben Rhodes
"A timely, insightful and sobering book by two of the most astute current observers of the United States role in international affairs. The analysis should give everyone who cares about the conduct of American foreign policy pause for thought. Their recommendations offer a critical path forward for future U.S. Administrations." —Fiona Hill
“The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated and exposed the pre-existing conditions of an already-fading international order. I can’t think of two better observers to help us understand this profound moment of transition, or what it means for American strategy, than Colin Kahl and Tom Wright. Aftershocks promises to be an extraordinarily valuable book, as important as it will be timely.” —William J. Burns