Feb. 2, 2022
Neither Triumph nor Disaster: United Kingdom Responses to COVID-19 and the Future of National Security
Nations are from time to time subjected to the audit of war: a searching examination that looks beneath the myths, shiny surfaces, and sticking plasters to reveal those areas of society and government that are truly strong, actually weak, or just plain mediocre. What did 1914–1917 or 1941–1945 expose about Russia’s real strengths and weaknesses? How would the United States really stand up to German Panzer forces and the Japanese Navy in 1942? Fortunately, no Western nation has been through such an examination since 1945, but the massive social, political, and economic shock of COVID-19 has provided a searching peacetime test. Twenty months since reports of the first deaths circulated in Wuhan, China, we still have not marked the end of COVID-19. But we have learned a lot. Here we ask: what did the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 experience reveal; how does that relate to UK national security; and what does this mean for the UK moving forward in a post-COVID global order?