The successes were astounding; the world sometimes looked enviously and sometimes ignorantly at the nations of Asia, especially those of the East and the Southeast. After the experience of various pandemics, swine flu, Sars and Mers, these countries were able to achieve considerable successes and show the West in particular its shortcomings. Now, however, they too seem to be increasingly in trouble.
The model pupils
First and foremost, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan were able to control the corona pandemic in its first phase in the spring of 2020, largely dispensing with the exhaustive lockdown measures used first in the People’s Republic of China and eventually in much of the world. But, somewhat less noted, countries in Southeast Asia such as Vietnam, Cambodia or Singapore were also able to learn from past experiences and successfully manoeuvre their peoples through the pandemic. Taiwan, for example, was even able to experiment with new forms of digital and very direct democracy in the process.
The strength of the West
After the Western countries did not make a good impression, especially in the spring and again from autumn 2020 onwards, they at least managed to quickly develop various vaccines thanks to their extensive pharmaceutical industry and to bring them to the population. As a result, the measures that were implemented to contain the pandemic could at least be scaled back to some extent. So while many Asian countries have been able to continue with their tried and tested methods, the West is preparing to soon have a largely vaccinated population.
Now, however, infection rates are rising in many of these Asian countries, while they are getting lower and lower in the West. The coming weeks and months will show whether and which states are capable of challenging the West’s social dominance and possibly even becoming new role models for the governance of tomorrow.