Some observers argue the COVID-19 pandemic could be a world-changing event with potentially
profound and long-lasting implications for the international security environment and the U.S.
role in the world. Other observers are more skeptical that the COVID-19 pandemic will have
such effects.

Observers who argue the COVID-19 pandemic could be world-changing for the international
security environment and the U.S. role in the world have focused on several areas of potential
change, including the following, which are listed here separately but overlap in some cases and
can interact with one another:
 world order, international institutions, and global governance;
 U.S. global leadership and the U.S. role in the world;
 China’s potential role as a global leader;
 U.S. relations and great power competition with China and Russia, including the use of the COVID-19
pandemic as a theme or tool for conducting ideological competition;
 the relative prevalence of democratic and authoritarian or autocratic forms of government;
 societal tension, reform, transformation, and governmental stability in various countries;
 the world economy, globalization, and U.S. trade policy;
 the characteristics and conduct of conflict;
 allied defense budgets and U.S. alliances;
 the cohesion of the European Union;
 the definition of, and budgeting for, U.S. national security;
 U.S. defense strategy, defense budgets, and military operations;
 U.S. foreign assistance programs and international debt relief;
 activities of non-state actors;
 the amount of U.S. attention devoted to ongoing international issues other than the COVID-19 pandemic;
and
 the role of Congress in setting and overseeing the execution of U.S. foreign and defense policy.

Issues for Congress may include whether and how the COVID-19 pandemic could change the international security
environment, whether the Trump Administration’s actions for responding to such change are appropriate and sufficient, and
what implications such change could have for the role of Congress in setting and overseeing the execution of U.S. foreign
and defense policy.

Congress’s decisions regarding these issues could have significant and even profound implications for U.S. foreign and
defense policy, and for the status of Congress as a co-equal branch relative to the executive branch in setting and overseeing
the implementation of U.S. foreign and defense policy.

 

Full report: https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R46336