Yearbook of Slovakia’s Foreign Policy 2020
At the beginning of 2020, no one could have predicted that this year would most probably define the coming decades. The spread of the coronavirus redefined the global setup and brought countless challenges for societies and policymakers. The coronavirus pandemic brought about a sudden and deep systemic shock that hit not only healthcare, but the whole global environment, including economies, social systems, education, culture, sport and many more. Foreign policy was not left untouched either. Policymakers on all continents were faced with complex dilemmas as the world was confronted with the most profound crisis since the end of World War II.
The pandemic has changed the way we do our job. Diplomacy has moved online. Instead of introductory courtesy visits, I had to make courtesy phone calls. Computer screens replaced congress halls. It is difficult to imagine how diplomacy would have coped with such a situation in the pre-internet era. Online meetings were at least a partial substitution, but we realized more than ever that the true essence of diplomacy is discrete communication and the direct personal exchange of ideas. However, the most significant changes were taking place beyond the computer screens. The initial increase in individual approaches and protectionism was gradually replaced by more solidarity and cooperation, but multilateralism remained weakened. The great global power contest had returned in full swing… (I. Korčok)