The unspoken link between a global pandemic and nationalism seemed to get cornered in tough times but it is experienced by the majority of the people. On one hand, if a health pandemic takes people into isolation it also brings them closer by triggering the feeling of “we are all together in this”. Where a fatal disease physically separates you from the people, it mentally and emotionally brings you closer to people and your nation.

However, things in the international arena took a U-turn. Instead of adopting “internationalism”, states have started polishing their nationalism. Globalization and nationalism have combined to create a violent jingoism that breeds distrust of everything foreign. Its effects can be seen in border controls, supply chain disruptions, protectionist policies, and other actions that make it clear that domestic goods are preferred over imports. With the election of President Donald Trump in the United States and the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom in 2016, it has been observed that these measures were somewhat gaining renewed vigor.

The next step would be to examine nationalism as a narrative and a means of understanding the pandemic, the origin of a shared imagination that directs all subsequent mobilizations. Then comes a more complicated escalation, where the US stood out since its president was eager to assign a nationality to the virus at the time, calling it the “Chinese virus.” In addition, he didn’t hesitate to use the word “enemy” with it, as if to emphasize the continuity with the previous notion of security, which is limited to a national level. The US thus rejected the new realities of international security and associated cooperative methods.

European Context
The pandemic has exposed the government’s propensity to close its borders and centralize decision-making instead of taking into account cooperation efforts with other nations. Even in the European setting, where the European Union (EU) was viewed as a shining example of multilateralism.

The anxiety brought on by the pandemic and the biases connected to COVID-19 are likely to persist and will influence the post-pandemic environment. Minorities and other vulnerable groups are likely to suffer and become the objects of exclusion in the hunt for scapegoats. The last decade can be called the era of anxiety, particularly in Europe. The crises there have grown increasingly frequent and acceptable. A societal climate of uncertainty and anxiety has been influenced by the economic unpredictability following 2008, the narrative that migration is a threat, and currently the pandemic. Collective fear has psychological effects, but it also has political and societal repercussions that are more likely to foster exclusionary nationalism.

It won’t be wrong to say that Covid’19 has opened doors for realism to enter once again. Realists would anticipate that when a crisis hits, citizens do not immediately turn to international organizations, not even the WHO or NGOs. People turn to their governments to take the necessary steps to safeguard them from the threat and to fund relief efforts. In the absence of a single global authority governing the international community, the nation-state is proving that it is the main actor in global politics. This will pave way for realism and nationalism. It shows leaders to rely upon their own state, especially in times of crisis.