One likely effect of the COVID-19 pandemic will be an increased focus on health diplomacy, a topic that has rarely been taken up by international relations scholars. After reviewing existing literature on health diplomacy, I argue for the utility of distinguishing states' aims from their practices of health diplomacy in advancing our understanding of when states engage in health diplomacy with a bilateral, regional, or global scope. The recent history of twenty-first century infectious disease outbreaks suggests a possible move away from health diplomacy with global participation. COVID-19 provides numerous examples, from widespread criticism of the World Health Organization to increased bilateral health aid and the creation of a regional vaccine initiative. As pandemics become more frequent, however, more localized health diplomacy is likely to be less effective, given the necessity of global mitigation and containment.
- foreign aid
- global health