The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

The Dark Side of Interdependence

June 20, 2005

Daniel Starr explains:

I’m not happy with the CCP today: it turns out that they’ve made the Asian bird flu virus resistant to the best antiviral drug we would have relied on to tame the next outbreak of avian-based flu in humans. They ignored the advice of the World Health Organization and had farmers drug their chickens with antivirals instead of vaccinating them. In effect, they evolved the virus strains for drug resistance. Now the antiviral is useless against the bird flu — useless not just to poultry, but to humans.

From the Washington Post article Dan’s reacting to:

Although China did not report an avian influenza outbreak until February 2004, executives at Chinese pharmaceutical companies and veterinarians said farmers were widely using the drug to control the virus in the late 1990s.

As Rodger noted in February, the risk of global epidemics – particularly influenza – rather than terrorism, is really what should be keeping us up at night.

The rise of international terrorism, global epidemics whether AIDS or Avian flu, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and a variety of other developments might all be considered the “dark side” of interdependence. Yet, as the McNeils remind us, there’s little novel about some of these trends. If we had more readership, I’d throw two issues out for discussion:

1. How has contemporary globalization altered the dynamics of interdependence from that of past eras?

2. Interdependence is supposed to increase the demand for regimes, yet a variety of self-interested behaviors continue to work to undermine the efficacy of such regimes. Is there a point at which the functional logic contained in the former overcomes the incentives that prompt the latter?

Filed as:, and

website | + posts

Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.