Author: Ishaan Tharoor | washingtonpost.com | 24 March 2020
For some commentators and politicians on the right, the coronavirus pandemic heralds the return of the nation-state. The gates have shut, much to the delight of right-wing populists. National borders are once again fortified barriers keeping foreign threats out and shielding the citizens within. National governments are taking the lead in fending for their own populations, while travel bans have grounded even the most jet-setting cosmopolitans and indefinitely stalled immigration flows.
“The need for borders is being vindicated by the pandemic,” Laura Huhtasaari, a far-right Finnish member of the European Parliament, told the Los Angeles Times. “Globalism is collapsing.”
With little evidence, ultranationalist Italian politician Matteo Salvini linked the arrival of the coronavirus to African migrants illegally crossing the Mediterranean and landing in Italy. And President Trump, buffeted by a tanking economy and mounting criticism over his handling of the crisis, renewed his anti-immigration rhetoric Monday, implying border controls were necessary to stave off the crisis.