The Atlantic

The Death of Cosmopolitanism

The coronavirus outbreak has emboldened defenders of the nation-state, in Europe and beyond.
Source: Adam Maida

Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET on June 25, 2020.

A couple I know who’d been living in Beijing—she’s American and he’s Australian—are marooned in Budapest, waiting for China to reopen its borders. A friend wrote me from Boston. She has both an American and an Irish passport, and is unsure whether she can enter France to see her partner, to whom she’s not married. Another friend, who is American, married her French partner this month before he returned to France because they didn’t know when he would be allowed back into America, or she into France.

Cosmopolitanism—or travel, period—has become deeply confusing in the COVID-19 era. When the pandemic hit, borders began closing around the world. Now they are reopening gradually, but also arbitrarily, in ways that seem determined less by infection rates and more by politics, economics, and, for some countries, a need for tourists. To those of us who came of age after the end of the Cold War, these

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