A New Security for the Common Good: The Post-Pandemic World Order
This module has two overarching goals. The first is to examine how to equip countries to fight the actual battles of a non-military nature that lie ahead and investigate how to establish a non-violent future global order characterized by the common good of peace. The second goal is to appraise the global order’s shape after we emerge from the COVID-19 global crisis and answer: how can countries transition to a new security regime designed for the common good of humanity?
The current pandemic exposed inequalities and brought the ubiquitous feeling of insecurity and hopelessness along with the ominous warnings of even vaster future calamities. No country was prepared to withstand the shockwaves wreaked by the pandemic. Partly, this is because countries spend vital funds to stockpile expensive weapon systems, allocating a significant share of their GDP to the military, at the cost of making actual necessary investments to protect their populations. National security calculations presuppose that power and status equate with costly weapons accumulation. However, none of the challenges that pose existential dangers to nations in the 21st century can be tackled with weapons, or solved by one country acting alone, or even fought with military means.
This module has two overarching goals. The first is to examine how to equip countries to fight the actual battles of a non-military nature that lie ahead and investigate how to establish a non-violent future global order characterized by the common good of peace. The second goal is to appraise the global order’s shape after we emerge from the COVID-19 global crisis and answer: how can countries transition to a new security regime designed for the common good of humanity? The pandemic focuses minds on the trends that amplify and compound the problem: expanding populations, the effects of climate destruction, the fast pace of the development of new technologies. These all call for human security-centered approaches to national defense.
The global pandemic reveals that countries’ investment in national security is irrelevant in confronting actual threats: tackling inequalities that the epidemic exposed and protecting vulnerable populations that will bear the brunt of climate change. Time is ripe for a transformation now. If the current global order cannot be transformed in the wake of the worst crisis since World War II, then when? The question thus arises: after the pandemic, how can the transition to a novel approach to security meet the demands for more common good for all peoples in every single society? What are weapons and bombs worth in combating the virus? They rob citizens of the resources to combat actual perils.
- Lecture: Main Overview
The economic impact of violence in 2019, according to the latest data from the Global Peace Index, was $ 14.1 trillion, which is the equivalent of 11.2% of the global GDP. Minimizing opportunities to engage in violence (conflict, war, civil unrest) would assist the effort in redirecting the wasted 11.2% of the global GDP to worthy human saving causes. In that endeavor, limiting the demand for weapon systems would reduce violence. This is especially the case if we consider that the countries most affected by violence squander about 35% of their GDP.
The security of individuals is as important as the security of states. Gone is when the state was the sole relevant entity in international relations, and actions inside its borders did not affect others. Nations cannot attack the virus or protect their populations with the arms in their arsenals. Almost 2 trillion dollars were spent on the military in 2019 globally, mostly by the fifteen top spenders. The United States accounts for 38% of global spending. This measure clearly shows how significant the percentage assigned to military security and not to other investments in societal improvement. The SIPRI database reveals that the United States military expenditure rose by 5.3% in 2019, which is 3.4% of its GDP. It is not clear how the rise in the funds’ allocation is propitious to addressing the urgent demands imposed by the pandemic. The course will explore common good frameworks for humanity to benefit from proper investments.
- Reading: Denise Garcia, “Redirect Military Budgets to Tackle Climate Change and Pandemics,” Nature
- Graphics: Wrong Priorities
- Video: “Anti-nuclear Weapons Group ICAN wins Nobel Peace Prize”
- Reading: “Nuclear Spending vs Healthcare,” ICAN
- Reading: Global Peace Index 2020, Measuring Peace in a Complex World, Institute for Economics & Peace
- “Redirect military budgets to tackle climate change and pandemics”, Nature 584, 521-523 (2020).
- Justin Haner (Co- authored), “The AI Arms Race: Trends and World Leaders in Autonomous Weapons Development”
- “Disarmament in International Law.” In Oxford Bibliographies in International Law. Ed. Tony Carty. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
- Controlling Killer Robots Podcast
Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
Denise Garcia, a Ph.D. from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies of the University of Geneva, is a professor at Northeastern University in Boston and a founding faculty member of the Institute for Experiential Robotics. She…