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Thus, security cannot be achieved in this new century by using the same pieces and playing by the old rules. Security can be won only by creating imaginative new pieces, deploying and maneuvering them much more creatively and swiftly, and consolidating the forces of the traditional two dimensions into a global commons: The United States must also be willing to welcome new players for example, by engaging China as it did in containing the North Korean nuclear threat and to use its collective genius and wisdom to create new security rules for this new multilayered global chess game.

The knights, or military forces, must look different, like the Delta Forces in Afghanistan, and be trained and equipped differently. Wealth must be brought out of its protective national castles and invested more wisely in mastering new sciences and technologies to reduce threats of climate change and pandemics. The kings and queens, political figures out of touch with 21st-century realities, must be replaced by leaders smart enough to fully understand the new dimension and bold enough to define new rules for the new game.

It also would not hurt if the bishops, the religious leaders, played a more enlightened and constructive role. The new security will be national and international, defensive and offensive. It will require a shield and spear, representing new kinds of military forces, as well as a cloak that protects the global commons from nonmilitary threats.

The old security required containing the Soviet Union within its borders. The old security required cooperation among Western armies. The new security requires cooperation among intelligence services. The old security required massive weapons in massive numbers. The new security requires special forces of individual warrior teams searching for terrorists in tunnels and caves. The old security required economic dominance.

The new security requires economic integration in a world of international markets, trade, and finance. The old security meant prevention of nuclear war. In addition to that goal, the new security is a cloak composed of security of livelihood, security of energy, and security of the environment. Consider the collection of new developments, almost all of them neutral on any security scale, that together create huge insecurities.

Technology itself is at the top of the list. Technology as applied to destruction is producing increasing numbers of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons capable of mass casualties and mass destruction of property.

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Nations have yet to use biology in the form of viral plagues or other maladies against each other, although testing and experimentation with such agents have been known to take place. In an age of suicidal terrorism, it is certainly quite easy to conceive of any number of attackers willingly infecting themselves with a highly toxic, highly contagious virus and fanning out through subway systems, sports events, and shopping malls in the United States to create epidemics.

And Hiroshima and Nagasaki tell us all we need to know about nuclear destruction in cities. Technology is also miniaturizing and privatizing the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction. Until recently the province of nation-states, the production of such weapons by nonstate actors in small laboratories, particularly in the case of biological weapons, is rapidly becoming more feasible.

In some ways, weapons of mass destruction represent dual threats: This simply means that when the genie of mass destruction escapes the lamp, it cannot be put back in by nation-states negotiating treaties to do so. The political equation based on the state monopoly on violence is being fundamentally and perhaps permanently altered by technology. Other new realities are, or soon will be, threats to security. Mass migrations from Africa to Europe and from Latin America to the United States are fundamentally changing cultures and societies.

By , one-quarter of all U. Neither is, by itself, a bad development, but each will have consequences that must be understood.


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A society that receives a large and rapid inflow of people may or may not retain its historic values, beliefs, customs, and cultures. And as this trend accelerates, the demographic, social, and political changes will create a sense of insecurity among those who find comfort in their traditional cultures. Even though the threat of AIDS seemed to have been contained for the moment, albeit at a very high level, in the United States and most of Europe, it continues to decimate the populations of many Asian, African, and Latin countries. In addition, almost as many people, particularly children, are dying of malaria in these same countries.

Though these may seem distant threats to an uncontaminated American, they destabilize nations and whole economies, and create almost unbearable mountains of human misery.

The Shield and the Cloak

And they contribute to state failure. Into such voids flow religious fundamentalism, clans led by warlords, mafias seeking control of vital resources, and terrorist organizations offering identity and at least limited security to stateless, rootless, hopeless people. Not all biological danger is created or spread by humans. Virologists are concerned that highly contagious pathogens are capable of outrunning our efforts to contain them.

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Almost a century ago, an influenza epidemic killed roughly 50 million people worldwide before burning itself out. In the minds of some, the Asian bird flu represents at least the same potential. Needless to say, modern transportation will hasten the spread of any disease. After the end of the Cold War in , and particularly since September 11, , the United States has more often than not taken its sole-superpower status to mean that the world has no choice but to follow it; that it is the U. The facts suggest that this attitude is swiftly becoming illusory.

The European Union is consolidating its political and economic power and is beginning to discuss a collective defense strategy, with its own rapid deployment capability, separate from that of U.

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The more the United States goes it alone, with the expectation that the rest of the world has no choice but to follow, the more the rest of the world is beginning to prove otherwise. Instead of ignoring the aspirations of other nations and collections of nations, the United States should encourage them. The first has a better chance of achievement if accompanied by the second.


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If globalization is made inclusive and expanded to developing and undeveloped nations, it can be a great opportunity to replace hopelessness with hope. Likewise, if access to information technologies held by advanced societies is shared, it will narrow the gap between advancing nations and the rest of the world and can revolutionize lagging national economies. In many ways, success in achieving security in the early 21st century will be measured by the imagination shown by the United States and nations of good will in inventing opportunities to convert global revolutions into threat-reduction policies for the commons.

The Shield and the Cloak: The Security of the Commons

Information technologies, such as low-cost wireless communications, can transform even the most rural economies and help markets to develop. In the s, I helped a major U. The transformative impact of modern communications was demonstrated in Hungry, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and other Eastern European Soviet satellites in the late s and early s, when advanced Western communications systems, quickly installed, revolutionized stagnant economies and created vital urban and rural markets. Every nation has secrets even from its closest allies and friends.

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Print Save Cite Email Share. Subscriber Login Email Address. I A Student of Security. II The Transformation of Security. V The Security of the Commons.