In times of coronavirus and climate change, we must rethink national security

The wellbeing of both the citizen and the state is the goal of all sound public policy. Traditional security thinking fails to deal with the new security issues presented by global warming, and now, pandemics. These constitute existential threats to human security that are not amenable to solution by military forces. Yet they go to the heart of national security in current circumstances.

Writing in an article published in The Guardian on 20 April 2020, the head of the international and security affairs program at the Australia Institute, Allan Behm, argues that “Social inclusion, the protection of rights, the promotion of values and resilience – all of them supported by a strong economic base – are basic elements of security policy.”

“The scope of national security policy needs to transcend traditional defence and law enforcement models by comprehending climate change, human security against pandemics, environmental (and soil) degradation, food security, water shortages and refugee flows – to identify just a few issues.”

But how to build these changing concepts of security into Australia’s national governance when the traditional national security paradigm focuses on war between states, or in the case of terrorism, attacks on the state?

Read the full article (external link to The Guardian)

Image: Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good and Bad Government 1338 (part)