|Foreign & security policy
Security for a New World
|In opening remarks to the Global Forum on Law Enforcement and Security in London June 11, I tried to stress the new challenges we are facing after September 11.
Mr Carl Bildt KCMG
The Global Forum for Law Enforcement & National Security
London, June 11, 2002
We are meeting here in London in a situation very much different from the one at the
LE&NS Forum in Edinburgh last year.
Indeed, it is often said that we entered into a new phase in the development not the least of international relations on September 11. And it is obvious, that we will be living with the consequences of September 11 for a long time to come.
But gradually we will see that September 11 was only the horrible manifestation of trends that had been there for some time.
Iím not talking about the possible failures to put the different pieces of information together so as to be able to precisely predict, and accordingly prevent, the horrible attacks. Iím talking about our reluctance to see the world as it actually is developing.
We are living in the midst of a third great phase of globalisation of our economies and societies. The first was the one during the later part of the 19th century that came to such an abrupt end in 1914. The second was the limited, but still significant phase, that integrated the economies and societies of what we normally refer to as the West during the immediate decades after the Second World War. And the third phase is the phase that took its beginning around 1980, and that has come to encompass more or less the entire globe in a way we have to go back to the first phase to see an parallel to.
There is no doubt that this third phase of globalisation has brought immense benefits to the world.
Since the mid-60ís, the GDP per capita in the developing countries has doubled. Over the past four decades, life expectance in these countries have increased be more than 20 years. And during the past three decades, illiteracy in that part of the world has been cut from app half of the adult population to app a quarter.
Contrary to popular belief, we have seen the gap between rich and poor, which had widened for centuries, starting to close.
And political progress has been remarkable as well. If only two decades ago, two thirds of the member countries of the United Nations were governed by more or less authoritarian systems, we now have a situation in which two thirds are governed by more or less open and democratic regimes.
Many of us have been working for a world without walls, in which peoples and ideas, goods and services, can move freely without barriers or borders, thus creating a more interdependent and over time more prosperous and stable world. And we can only be satisfied with what has been achieved.
But in the world without walls that we have been seeking, we must increasingly recognize that we are living as neighbours of chaos and uncertainty, wherever in the world this occurs. And we should earlier have recognized the full consequences of that marriage of ancient hatreds and modern technology that September 11 could be seen as one of many manifestations of.
Our economies have taken great strides towards integration. Our financial markets react within seconds to the same tremors of information. The revolution brought by the information and communications technologies, and the phenomenal growth of the Internet, is only in its infancy. And we should note, that levels of migration in this early stage of the third phase of globalisation has only reached a fifth of the relative levels that were achieved in the much longer first phase of globalisation.
Increasingly, our economies and societies are dependent on seamless and borderless connectivity through networks spanning more or less the entire globe. But the benefits of integration go hand in hand with the vulnerabilities that are always there.
And it will be how we handle these, as well as the other challenges brought by globalisation throughout the world, which at the end of the day will decide the fate of this great phase of global development.
Once upon a time, it was seen as the number one task of governments to give security to its citizens. A system of external defence, in combination with an internal system of law and order, were the instruments. Success was not always guaranteed, as was demonstrated by events from major wars to shoplifting, but the principles were never in doubt, and the objectives hardly in question.
Particularly since September 11, things are far more complex. Itís not enough to have systems to deter other states from attacking your own if attacks originate from non-state actors, or if areas outside the effective control of anyone are used as the bases for these attacks. And itís not enough to look at only police forces and the judiciary when we have to tackle vulnerabilities as diverse as the ones we have in our food distribution systems, our mail systems, our transportation systems or our critical digital infrastructure system.
Across the Atlantic, the United States has now embarked on what might well be the largest reform of the work of its government since the end of the Second World War in order to make it more able to meet new threats to security and address new vulnerabilities.
A new Transportation Security Administration has been set up, with massive new tasks and very tight timelines. And the President has now announced the setting up of a Department for Homeland Security, bringing together app 170 000 employees from no less than 22 different agencies and combining budgets today approaching USD 40 billion.
Across the board, and in country after country, new initiatives are taken to address real or perceived security problems and vulnerabilities.
There is no doubt that measures along these lines are needed in all of our societies. We should not have needed September 11 to wake up to the other side of globalisation.
But at the same time as we must welcome this new awareness, we should be fully aware of the challenges we are facing, and the difficulties and risks that are there.
In meeting the short-term terrorist threat of which al-Qaeda is the so far most obvious manifestation, it is obvious that robust military actions is sometimes called for, although the key immediate frontline runs through that unseen web of cooperation between intelligence and security officials that alone can prevent the worst from happening.
But in meeting the more long-term threat of a new form of global terrorism, we also need a forward defence in the form of forward-looking global policies.
Itís a myth that it is poverty that takes people to terrorism. But it is equally clear, that a world in which hundreds of millions of people face only desperation and depravation will be a world in which there will be fertile grounds for those seeking destruction, and that a real or perceived failure on our part to address theirs needs and their future would play into the hands of those seeking to destroy our more open and integrated world.
We have every reason to take the all the questions of the Greater Middle East - that stretches along the southern shores of the Mediterranean, has its core between the Nile and the ancient land of the two rivers, then goes on to the Indus, reaches up to touch the plains of Russia at the Caucasus and down towards the interior of Africa through the great Sudd of Sudan Ė with the seriousness that they deserve.
Here, the app 300 million people of today will be app 400 million people within less than two decades. And on present trends itís a safe prediction that many of parts of this area will be significantly more populous, significantly poorer and significantly more desperate than they are today. And in our world without walls, they are our neighbours.
Thus, we have every reason to demand of our political leaders that they see the need for a forward defence in the form of forward looking global policies. To react is not enough Ė to prevent is the true road to stability.
But we cannot wait for these policies or measures to bear fruit. We must count on the marriage between ancient hatreds and modern technology trying new ways at attacking our societies and us. Since September 11, significant attempts at terrorist attacks have been stopped. The new arrests in Morocco and the United States reported in the media this morning adds to the picture.
The ability of the al-Qaeda network to operate is likely to have been seriously degraded. But they have not retreated, they have not been defeated, thre overwhelming part of their key leadership is still at large, and they operate with a patience and a determination that we might well we wise in learning from.
The challenge that we face is larger than the one that was so vividly demonstrated when civilian airliners were turned into deadly missiles on September 11.
In many ways, the anthrax attacks immediately thereafter demonstrated our vulnerabilities even more vividly. The mail system was made into the delivery vehicle for the hidden doses that spread fear far faster than they spread death. And the perpetrator is not only still free, but also still unknown.
Thus, we must look at security issues across a very broad spectrum.
The threat of different forms of bioterrorism is a very real one, and it might well have its origin in the midst of our own societies. Issues of food safety are acquiring increased importance. Everyone must be aware of the new instruments gradually put in place to counter money laundering and their consequences. Disaster recovery and mitigation is discussed with a new urgency. Insurance and corporate risks are viewed in a new light. Transportation safety Ė far more than just the air transportation system Ė is a vital concern. In this age of information technologies and networks, cybersecurity is an imperative.
And security issues as broad as these can no longer be left just to the governments to handle. Although the ultimate responsibility is theirs, it is now true public-private partnership that is required, and in which not the least business has a big and important role to play.
Today more than ever, security must be an integral part of everything we do, be that in business and elsewhere. For any modern business, security should be seen as an essential service to customer and an obvious duty to employees. It might require its own department here and there, but it primarily needs to be integrated elsewhere.
Important is, however, that we must understand than in this world of ours, there is no such thing as absolute security.
There is no amount of money in the universe to protect everyone everywhere against those determined to do evil and left free to choose the timing and the place of their attempts. We need to balance cost, risks and effectiveness in an endeavour that will be as difficult as it will be open to constant debate.
As we have all experienced in different ways since September 11, security can be sporadic and it can be suffocating. That is not what we need. What we truly need, what will take some time to develop, and what we will be discussing these days here in London is how we can have smart and seamless security throughout what we are doing.
We are still in the phase of immediate reaction after September 11 and immediate measures. But slowly we are entering the phase were we are starting to consider the long-term consequences and the long-term options.
Thus, we need both to develop a forward defence in the form of forward-looking global policies, and to ensure that security is smart and seamless, not suffocating and senseless, throughout our society.
We are fortunate to live in this great third wave of globalisation. It does represent a huge possibility to alleviate poverty, overcome divisions, increase prosperity, improve peace and widen the scope for freedom throughout the world.
But in this world without walls, we are all neighbours of chaos, and we increasingly are affected by the marriage between ancient hatreds and modern technologies.
The challenge is obvious. So is the fact that it will be overcome. The ways to do this will be our common focus during this important conference.
|Bildt Blog Comments
In addition to this webpage, and the email letters ongoing since 1994, I have now started a blog as well.
You find it at http://bildt.blogspot.com.
At www.bildt.net you will continue to find articles, speeches and different documents.
At the blog there will be the shorter and perhaps somewhat faster comments.
And the e-letter continues to give at the least an attempt at analys.