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  • Author: Filippa Lentzos
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: International treaties prohibit the development and use of biological weapons. Yet concerns about these weapons have endured and are now escalating. It is high time to take a hard look at technical and political developments and consider how the international security policy community should respond. ​ A major source of the growing concern about future bioweapons threats stem from scientific and technical advances. Innovations in biotechnology are expanding the toolbox to modify genes and organisms at a staggering pace, making it easier to produce increasingly dangerous pathogens. Disease-causing organisms can now be modified to increase their virulence, expand their host range, increase their transmissibility, or enhance their resistance to therapeutic interventions.[1] Scientific advances are also making it theoretically possible to create entirely novel biological weapons,[2] by synthetically creating known or extinct pathogens or entirely new pathogens.[3] Scientists could potentially enlarge the target of bioweapons from the immune system to the nervous system,[4] genome, or microbiome,[5] or they could weaponize ‘gene drives’ that would rapidly and cheaply spread harmful genes through animal and plant populations.[6] ​ Concurrent developments in other emerging technologies are also impacting potential future biological weapons threats. Developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning could speed up identification of harmful genes or DNA sequences. Artificial intelligence and machine learning could also potentially enable much more targeted biological weapons that would harm specific individuals or groups of individuals based on their genes, prior exposure to vaccines, or known vulnerabilities in their immune system.[7] Big Data and ‘cloud labs’ (completely robotized laboratories for hire) facilitate this process by enabling massively scaled-up experimentation and testing, significantly shortening ‘design-test-build’ timeframes and improving the likelihood of obtaining specificity or producing desired biological functionality.[8] Other developments provide new or easier ways to deliver pathogens or biological systems. Nanotechnology could potentially create aerosolized nanobots dispersing lethal synthetic microbes or chem-bio hybrids through the air,[9] or in vivo nanobots releasing damaging payloads inside human bodies.[10] Aerosol or spraying devices attached to swarms of small unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, could be another potential means to disperse biological agents. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, could circumvent barriers imposed by national export control systems on controlled laboratory equipment or dispersal devices. ​
  • Topic: Security, Health, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements, Biosecurity, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kristi Govella
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: For most of history, the domains of the global commons were unclaimed, largely because the technology to access and utilize them did not exist.[1] In areas such as the high seas and outer space, it was impossible for states to establish and maintain sovereign control. Even as the relevant technologies developed, costliness and controls kept them initially concentrated largely in the hands of just a few major powers such as the Unit- ed States and the Soviet Union. For the United States, “command of the commons” became the military foundation of its hegemony, granting it the ability to access much of the planet and to credibly threaten to deny the use of such spaces to others.[2] Bipolar competition between the United States and the Soviet Union strongly influenced developments in the maritime and outer space domains. In the case of cyberspace, a more recent addition to the traditional global commons, the United States was also initially dominant due to its role in pioneering associated technologies. However, over time and particularly since the end of the Cold War, continuing technological innovation and diffusion have made these domains accessible to a growing number of countries. ​ This technological progress was born of both cooperation and competition between states. While some states chose to develop certain technologies indigenously, many acquired knowledge and equipment from abroad. Globalization of industry has made it easier for states to obtain a variety of foreign technologies, even lowering the threshold for them to procure disruptive military capabilities. In addition, over the last two decades, American primacy has been increasingly challenged by the rise of China, which has impacted the dynamics of technological development and diffusion across multiple domains. As China has acquired the technology to become more active in the commons, it has prompted major regional powers, such as Japan and India, to accelerate their own technological advancement, and other mid-sized and smaller countries have also become increasingly engaged.[3] ​ The consequence of this multiplication of technologically sophisticated actors has been the erosion of American primacy in the global commons. Although the United States still remains the most dominant player, it is faced with a more densely populated field, and management of these spaces has become more difficult. This article examines this trend in the high seas, outer space, and cyberspace since the end of the Cold War, with attention to the ways in which the rise of China and the relative decline of the United States have catalyzed greater engagement with the commons, particularly among the countries in Asia that find themselves most affected by this power transition. I argue that advances in and diffusion of technology have transformed the global commons into increasingly crowded domains characterized by interstate competition and heightened tensions. Whether these tensions prevail depends on the creation and strengthening of regimes to manage interactions and promote shared rules and norms...
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Globalization, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Rosenzweig
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Benjamin Franklin is famous, in part, for having said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Though historical evidence suggests Franklin’s quote has been misinterpreted,[1] the aphorism has come to stand for the proposition that privacy and security stand in opposition to each other, where every increase in security likely results in a commensurate decrease in privacy, and vice versa. ​ Couched in those terms, the privacy/security trade-off is a grim prospect. We naturally want both privacy and security to the greatest extent possible. But Franklin tells us this is impossible — that privacy and security are locked in a zero-sum game where the gain of one comes only at the loss of the other. ​ Of course, this characterization is assuredly flawed; it is certainly possible to adopt systems that maximize both privacy and security in a Pareto optimal way. That is one of the reasons why so many privacy and security experts simply revile the “balancing” metaphor — it obscures more than it illuminates... ​
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Privacy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Douglas Yeung
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Digital data captured from social media, cell phones, and other online activity has become an invaluable asset for security purposes. Online mapping or cell-phone location information can be used to collect intelligence on population movement, or to provide situational awareness in disasters or violent incidents. Social-media postings may be used to vet potential immigrants and job applicants, or to identify potential recruits who may be likely to join the military. ​ However, breakdowns in relationships between the tech industry and would-be consumers of technology’s handiwork could imperil the ability of security stakeholders to use this data. Ongoing issues have already begun to shape some technologists’ views on the ethical use of artificial intelligence and other technologies in war and conflict and their impact on human rights and civil liberties. It isn’t difficult to imagine a series of future incidents further souring collaboration between technologists and security stakeholders. ​ In contrast to its reluctance over security matters, the tech industry has been a willing partner for government agencies and communities that promote health and wellbeing—topics that present less of an ethical challenge. Although it may not be immediately apparent, wellbeing and security have much in common. Could the security community take a page from wellbeing efforts to improve their collaboration with the tech industry?...
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Business , Surveillance, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: John Borrie
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: John Borrie is the research coordinate and program lead at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. He’s currently working on continuing and expanding dialogues about disarmament and the impact of nuclear weapons on humanitarian affairs. He previously worked on weapons control for both the International Committee of the Red Cross and as a New Zealand diplomat. Borrie holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Bradford.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology, Interview
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Martin Labbé
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Martin Labbé is the Tech-Sector Development Coordinator at the International Trade Centre and the Program Manager for Netherlands Trust Fund IV (NTF IV), a USD 10 million Export Sector Competitiveness Program. He manages NTF IV Uganda and NT IV Senegal tech-sector development projects, working closely with IT sector associations & tech hubs, SMEs and tech startups to support the internationalization of the local digital economy. He has been actively involved in designing and managing several online and offline B2B business-development and marketing activities in developing countries and transition economies as well as training small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) on technology and trade, with a focus on e-commerce.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Sherri Goodman, Eli Stiefel
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Sherri Goodman is an experienced leader and senior executive, lawyer and director in the fields of national security, energy, science, oceans and environment. She is a Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and CNA (Center for Naval Analyses), and a Senior Advisor for International Security at the Center for Climate and Security. At CNA, Goodman also served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel and was the founder and Executive Director of the CNA Military Advisory Board, whose landmark reports include National Security and the Threat of Climate Change (2007), and National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change (2014), Advanced Energy and US National Security (2017), and The Role of Water Stress in Instability and Conflict (2017), among others. Previously, she served as the President and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. From 1993-2001, Goodman served as the first Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security).
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Ellen Scholl
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The European Union (EU) has increasingly interconnected energy and climate policy, with the formulation of the Energy Union as one notable — if yet incomplete — step in this direction. In addition to the linkages between energy policy and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet climate goals under the Paris Agreement, the EU has been increasingly vocal about the link between climate and security, and under- taken (at least rhetorical) efforts to incorporate climate security concerns into broader externally focused policy areas. ​ This shift toward a focus on climate security, however, raises questions of how energy security and climate security relate, the impact of the former on the latter, and how the Energy Union fits into this shift, as well as how the EU characterizes climate risk and how this relates to geopolitical risks in its broader neighborhood. It also begs the question of how to go beyond identifying and conceptualizing the security risks posed by climate change to addressing them. ​ This paper charts changes in the EU’s energy and climate security discourse, focusing on their intersection in the Energy Union and the EU’s promotion of the energy transition to lower carbon forms of energy, and the relevant risks in the European neighborhood. The paper concludes that while the EU has evolved to include climate priorities and climate risks into foreign and security policy thinking, the complicated relation- ship between climate change and security complicates efforts to operationalize this in the EU, in relations with the broader European neighborhood, and beyond...
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus, European Union
  • Author: Carole Nakhle
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The Middle East has several features that distinguish it from the rest of the world. Apart from sitting on the largest proven oil and gas reserves, the region is famous for its complicated politics, challenging demographics and fragile economic structures. ​ For oil- and gas-rich states, limited economic diversification is acute; this is where we find government dependence on hydrocarbon revenues reaching as high as 95 percent in countries like Iraq. This is also where we find a poorly diversified primary energy mix, which is heavily reliant on oil and gas, in a sharp contrast to the norm elsewhere where local energy needs are met by diverse sources of energy, mainly oil, gas, coal, nuclear, and renewable energy. ​ The lack of diversification – both in terms of the economy and energy mix – brings serious challenges for the region. The economic performance of the oil- and gas-rich states has simply mimicked the volatile and unpredictable movement in oil prices: when oil prices are high, these economies grow rapidly, but when oil prices go in the other direction, they shrink in tandem. Additionally, the dependence on oil and gas to meet local energy needs has caused two problems: first, the trade-off between the more lucrative exports and the highly subsidized domestic market, and second, the higher carbon footprint because of the absence of greener sources of energy. ​ In a world where international competition for global market share in oil and gas and the fight against climate change intensify, the region’s leaders seem to be increasingly convinced that the old model of governance is simply not sustainable...
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Governance, Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Alice C. Hill
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Human trafficking is a horrendous crime: it degrades human security and undermines the rights of people around the globe. Although the exact number of victims worldwide remains elusive, the extent of human trafficking stands to increase in coming years for several reasons, including the accelerating rate of climate change. A warming world will almost certainly bring more disasters that result in greater displacement of people from their homes and livelihoods. This, in turn, puts them at greater risk of trafficking. Human trafficking is a highly lucrative crime, with few perpetrators successfully prosecuted and transnational criminal and terrorist groups repeatedly using it as a source of revenue. These factors, in combination with worsening climate change impacts will, in all likelihood, yield ever more human trafficking victims. ​ At its core, human trafficking involves forcing another against his or her will to work, perform sex acts, or succumb to debt bondage. Despite its name, the crime does not necessarily involve movement: the key element is coercion. Over 170 nations have signaled their opposition to human trafficking by joining the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and virtually all countries have registered official opposition to trafficking in humans. Despite these pronouncements, human trafficking occurs with staggering frequency. While precise estimates of the number of persons trafficked are difficult to obtain, the U.S. Department of State speculated in its 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report that there may be “tens of millions” of victims worldwide.[1] Other international organizations “estimate that about 25 million people are victims” of human trafficking in the world.[2] In all likelihood, those numbers will grow due in part to the increasing effects of climate change...
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Crime, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America