As one of many species in the wondrous web of life, humans have devised ways of not only ending human life on the planet but many other species as well. Can we, must we, do better? We know we can. It is now a moment when creative thinking founded on spiritual and moral insight has enormous value. Human Security expresses the new thinking that is needed.
Think of what has happened by the application of an excessively military model of pursuing security in Afghanistan, Vietnam, Syria, Iraq, Palestine/Israel, Kashmir, Ukraine and so many other tragedies. This is not to suggest that force is not ever needed to address crimes against humanity or genocide, nor that nations should not have the capacity to defend themselves against invasion or threats to their stability. It is to emphasize that our common interests far exceed our differences and thus our primary model, our focus, our common aspirations, must be grounded in the global common good.
Changing the compass point on a journey changes everything.
Can the model of pursuing security primarily through military domination and competition help in protecting the climate, the health of the oceans, and the health and well being of people, especially those in poverty? Will the modernization and expansion of nuclear weapons arsenals bring us more security or less? I suggest we should join with many other thoughtful people who see the human family as one and propose a model of pursuing security that focuses on people. The pandemic, which like the climate does not recognize borders, should clearly remind us that we are one human family. It is time we pursued security with this truth in mind.
The United Nations terms this approach Human Security. As Secretary General Guterres said, “We must put people at the centre of our actions to bring tangible improvements to people’s daily lives… I commit to mobilize the systems of the United Nations towards a reinvigorated application of human security to advance our Common Agenda.” That common agenda includes the abolition of nuclear weapons, the abolition of poverty and the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals. The nations of the world have endorsed the concept of Human Security and it is up to us to help make our nations change from pursuing peace by spending nearly $2 Trillion per year on weapons to cooperating and helping humans live as humans.
In that regard I wish to share several articles from prominent publications highlighting the importance of the Human Security approach.
Building human security for Afghanistan AUG 28, 2021 | By Jonathan Granoff, Garry Jacobs
The Hill — Terrifying images of people clinging to the wheels of cargo planes taking off from Kabul and falling from the sky recall similar scenes of people falling from the Twin Towers on Sept. 11.
Can Biden and Putin Ease Nuclear Dangers Like Reagan and Gorbachev? | Opinion JUN 24, 2021 | By Jonathan Granoff
Newsweek — At the recent Geneva Summit, President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a joint declaration containing strong echoes of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. It “reaffirm[ed] the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” and committed Russia and the U.S. to “an integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue in the near future that will be deliberate and robust.”Reagan and Gorbachev took similar steps at their 1985 Geneva Summit. Why military response won’t defuse the Israel crisis – or other multiplying threats MAY 14, 2021 | By Jonathan Granoff
The Hill — The Biden administration wants to reinvigorate alliances and diplomacy to build a more secure world, but there are howling headwinds, including the pandemic, cyberattacks, climate change, and nuclear tensions. Escalating regional conflicts in Israel and Kashmir — both involving nuclear-armed nations motivated by religious and ethnic passions — are the latest reminders that the threat of nuclear war hangs over us, more ominously than ever.
Approaching Human Security MAR 04, 2021 | By Jonathan Granoff
Pressenza in English — The following article was first published in the November 2020 edition of Cadmus, the journal of the South-East European Division of The World Academy of Art and Science. The current paradigm through which the most influential nations pursue security is incapable of addressing several dynamic threats to the survival of modern civilization. Currently, the focus through which security is primarily sought is based on nationalism with an emphasis on military power.
National Security’ is Too Crude to Protect Us From Pandemics. It’s Time to Shift to Human Security Instead | Opinion MAR 17, 2020 | By Jonathan Granoff, Barry Kellman
Newsweek — Whose security is threatened by the coronavirus? The Chinese, the Italians, the Americans? The answer, of course, is everyone’s security is threatened. The virus has no regard for national identity. It crosses borders unhindered by all the weapons and strategic structures supposed to protect our security. There is a lesson here that deserves attention: the concept of “security” must be redefined, or at least expanded.