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April 8, 2016

Responding To: Managing Security for a New World

Arguments for a New World Order and Global Security

Patrice Ndayisenga

From Secretary Hagel’s discussion one gets a sense that things are changing, and it is time to rethink our global polity, taking into account the realities of the twenty-first century. His evaluation of the impact of the economic power that other nations are gaining shows that a new world order is shaping up. He states that “with economic power have come political power, decision making power, and people wanting to make their own choices.” This is a reality which did not exist almost a century ago when institutions like the United Nations or NATO were being created. 

Moreover, the above observations tell us that the security threats are embedded in our inability to recognize these signs of the time and work out proper reforms which should accommodate new changes and reshape the global solidarity that is needed in matters of security cooperation and global governance. Hagel has rightly pointed out that cyber attacks are the most dangerous security threat that the United States should fear today. Perhaps alongside the cyber threat, I wish to argue, governance for global security should be allotted equal attention.

Cyber attacks are deadly and highly sophisticated as they take a long time to be detected and require equal sophistication to be averted. However, it is short-sighted in my view to invest in cyber attack mitigation without examining the importance of developing trustful inter-state relations along the process. This is because global security requires global cooperation; and it cannot work out if it is addressed single-handedly, at least in today’s global reality. Hence, the issue of global governance should also be investigated more closely in addressing the major global threats that stalk our global security. Today’s governments of emerging economies are advocating for their recognition on a global scale. Questions such as the right to veto being still in the hands of only five nations are echoed everywhere more than ever, without forgetting the African nations’ cries for permanent membership seats in the Security Council.

If we go by Hagel’s concession that people of a region or society should be allowed to make their own choices, then global security should involve global participation. Hence, the idea of expanding the Security Council to include more nations from different regions is not totally off the hook. And should a change be contemplated, it will also be necessary to consider the importance of giving equal value to every vote from every representative. It is from this angle that the veto privilege should be examined and justifications for its dissolution may find validity.

In short, it is important to take stock of the new challenges that are facing us today. We may decide to turn a blind eye to them and still continue to rely on our military might. However, the global interdependence has shown that no matter how remote a problem might be from our shores, its consequences will escalate up to our doors. The global governance which recognizes the role and respects the independence of each individual member state is the key to the threats that are haunting our today’s efforts for a more harmonious coexistence. It helps in building mutual trust and it recognizes the inherent dignity with which everyone is endowed.

Patrice Ndayisenga is a Jesuit scholastic from Rwanda currently pursuing theology studies at Hekima College, a Jesuit school of theology based in Nairobi, Kenya. 

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