Global inse­cu­rity our big­gest fear

Shepparton News - - VIEWPOINT -

Most peo­ple think the world is more dan­ger­ous to­day than it was two years ago as con­cerns rise over po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated vi­o­lence and weapons of mass de­struc­tion, ac­cord­ing to a new sur­vey.

Six out of 10 re­spon­dents to the sur­vey, com­mis­sioned by the Global Chal­lenges Foun­da­tion, said the dan­gers had in­creased, with conf lict and nu­clear or chem­i­cal weapons seen as more press­ing risks than pop­u­la­tion growth or cli­mate change.

The re­sults, re­leased on Tues­day, come as NATO lead­ers pre­pare to meet in Brus­sels amid grow­ing ten­sions be­tween the United States and fel­low mem­bers over de­fence spend­ing, which some fear could dam­age morale and play into the hands of Rus­sia.

‘‘It’s clear that our cur­rent sys­tems of global co­op­er­a­tion are no longer mak­ing peo­ple feel safe,’’ Global Chal­lenges Foun­da­tion vice-chair­man Mats An­der­s­son said.

An­der­s­son said tur­bu­lence be­tween NATO pow­ers and Rus­sia, on­go­ing con­flict in Syria, Ye­men and Ukraine and nu­clear ten­sions with North Korea and Iran were mak­ing peo­ple feel un­safe.

A sep­a­rate sur­vey com­mis­sioned by the Global Chal­lenges Foun­da­tion af­ter North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un met US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump found peo­ple were largely not re­as­sured.

Less than a third of the nearly 5000 re­spon­dents re­ported feel­ing less con­cerned about weapons of mass de­struc­tion.

‘‘War is more likely,’’ direc­tor of in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity at the think tank Chatham House Dr Pa­tri­cia Lewis said.

‘‘We have a great deal of in­sta­bil­ity and that is so of­ten a pre­cur­sor to wars.

‘‘Two large pow­ers are dis­rupt­ing the es­tab­lished rules. We saw the in­va­sion of Ukraine by Rus­sia and we see the US start­ing a trade war, rip­ping up agree­ments which the rest of us are try­ing to abide by,’’ Ms Lewis said.

Founded to de­ter the Soviet threat in 1949, NATO is based on deep co­op­er­a­tion with the US, which pro­vides for Europe’s se­cu­rity with its nu­clear and con­ven­tional ar­se­nals.

It has found re­newed pur­pose since Rus­sia’s 2014 an­nex­a­tion of Crimea, send­ing bat­tal­ions to the Baltics and Poland to de­ter po­ten­tial Rus­sian in­cur­sions.

Of the 1000 peo­ple sur­veyed in Rus­sia as part of the Global Chal­lenges Foun­da­tion anal­y­sis, 91 per cent thought weapons of mass de­struc­tion were the great­est risk to global inse­cu­rity.

The sur­vey find­ings are based on re­sponses from more than 10 000 peo­ple in 10 coun­tries sur­veyed by polling firm ComRes in April this year.

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