Global insecurity our biggest fear
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.