The Fight against COVID-19: A National Security Issue

Muawad Mustafa Rashid

Out of the blue, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has arrived and has brought 21st century civilization – with all of its might – to its knees, leaving its leaders and citizens wounded, paralyzed with no real direction, concrete answers or solutions.

Total shutdowns and curfews have been imposed and states of emergency introduced, while astronomical budgets (which have been saved by countries for decades) have been assigned to support the efforts to cope with the pandemic, to enable the country to survive and the people to finance themselves.

Lessons from previous pandemics, warnings by institutions engaged in pandemic issues, as well as books and the calls of organizations and experts about the possibility of future pandemics were systematically ignored in recent years and most countries were not at all prepared to deal with such a crisis.

Had the leaders handled this risk in a different way, many lives and budgets could have been saved. It is now too late, as the virus has hit societies and there is a real need to react.

However, even if the actions that have now been taken around the world do prevail, it is very clear to everyone that a second virus or similar pandemic could come at any time, but then the governments would have empty budgets and would not be able to properly defend their societies.

Governments around the world usually spend heavily on security issues, ranging from weapons to human resources, in order to be prepared for violent conflicts and terrorism.

The COVID-19 has clearly proven that pandemics need to be immediately included under security measures, and categorized as very high priorities.

Every violent organization is now aware of the fragile situation in terms of handling issues such as pandemics.

It would be quite easy for terrorist organizations, for example, to get their hands on the next virus and use a similar pandemic.

Whether from wild animals or from another source, it is therefore extremely important for the international community to get accurate information about the sources of the virus and how accessible such viruses are to violent organizations.

To sum it up, we may never know the true origin of COVID-19, but one thing is certain: The world that will come after this crisis will be completely different to the one we knew before.

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