The next frontier of security policy? photo: Krystian "Krane" Schneidewind/flickr
In the newest CSS Analysis, Progress in Biotechnology as a Future Security Policy Challenge, Sergio Bonin examines how biotechnological advances might impact security policy in the future.
He notes: “If the synthetic construction and modification of bacteria and viruses should become a reality, a broad range of useful applications in medicine, environmental protection, and other fields would be facilitated. At the same time, however, constructing biological weapons could become easier, and the necessary skills would be available to a larger spectrum of actors. It seems advisable to explore preventive countermeasures at an early stage.”
For more, check out our Digital Library resources on biotechnology.
Food crisis looming? photo: Peter Casier/WFP/flickr
A review of commodities reports and price indices over the last six months seems to point to a ripening of conditions that will likely spark a food crisis later this year.
The specific causes of the 2007-2008 food crisis are still debated, but it is clear that a combination of high oil prices, low food stocks, a low value of the US dollar, and market speculation, drove world food prices to an unprecedented level, sparking riots and unrest around the world. There are important similarities between observable conditions then and now.
Since the summer of 2010, there have been several important crop failures around the world and among major global grain producers, including: Argentina (drought), Australia (heavy rains may impact output), Canada (heavy rains); EU (dry conditions), Kazakhstan (drought), Pakistan (flooding), Russia (drought), Ukraine (drought), United States (drought). Moreover, South America experienced drought and dry conditions as result of La Nina, while China suffered from severe dry conditions and the rest of Asia experience delayed and erratic rains. In Southern Africa severe rains and flooding continue to cause problems.
According to the International Grains Council, “World production is expected to decline by 3.8 percent, to 1,726 million tons: the wheat estimate is lifted […] but the maize total is cut. By far the biggest fall in grains output was in drought affected Russia, with big reductions too in the EU, the US, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.” » More
Fighting a losing battle? photo: Peter Vlam/flickr
On 26 January of this year, David Kato Kisule, a prominent gay rights campaigner from the east African nation of Uganda, was beaten to death with a hammer in his house near the country’s capital of Kampala, shortly after winning a lawsuit against a magazine which had published his name and photograph identifying him as gay and calling for him to be executed.
The story goes back to October of last year, when a weekly Ugandan tabloid newspaper, the Rolling Stone (with no affiliation to the iconic American music magazine), published the names and photos of 100 suspected homosexuals next to a banner that read “hang them”, which led to those listed being singled out, threatened, attacked, and – as in the case of Kato – killed.
Kato’s funeral was held on 28 January in Nakawala. Tears flowed as family members and human rights activists wailed. A statement from President Barack Obama was read, condemning the killing and urging authorities to bring swift justice. However, the presiding Anglican pastor shocked the mourners when he called on gays to repent or else be “punished by God” and made comparisons to Sodom and Gomorrah, before the bereaved managed to grab the microphone from him. During the resulting scuffle, the onlooking villagers, refusing to bury Kato within their parish, sided with the preacher. » More
The new ISN Insights week starts today, photo: Kirsty Hall/flickr
Last week, ISN Insights looked at:
- Sports and politics and FIFA’s recent, controversial decision to award World Cups to Russia and Qatar in a piece by Gerard DeGroot.
This week we’ll be looking at: so-called green weapons, US policy toward the LRA in Uganda, Japanese defense policy, security in the Gulf region and corruption. Stay tuned.