At present, global security is facing unprecedented assault. At the Sub-forum Webinar of Beijing Forum 2022 “Global Security Governance: Theory and Practice” held by Peking University on Dec. 12, scholars discussed how to strengthen global security governance and build a universally secure human society.
Interplay of security and development
Security and development are necessary conditions for the survival and growth of any living entity: security is the premise of development, while development is the foundation for security. Since ancient times, a secure environment has enabled human beings to develop, but development does not necessarily ensure continuous security.
At the webinar, Jack Snyder, a professor from the Department of Political Science at Columbia University in the United States, compared the development models of the city-states of Athens in ancient Greece, the United States before and after the War of Independence, Germany during World War I, and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He elaborated on the four development models that accompany the rapid rise of a country’s national strength and the difficulties that may be encountered amid containment by established powers.
Snyder believes that established powers tend to contain rising states, and the essence of their conflict and competition is the struggle for power and resources. For late developers, economic development determines whether or not they can break through.
Only by maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, continuously reforming and developing their economy, and maintaining good diplomatic and cooperative relations can they avoid the middle-income trap and achieve long-term development, Snyder said.
Development itself has posed many problems to security governance. Zhang Yuyan, director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, analyzed three major threats currently facing the Asian region from the perspective of economics: changes in the monetary policies of the United States and Europe, energy transition, and the development trend of parallel systems in Asian economic regional cooperation.
To pursue the vision of regional security, Zhang emphasized the necessity of giving full play to the role of existing mechanisms such as the Asian Development Bank, maintaining openness, and continuously upgrading and expanding mechanisms like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. In addition, it is necessary to strengthen dialogue and advance cooperation through full mutual understanding to jointly cope with non-traditional security threats, Zhang said.
Holistic approach needed
In terms of global security governance, China has always been actively seeking cooperation as a responsible major country. On April 21 this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered via video link a keynote speech titled “Rising to Challenges and Building a Bright Future Through Cooperation” at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022. Xi proposed a Global Security Initiative for the first time, contributing Chinese input to global security governance.
Yu Tiejun, dean of the national security department of the School of International Studies at Peking University, interpreted the Global Security Initiative from national, regional, and global levels. He noted that China’s understanding of national security breaks through domestic and international boundaries, traditional and non-traditional security categories, and integrates prominent features of the concepts of development and security.
In contrast to non-governmental subjects in the discussion of global governance in the West, China’s holistic approach to national security takes the country as the core, emphasizing that in the face of global security challenges, major countries should set an example by taking the lead in pursuing equality, cooperation, integrity, and the rule of law. This traditional realistic view of security demonstrates a unique value in today’s uncertain global situation.
The concept of “human security” was formally introduced by the UNDP Human Development Report of 1994, covering a wide range of issues in many fields, such as economy, health, food, and the environment.
Mary Kaldor, professor emeritus of global governance at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said that when people talked about “human security” in the past, they mainly emphasized a security concept which extended from military security to all areas of human life. However, military security is also changing. There are no winners in modern warfare. Humanity faces existential challenges from any major war just as it does from climate change and the energy crisis. Kaldor stressed the need to shift from a national security culture and truly think about related issues from the perspective of mitigating global security risks.