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International Law

From Territorial Security to Human Security

Saurav Raj Pant



It’s not for sure! Whether COVID-19 impact could be narrated as that of re-arrangements of European powers in Peace Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, 1814-15 of Vienna Congress, Versailles Treaty of 1919, Sans Francisco meetings of 1945 (creating United Nations after WWII) and of End of Cold War in 1991. Like that of Westphalia broken by the rise of Napoleon, Vienna Congress by WWI, Treaty of Versailles by WWII and Potsdam Conference by the end of Cold War. The concept of security has really changed in these powerful historical events from War, negotiations and institutions. UNDP in its 1994 Human Development Report had quoted “From nuclear security to human security”. In 1995, UN Secretary General had called in “conceptual break through going beyond armed territorial security(as in the institutions of 1945) towards enhancing or protecting the security of people in their homes, jobs and communities”(Rothschild, 1995). [1]

After 25 years of UN official recognition of human security; Humanity has itself stuck in the great pandemic of COVID-19. The powerful countries around the world are spending heavily on the security and defense comparing to the health system. The notion is: still 18-19th century of “territorial security” is must. For example: In 2019, the US has proposed R&D defense budget of $57,156 million from $43,616 in 2018 while 2019 budget proposed on the R&D of the health and human services was $24,742 million from $33,772 million. R&D on defense has been increased from 2018 to 2019 whereas on health system it has been decreased making country preparing for war rather for great pandemic like COVID-19.

COVID-19 is affecting in 5 core fundamental aspects: Individual, Society, Economy, Politics,  Technology. In these frontiers, Education and Health is a cross-cutting issues. In individual level, peoples psychological aspects, productivity, learning, doing and inventing seems to have been greatly affected. The continuous lock down measures adopted in many countries of the world has forced people to live inside home. This has generated ‘new wave’ of adjustment features among people. Contrary to this, every adjustment is bringing new challenges to the people. There are reported cases of increasing Gender Based Violence in Nepal, Italy, India( listed can be longer) around the world. As women have to live with their perpetrator with no choice making the violence escalates. Secondly, probability of unintended pregnancies around the world are in incremental mode due to lockdown as women are unable to take services of family planning. UNFPA had reported of 1 million unintended pregnancies for high health service disruption for 3 months(due to lock down), up to 15 million unintended pregnancies if it continues for 12 months lockdown.

Economic downfall from the COVID-19 pandemic could push half a billion more people into poverty unless a urgent action is taken to bail out developing countries as reported by Oxfam. World Travel and Tourism council has warned the COVID-19 pandemic could cut 50 million job worldwide-one of the high end affected sectors of COVID-19. Tourism which count for 10% global GDP could take more than 10 months to recover. Even  after the immediate effect of this virus will be flattened, there are continuous of risk of politicians giving up the stimulus package( after changes of new government) rising the country to “W shaped” recession—a previous crises have shown. We have seen this after 2008 financial crisis.

Underlining several reports, the western power center will become more hostile to China for blaming the COVID-19. There are growing probabilities of nationalist and populist may have enough room to fan the blames and China may become the target of Western aggression. This put the relationship of China, US  and Europe under profound transformation characterized by mistrust and in some cases open hostility.  Germany, France, UK and Australia has been raising the questions of virus originality in China and ask Beijing to respond making relationship of these countries with China on hot mode. Even one of the oped published in Germany’s largest tabloid newspaper, Bild has asked Beijing for GBP 130 Billion bill of COVID-19 damages.

Society would also possibilities to see greater transformation. One of the transformation area could be urban settlements from “closed habitation to open”.  Separating populations from closed compact is one of key tools that has been applied currently to hold back infection transmission. The open spaces in future could be plan for environmental sustainability.  However, the culture of the tele-working can’t be applied across the sectors after the pandemic. Presence of children, poor working environment and in particular lack of private rooms specifically designed for work is serious constraint on tele working.  Some people emphasized the loss of the valuable, quick communication that is only possible through face-face interactions with their colleges, consistent with the result in Battiston et al.(2017). Societal transformation is slow and steady. It is evolution rather mutation. So, assumption on changes at the fundamental attributes of society may not be taken granted.

Technology has played key roles in curbing the COVID-19 and possibility of integrated technology-health system in future. Particularly South Korea has developed fast testing kits, smart quarantine information system, mobile technology data for contract tracing, AI for improving diagnosis efficiency and patients classification and mobile app for information sharing. Including this, South Korean didn’t applied nationwide lock down but had installed thermal imaging camera at the city and contract tracing conducted effectively to curb virus.  In China; satellite monitoring, Robotics, Health Sensor and Apps, Drones,  Big data and facial recognition, Artificial intelligence, Autonomous vehicles, mobile tracking/mass surveillance. But advanced countries of the West has failed in using tech tools for flattening virus.

Way Forward

All above 5 core fundamental aspects where possible impact of COVID-19 is being felt; it needs a re-configuration. It needs re-configuration from a centralizing concept of capital and wisdom to nationalizing concept of capital and wisdom. Cross cutting issues like Heath and Education is now better to be prioritized much more comprehensive way than before( beyond political stunt). The above developments summarizing us the consequences of diverting from the human security to the territorial security. Even a virus; who is “invisible” is challenging 10 thousand years old human civilization. We have given much more preference to the state in safeguarding its citizen from wars since 1648 but less in pandemic and disease. Even the UN, has been limited around managing global wars and high end political diplomacy but has outperformed in pandemic and disease.  

So, re-arrangements of European/global powers from 1648 to 1991( from Treaty of Westphalia to End of Cold War) has an epigram of setting territorial security is must guarded by the state. But in 2020, we need a “totalitarian human security”  idea retreat from old European/western security notions. And, COVID-19 scenario is the best.

[1] The United Nations was founded 50 years ago to ensure the territorial security of member states… .What is now under siege is something different,” or “personal security”?Boutros Boutros-Ghali, “Let’s get together to halt the unravelling of society.” International Herald Tribune, 10 February 1995.

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International Law

Transition of Balance of Power from Unipolar to Multipolar World Order

Fatima Arif



The international system may be described as a complex system of social, scientific, political, military and technological systems. This dynamic structure is very difficult to evaluate and it is even more difficult to predict its future.

The distribution of power potential in the international system defines the number of major powers and thus the international system’s polarity. The system would be multi-polar if the great powers are more than two; if they are two it would be bipolar and systems with only one great power are called unipolar.

It can be expected in the future multipolar world that the global economy does not settle with a couple of significant nations but rather with multiple nations of varying capabilities. In the limited arena of affairs pertaining to their country, each state with its particular notable qualities will have decisive say. Beyond the US, Japan, China, the EU, and India are capable of economic influence due to their advancements in technology, increasing economy, and large population base. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, African Union countries and Brazil will have an impact, owing to their large energy reserves. Russia should have preferences for both. Because of their geostrategic location such as Pakistan, Central Asia, Ukraine and Turkey, a few nations will have some regional influence because these nations are situated on the energy routes from which energy resources would be on route to other parts of the world.

United States and the Changing World Order

There is a broad bipartisan consensus within US political leadership that the country must remain a global leader / world leading power. This assumption in its re-eminence also comes with the fundamental underpinnings that the United States will lead the world to freedom and liberty. Its third term is resolve to contain China.

It’s troubling to what extent the US continues to pursue China’s containment. The’ democracy alliance’ or the’ pivot to Asia’ are examples of US designs. China too, because of its part, diverted from the usual cautious approach and its proclaimed strategy of’ peaceful progression’ to an unambiguous stance on the South China Sea. Right now, however, the condition does not appear to come to a head-on collision anytime far. Yet the contest could bring a serious and dangerous situation to the fore. The US is not going to communicate directly with its forces on the field. There is a lot of resistance for another war at home. This doesn’t mean the US is ineffective. What we have is a hegemon with a diminishing power and a reluctance to give up his position of leadership. At the other hand, there is no other country capable of replacing it while they frequently seek to question its authority. Chinese occasional deviation from caution, and reluctance on the part of the US to yield, build a dangerous situation.

Decline of the Unipolar System

The U.S. has been the only hegemony since the end of the Cold War, but since the economic crisis of 2008 its world hegemony has been undermined. The gap in power between China and the US is diminishing. In 2011, China’s GDP contributed for around half of the US GDP. If China’s GDP continues to rise at 8.5 per cent and US GDP increases at less than 3.8 per cent, the current gap between the two forces will level out in the decade to come. Meanwhile, the economic gap between these two nations and the other major powers will continue to expand over the next ten years. In the next five years, only the US and China will spend more than $100 billion annually on defense, growing the difference in power between them and the others. Accordingly, the international structure would not be unipolar.

International Players That Can Change the International World Order In 21st Century (Analytical Approach)

Bipolar global structure collapsed by the end of the Cold War. The United States has become the sole superpower and as expressed in the new industrial order of defense, the international structure has become unipolar. The major powers of the global community are China, Russia, Japan and the E.U. Whether the international system can turn into a bipolar or multipolar system depends on developments in many countries and regions in technological, political, economic, and military terms. China, Russia, Japan, the EU and India have the power to change their international structure. In the last twenty-five years, China’s capacities have steadily increased in magnitudes that significantly restructure the international order. Economic prosperity for China goes hand in hand with the advancement of science and technology. It is developing expensive weapons systems that are increasingly capable compared to developed countries ‘ most advanced weapons systems. Another important determinant of the future of the international community is the relative dominance of the U.S. in science, technical, economic and military capacities compared to other major powers.


The position of emerging states, which influence the range and change of the international system, is very difficult to comprehend. The general outlines of what is happening with this phenomenon are becoming more evident, as transition happens under intense internal dynamic conditions and not from external factors. There is a group of candidates that can be considered growing powers, and there are rapid bursts in this phase of transition, but it is longer than expected. Under conditions of changing institutionalization a central component of these changes occurs. Yet there is also a gap in the assumptions regarding the principles of collaboration and conflict. National interests and principles are certainly the most significant in the changing world order, and these can also lead to deeply complex and frustrated bargaining situations that need to be resolved by enhanced collaboration at the state level. Joined societies dissolve, along with the old beliefs. According to different ideas of world system, that countries are not less divided, and they can constantly struggle and communicate with each other at the same time. Therefore, the future multi-polar system would be no different from the other multi-polar moments that history has seen, resulting in more chaos and unpredictability than in the current unipolar world. Nevertheless, multi-polarity does not only carry the risks involved in researching balance of power among great powers for the first time in history.

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International Law

The UN reforms are required to make it functional



Today, the world we live in has become more unpredictable, insecure, and exposed to more vulnerability. Geopolitics is changing rapidly, new problems are often emerging, while old issues remained unresolved. Humankind is under threats and challenges; some of them might be natural disasters, like Earthquakes, Floods, Fires, Valconos, Pandemic, etc. But most of the difficulties and problems are man-made, creation of some powerful countries, the result of over-ambitions, greed, expansionism, biases and jealousy. Big and more muscular countries are keeping eyes on the natural resources of small and weaker nations, etc.

In 1945, the United Nations was established to replace the League of Nations. Because the League of Nations was unable to solve most of the problems faced by the world, unable to resolve conflicts and wars, unable to protect human lives, unable to maintain justice and equality, the failure of achieving objects, the League of Nations was dissolved, and UN was established.

The UN was established with the following four objectives:

Maintaining worldwide peace and security

Developing relations among nations

Fostering cooperation between nations in order to solve economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian international problems

Providing a forum for bringing countries together to meet the UN’s purposes and goals

UN Charter was written by very professionals and experts in their own fields. The Charter is comprehensive and based on many considerations, satisfying almost the needs of nearly everyone at that time. Considering the disaster of the Second World war, the Charter was considered a most appropriate document to address practically all concerns.

The UN has been functioning since 1945 and ready to celebrate its 75th anniversary soon. At this moment, if we look at the performance of the UN, there are many things one can mention as achievements or in the UN’s credit. No doubt, in the early days of the Establishment of the UN, the objectives achieved were rated quite well. However, over time, the UN was politicized, and some of the countries, who were a major donor to UN contribution, were using the UN and its structures to achieve their political objectives. They were misusing the UN platform to coerce some other nations or using UN umbrella to achieve political of economic goals by harming other nations. On the other hand, geopolitics became so complicated and complex that the existing structure of the UN is unable to meet the challenges of the modern world.

Just, for example, Afghan is under war for the last four decades, people are being killed in routine matters, foreign intervention caused the loss of precious lives and economic disaster to people of Afghanistan. Iraq war, Libya War, Syria war, Yemen War, the situation in Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Venezuela, Ukraine, somewhat more complicated conflict among the U.S., Iran, Israel, and the Persian Gulf, U.S.-North Korea tussle, and Kashmir, all are remained unresolved under the current structure of the UN.

Should we remain silent spectators and keep the status quo, and let the humankind suffer more? Should we justify ourselves as helpless and let the more powerful kills more human beings? Should we remain in isolation and keep our self busy with our own interests? Should we compromise with our conscious? Should we ignore our inner voice? Should we prove ourselves as innocent and not responsible such crimes committed by someone else?

Think and thing smartly, and consider yourself in the same situation and a victim, what we should be expecting from other nations, the international community, and the UN. We must do the same thing to meet the expectations of the victims.

The UN is unable to achieve its objectives with the current structure; the reforms are inevitable. We must strengthen the UN and transform the current dysfunctional UN to a more effective UN, which should satisfy the core issues of all nations. Africa is a major continent, and facing many challenges, but have no say in the UN; there is no single country from Africa in the Security Council of the UN as a permanent member having veto power. The Muslim world, having an estimated population of two billion, every fourth person in this world is a Muslim, there are 57 independent sovereign countries as member f the UN,m but no voice in the UN, no permanent member of UNSC, no veto power, who will protect their rights and who will look after their interests. Should they remain at the mercy of the current five permanent members of the UNSC?

Some countries are rebellious to the UN; some states are defaulter of the UN, and not implementing the resolutions passed by UNSC. Some countries have bypassed the UN and imposed war or sanctions on other nations. They must be held responsible for their acts, the UN should kick such countries out of the UN, and their membership may be suspended or cancelled.

It is time to introduce, comprehensive reforms in the UN, to address all issues faced by today’s modern, complex and rather complicated world. An appropriate representation of all nations, groups, ethnicity or religion should be ensured. The UN has a heavy responsibility, deserve more budgets, more powers and needed to be strengthened further.

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International Law

Coronavirus Shaping The Contours Of The Modern World

Nageen Ashraf



Globalization vs. Protectionism:

Globalization means the movement of ideas, products, technology, and people across borders and different cultures. It is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. It has social, cultural, economic, political and legal aspects. Globalization has made the world a global village and talks about co-operation and interdependence. Protectionism, on the other hand, is the restriction of movement of goods and products across borders to protect the national industries and economy. The major goal of protectionism is to boost up national economy, but protectionist measures can also be applied for security purposes. So, we can say that protectionists are basically anti-globalists and prefer domestic strength as compared to foreign co-operation.

Protectionism and Covid-19

Globalization has made the world so interdependent and interconnected that any economic or political change in one state creates a domino effect and influence many other states. For the pandemic, most states were initially blaming China, but as it slowly healed and the pandemic caused more devastating impacts in the western states, more fingers are pointing towards globalization. Multiple narratives are building regarding globalization where protectionists finally got a chance to prove how right they were all along.

Globalization not only played a vital role in the spread of this epidemic, it also made the economic crisis go global by affecting the supply chains. An epidemic that affected a single city in Dec, 2019, grew to become a pandemic affecting almost every state in the world through movement of people and goods. States that adopted strict measures and restricted the movement of people, have relatively less cases of corona virus as compared to other states. The worst impacts of corona virus so far can be seen in USA where New York City was initially the epicenter.

New York City is definitely one of the most crowded cities in the world where daily, thousands of people move in and out for various purposes. This could be one of the reasons of such devastating impacts of corona in NYC because the free circulation of people and goods allowed the virus to spread exponentially. On the other hand, if we talk about African continent, where most states are under developed, and the movement of people in and out of the continent is very less as compared to Europe and Americas, reported cases of corona virus are very low. As of Sep 11, 2020, in the whole continent, the highest number of corona cases is in South Africa, with a count of642k as compared to USA’s count of 6.49m. This provides evidence that movement of people played a vital role in the spread of this virus and movement of people has increased a lot since the rise of globalization.

Critiques of globalization also argue that globalization is to be blamed for an epidemic that spread across borders and will soon plunge the whole world into recession. Interdependence because of globalization has made the world more vulnerable to such situations. For instance, China is one of the biggest markets in the world that exports antibiotics and telecommunications and remains an important part of most of the global supply chains. Half of the world’s surgical masks were made by China, even before pandemic. So, when the pandemic struck Wuhan, China, the supplies from China to the rest of the world affected many states that were dependent on China, and they ran out of important pharmaceutical inputs. Even the developed states like France ran out of medical masks and had to suffer because of lack of important medical equipment. This reveals the cost of such deeply interconnected global supply chains that create a domino effect.

Is Globalization ending?

Globalization has made the world a global village and undoubtedly facilitated the free movement of people, goods, ideas, cultures, information, and technology across borders. But on the other hand, it has also played a major role in the spread of diseases and has made states vulnerable to unexpected shocks. Globalists also believe that the medical or health consequences of corona would prove less destructive if states work together instead of working separately for the vaccine, as a competition. Adopting the nationalist or isolationist approach during the pandemic would crash the international economy and further increase the tensions. As the protectionists suggest, if we’d continue to protect only our national economies and keep on putting barriers on international trade, the national recession would soon turn into a global depression, as happened in 1930’s.Timely economic recovery is only possible through global cooperation.

 I think that the threat of Covid-19 has created an extraordinary situation. Originating from Asia, and then causing millions of deaths all around the globe, the blame on globalization is legitimate. Most of the states in the world rely on their tourism revenue that has been affected badly due to corona virus. For instance, Saudi Authorities decided to cancel Hajj because of growing pandemic, and the impact on KSA’s economy would be dramatic. Similarly, Japan is one of the states that depend highly on tourism revenue from Chinese tourists and travel restrictions have caused severe losses. We have also seen how the supply chains are affected just because one of the major producers (China) was badly hit by the virus. Globalization seems to have conquered the world so there is no way that it can be avoided completely. However, after the pandemic, there might be a little change in the world order regarding high interdependency. States that were mostly dependent on China for their important supplies might try to produce the supplies on their own and prioritize their domestic industries over foreign industries because of the consequences they had to bear during the pandemic. Similarly, travel bans will surely be removed but people might hesitate to cross borders and move freely because there will be awareness regarding the risks related to free movement. So, I think that the pandemic has highlighted some backlashes in globalization, but it doesn’t mean that globalization has failed. We can say that it is fragile, despite or even because of its benefits.

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