Crisis prevention – still an illusion ?
Expect the unexpected?
For years “Crisis management” and “Crisis prevention” have been key words in the political debate. Unfortunately, no significant progress has been achieved. The world still has to live with surprises – crises and conflicts emerge without early warnings. Political leaders and the public learn about crises and conflicts if and when CNN cameras transport the horrifying pictures via TV into our homes.
Political leaders express their surprise about emerging crises and conflicts in Rwanda, Haiti, Former Yugoslavia, Ivory Coast, Congo, Middle East, Former Soviet Union, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq, Afghanistan – just to name a few.
They react – and sometimes overreact – in panic, pour a lot of resources into damage control and promise to improve the tools for “crisis prevention” – and then forget the crisis and measures for “crisis prevention until the next crisis emerge.
Is this cycle a natural law ? Are those political crises – like Tsunami – a fact of life we have to live with fatalistically ?
Are we not capable with all our instruments of world-wide access to information, communications, computers, exchange of knowledge within a nation, between nations and alliances, state and non-state organisations to net a safer world ?
Are we not willing to spend some money to prevent crises and conflicts ? Is there no political resolve to - at least – reduce the number of surprises ?
How should “crisis prevention” work ?
Let’s start with a nation state.
Governments of nation states should feel the obligation to develop an “early warning system” – at home and abroad.
The governments should define their vital national interests : What do we need to know from selected countries and regions ?
The factors which might lead to crises and conflicts are wellknown:
• Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
• International terrorism combined with organised crime
• Production, transport and consumptions of drugs
• Human trafficking
• Ethnic minorities under pressure
• Religious tensions
• Social tensions – such as the level of unemployment especially of young people
• Territorial claims
• Rift between the have- and the have-not
• Level of education
• Status of women
• Status of health care
• Environmental problems
• Cultural tensions
• Strains from history
• Shortage of strategically important raw material, energy, crude oil, gas and water and resulting dependencies
• “no future” feeling of the “losers” of industrialisation and globalisation
• demographic development – over ageing and overpopulation in poor countries
• Flight from the country into “Megapolis”
• “failed states”
• Non-state armed groups
• Shortage of food
These factors do not need further explanation, they are self explanatory.
Where and when some factors are combined crisis and conflicts become almost inevitable.
A nation state needs a “National Security Adviser” who systematically observes the factors which might create crises and conflicts at home and abroad.
He needs a interdisciplinary team with expertise from all walks of politically relevant areas.
This team forms a hub in a national and international network of state and non-state organisations - UN, NATO,EU, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, African Union, ASEAN states, G-8, G-21,OECD, OSEC, research institutes, multinational companies – and so forth.
Computer freaks can use the opportunities of the internet. As “Open source intelligence (OSINT)
All these sources fill an ocean of information. The art of “crisis prevention” is to select the relevant information and transfer this “unfinished intelligence” into knowledge as “finished intelligence”.
What to do with “finished intelligence” ?
It makes no sense if and when the “National Security Advisor” keeps this knowledge on his desk. He has to “sell” it to the decision-makers – including the advice : who should do what and when and how ?
That’s not an easy task.
Governments in democracies tend to think and act in short periods of time – looking at the next election. Why should a government invest scares resources when a crisis is still beyond the horizon of public awareness ? Why should they tackle a problem of the future under pressure of pressing actual competing issues ?
The reality tells us that many nation states do not have the instruments for “crisis prevention” nor the political resolve to start.
They accept to be surprised and to react instead of pro-active decisions and actions.
What is the prize for failed “Crisis prevention”?
The prize for failed “crisis prevention” can be seen in the media.
Crises and conflicts are very expensive. Losses of lives, destruction of infrastructure, deployment of military and police forces, costly damage control, expensive reconstruction of the infrastructure as well as nation and state building.
If crises and conflicts are not brought to a satisfying end the next crisis and conflict is borne.
Responsive governments and individuals have to break this vicious circle in the interest of mankind.
The value of IFIMES’ contribution As consumer I appreciate very much the contribution of IFIMES in the area of “Crisis prevention”. The in-depth going analyses about the development in the Middle East and in the Balkans are very helpful for decision-makers and other institutions which work in a similar way. These analyses are part of an “early warning system” telling decision-makers where crises and conflicts might occur.
IFIMES is a very important part in the world-wide network.
As Global Editor of www.worldsecuritynetwork.com I benefit from the products of IFIMES. We have common goals and objectives:
Network a safer and better world.
For this aim and objective “crisis prevention” is a challenge and worth our common efforts.
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CRISIS PREVENTION – STILL AN ILLUSION?
ARE EARLY ELECTIONS TO BECOME THE POLITICAL REALITY?
EARLY ELECTIONS ARE COMING CLOSE - POLITICAL INSTABILITY IS INCREASING
CHALLENGES OF SECURITY IN THE REGION OF THE WEST BALKANS
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