Biosecurity, medical intel to rise in future

Biosecurity, medical intel to rise in future

The COVID-19 outbreak, which has infected around 3 million people and killed more than 200,000, has surfaced the need for a new outlook on how to deal with future probable pandemics, re-model health care systems, and re-build a new global order to address the similar global crisis.

Many academics, philosophers, and think-tankers have already begun disseminating their opinions on an ideal post-pandemic world order with suggestions to the national governments.

Although there are different conceptualizations of what the future would introduce to humanity, many agree on the fact that the new order will hold risks and opportunities at the same time. Mitigating risks and capitalizing opportunities is a matter of ability to envisage what’s in the pipeline and to adopt policies accordingly.

This is what the Turkish government is doing nowadays: While fighting to stem the spread of the coronavirus, it’s accomplishing efforts to make Turkey ready for the post-pandemic period. A new booklet under the title of “Global system in the post-COVID-19: Old problems, new trends” published by the Foreign Ministry’s Center for Strategic Research (SAM) is serving this purpose.

The booklet covers the opinions of 26 academics who analyze various aspects of the future global system and to what extent globalization may be a response to future challenges. Chairman of the SAM, Ufuk Ulutaş, in his piece, predicts that the “strong state” will re-instate its reputation as the only effective institution to tackle coronavirus-like pandemics in the future as the outbreak will be considered as a national security matter. The failure of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the EU will strengthen the role of national governments to this end, Ulutaş suggests, underlining his view that reinforcing the role of the state does not necessarily mean that authoritarianism will attract more supporters.

The phenomenon of failed states will be more visibly on the agenda of international relations, particularly concerning the countries in the immediate neighborhood of Turkey, the chairman writes. The outbreak will further weaken the state capacity and disable them to carry out an effective anti-virus fight, he stresses, predicting that growing distress and anger would lead to fresh popular movements against the governments in these countries.

Ulutaş singles out impacts on the global economy as the major determinant in making the future world system by predicting a fresh competition between the United States and China. The U.S. will always have a chance to rebound even though China has seemingly gained a more advantageous stance in preparations for the post-COVID-19, he says, while underlining that the result of the presidential elections in the former will play a very significant role for shaping the world politics.

With the majority of the contributions analyze the post-pandemic global order and the impacts on the multilateralism, there are also those analyzing the changes on the parameters of the global security with the rise of concepts like biosecurity, medical intelligence, etc.
Can Kasapoğlu, from the Istanbul-based EDAM think tank, says biosecurity will take on a new significance in the light of experiences to be garnered from the pandemic crisis. Three trends seem to be prominent in this frame, he suggests, the military use of progress made in the field of biomedical researches, bio-technologies, and molecular biology, the emergence of new contagions and resurrection of already known infectious disease as a result of disruption of ecological balances and the impact of globalization on the spread of the outbreak.

Predicting that many more countries will be interested in the field of biosecurity, the researcher expresses concerns about the implications of this trend on the efforts of non-proliferation of the biological weapons, which constitutes the weakest link of the international disarmament regimes.

Merve Seren, an academic from Yıldırım Beyazıt University, and Nihat Ali Özcan, from TOBB ETU, explore the prospect of a rise in the medical intelligence in the post-corona world. Seren expects more interaction between national intelligence organizations with the medical world in a bid to increase the level of preparedness against future outbreaks. Özcan analyzes the coronavirus outbreak from the perspective of a national security problem and predicts that medical intelligence will be an area of importance for all the countries in the coming period.

As suggested by many of the contributors, what is for sure is the impossibility of forecasting how the world will look like in the post-pandemic period. But, still, thanks to such academic works, one can have a better sight of what awaits humanity in the future.