Nonstate Threats and the Principled Reform of the UN [Excerpt]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 20.2 (Summer 2006)

July 28, 2006

When considering the threats to collective security in the twenty-first century outlined by the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, two issues stand out. First, in terms of general nonstate threats, I regard poverty as the most significant. Poverty, like war, ethnic cleansing, and genocide, is as old as the recorded history of man. Poverty translates into instability and violence at the heart of the international system. Terrorists are seldom poor: they are wretched, but not the wretched of the earth. They do take advantage of poverty, however. Globalization and technology have paradoxically reinforced the threats of poverty and terrorism, but also the means for overcoming these…


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