I had the pleasure to be the discussant of an online session by Mary Kaldor (London School of Economics) on “Human Security in a Time of Covid-19”, organized by CIDOB. Professor Kaldor discussed whether the existential threat posed by the pandemic is opening up the possibility for the kind of social and political transformation that earlier occurred in major wars. In particular, whether it could involve a shift from national security to human security, from a geo-political on the danger of war against other states to a new commitment to human rights – political, civil, social, economic and environmental? And from the security of the state to the security of individuals and communities?
In my comments I was more pessimistic than Professor Kaldor and argued that the Coronacrisis is a threat to human security on different levels. On the geopolitical level it has strengthened actors, such as China, which have a different understanding of human security as the European Union has. On the (western) state-level, we see that a situation of crisis leads to protectionism, borders and increased nationalism. And, finally, the social and economic effects of the coronacrisis (lower resource prices, less trade…) increase the likelihood of armed conflicts in weak states.