We Call it Panic, The World Calls It Preparedness
By: Shazia Haris
In a crisis, no one person is Aristotle, and it’s OK to build a team and learn. That is how we convert adversity into opportunity.
It was a warm day of July 2015 in Hawaii, when we Fellows of the Crisis Management Course at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI APCSS) role-played, handling a health epidemic with potential to be pandemic in South Asia. To our utter surprise we as crisis managers had to communicate with Border Control Forces, the Health Minister, National Security Officers, the Police, the Fire Department, the Finance Ministry, the Military officials of the affected country and its neighbors, and above all the Prime Minister along with his bureaucracy, and the border security of neighborly countries. “What the heck had we to do with all these stiff collar people,” we thought. We were the national crisis management team to deal with crisis-specific issues only, but now with COVID-19 termed a pandemic by the WHO, it all seems so true!
The role-play crisis game opened avenues unknown to us, making us realize how close-knitted disaster management is to human and international security. We realized that making consented decisions an all-inclusive approach taking all stakeholders on board, is the answer to hindrances, both human and situational in crises. At the policymaking level, understanding the importance of information dissemination and risk communication as a safety weapon, like a missile in war, is absolutely vital.
The first coronavirus case was reported on February 26 in Karachi. The evidence suggests that the source was imported, not indigenous, and now we have reports of cases being transmitted within communities. This is alarming as it affects economic viability and inability to earn a living might be a precipitating factor for political unrest starting from the lowest income earning population. Today, with infected cases over 2,400, Pakistan needs to realize that the earthquake in 2005 was an eye-opener for the world as a whole, but as it was restricted to Pakistan, the world rushed for help. COVID -19 has affected the whole world, made health systems collapse and left corpses to pick so the international help scenario […]
Response to COVID-19 in South Asia
By: Binoj Basnyat (ASC 11-2)
The world has become more unpredictable with the COVID-19 pandemic and the losses it is causing. Nation states focus on their measures and regional intergovernmental organizations look for collective efforts while the World Health Organization vigorously works to provide answers. Whether interagency, political level of governance, bilateral, multilateral or global; rapid action and cooperation and coordination are the key to tackle and control COVID-19.
Indian PM Modi asked the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to face the pandemic challenge. The SAARC leaders’ virtual interaction provided information on measures and internal preparedness as well as an opportunity to collectively move forward with cooperation and coordination. Unfortunately, Heads of State missed the opportunity to communicate country strategies and propose regional procedures to mitigate both direct and indirect affects at the strategic level. SAARC leaders are looking for a model to face the pandemic that can act as an extraordinary example. This could lead to formulating other models for collaborative and collective efforts on common challenges in regional security.
Although Nepal only has 6 cases, the WHO has put it in the high-risk category for its potential to be affected. Nepal quarantined itself and suspended visa-on-arrival and imports of edible items from China. Land crossing points with India and China have been reduced and tourist arrivals by air to Nepal are minimal. Chinese tourist arrival was expected to reach 350,000 in 2020 but stopped and all hotels are empty. The Asian Development Bank estimates that Nepal is likely to shave off up to 13% of its gross domestic product and lose 15,880 jobs. The Nepalese Army successfully quarantined evacuated Nepalese from China, but more is on the way to be prepared with preventive, preparation and post eventualities. National security will be at risk if cooperation between Health, Finance, Diplomacy, Defense, Law Enforcement Forces and Intelligence Agency’s does not prevail.
The need to move swiftly to reduce transmission with policies is the remedy. Deep engagement is needed with individuals, families and the community. The adoption of proven strategies by nation states, geographic regions and inter-continental is essential. It is time to look into the national security and […]
One Word from Nepal
BG (R) Suresh Sharma (EC 06-3)
At this moment all citizen of world are in panic, as continue to great chaos arise in the hard hit places of earth due to the Covid- 19. It is an unprecedented natural disaster. Nepal lies between two biggest populations of the world is also definitely in a fear that it may not spare us at one time later. Nepal is thankful that it is controlled in Wuhan but much concerned for the unchecked outbreak in new countries, new cases in India and more crises in Italy, Spain US and others. The nights and days of world citizen are becoming horrific due to the daily morning news of surge as a catastrophe that will have a greater impact on everyone’s economy, social well being and peace. The Covid 19 will have great impact on the national security as it is a diverse field which is attached to human security, in particular.
Every morning we hear news about the surge and the anxiety looms large in public’s mind with this rapid expand of the menace and the increased victims. We pray to God that things be improved and settle in few days more or about few weeks time. It should not go beyond that. No one is sure when this unprecedented pandemic would have a halt. No one knows when the vaccine would be invented despite extraordinary efforts displayed by the scientific experts.
I remember the time in 2005 when we were attending the Executive Course there in the DKI APCSS center, ( APCSS , that time )in Hawaii, Honolulu, and the importance given by Center and faculty about the pandemic of H1N1 . We really appreciate the way the capsule of possible pandemic was anticipated that time, with a full participation of multi nationals by bringing medical experts in front of them for their deliberate Day long presentations and the strategy outlined. This demonstrates how the Center, the US PACOM and their senior leaders were concerned for the possible outbreak, world safety, peace and stability. Today, the pandemic Coronavirus cases has rocketed to more than 300,000 , with deaths rising to nearly 13,000 […]
Richard Siga-an (EC05-2)
The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the resilience of the Philippines and her resolve to cope. A common action is quarantine or community locked-down to prevent people from roaming around and spreading the virus. While lock–down is seen as closing the borders, it actually could be viewed as a unifying factor among political entities in inter-state or intra–state relationships.
The armed services were tapped to either lead or support the implementation of lock-down. There is an Inter–Agency Task Force (IATF), headed by the President and the Secretary of Health and the armed services are part of it.
At the moment, the Philippines immediate problem in the community lock–down is logistics and the President has delegated the power to source logistical requirements to local government units. The IATF is encouraging self-quarantine for those persons under investigation and monitoring of the possible COVID–19 cases. By this strategy, the possibility of overloading the medical care facilities and their manpower resources may be averted.
There appear to be some problems on the availability of testing kits. The medical practitioners here rely principally on a symptomatic diagnosis of COVID–19 cases, that is looking for common symptoms such as dry cough, shortness of breath, among others. There is an emphasis on strengthening individual resilience through public information.
The public transport system was suspended, but the movement of health workers, medicines and food supplies and other basic commodities are exempt. Selected workforces are allowed to report to work provided social distancing is observed and they have valid identification cards coupled with allowable bodily temperature reading at checkpoints.
So far, the Philippines case is manageable but there is a need to be vigilant.
East Asia Implications
By: Lt.Gen.(ret) Jun Nagashima (TSC 15-1)
As the world is united and fighting against this coronavirus, I would like to provide my insights on East Asia from a long-term security perspective. Here, I would like to elaborate on three points.
One is that some of the weaknesses of biological weapons have been resolved, assuming that the virus will be more utilized as a weapon in the future. I think this incident might increase the accessibility, ease of use, and transportability of biological weapons, which raises our anxiety in the case where these could be used by extreme terrorists.
The second is the impact on the peace and stability in East Asia and primarily the political relationship between Taiwan and China. After Xi Jinping had delivered his speech aimed at Taiwan unification in January 2019, Taiwanese support rate for President Tsai Ing-wen, who aims for the independence of Taiwan, has been increased dramatically. Having seen the protest demonstrations in Hong Kong starting June 2019, her support rate rose to nearly 50%. In Taiwan, which is excluded from the WHO at this time and while criticism against China for the slow response to coronavirus became apparent, the Taiwanese government was highly evaluated for effective epidemic control measures, and the support rating for her rose to 68.5%. As Xi Jinping aims for Taiwan unification by the year 2049, which would be the 100th anniversary of its founding, I’m anxious about the possibility of heightened military tensions between Taiwan and China in the near future.
Third, China has taken full advantage of advanced technology equipment as a means of preventing the spread of this virus. These include big data, drones, face authentication system, surveillance network systems, robotics, and people’s credit granting system, which could be used to block infected areas and restrict the movement of citizens, track infected people and contact persons. China has adopted a civil-military fusion policy that blurs the line between civilian technology and military technology, so it is easily expected that the PLA will use these advanced technologies actively and equip its weapons with these earlier than planned. That’s my insight on this coronavirus incident from the viewpoint of security.
COVID-19 and Kurdistan Region of Iraq
By: Tayeb Hamid Mohammed Sherwani (CSRT 19-1)
The Kurdistan Regional Government implemented several processes and regulations to prevent the prevention and containment of the coronavirus at the start of the epidemic.
Concerning the lethal coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has taken many lives worldwide in a short period of time, it has captured global attention not only through requirement of treatment but also through containment and prevention to control the spread of the virus. The virus originated in China, which has the second most deaths worldwide while Italy being affected the most. Currently, it seems as if China has halted the further spread of the virus through good countermeasures and management which is a good example of crisis management and response. While one of worst response to the pandemic and bad management is Italy, with it being tragic to observe as it has the most deaths.
As a citizen of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, I consider myself lucky and happy that our government, regardless of being an autonomous region and not officially a country, has managed the pandemic very well. The people have obeyed the laws and regulations that the government has set out. The KRI up till now, the 26th March, has only had 103 infected with the virus and 2 deaths, which most are in stable condition. Considering the regions extensive border with Iran, which has had considerable infections comparatively, the majority of patients that have been infected have travelled back from Iran recently.
The Kurdistan Regional Government implemented several processes and regulations to prevent the prevention and containment of the coronavirus at the start of the epidemic. Some of which were:
- The quarantine of anyone, who was traveling back from outside of the region, that was suspected of having the virus for a length of 14 days.
- Cancellation of any event that had large numbers of people gathering in one location.
- The closure of schools, universities, and other educational institutions and the temporary shutdown of some government institutions. Government employees were encouraged to work from home through online platform which was established for necessary situations similar to the current pandemic.
- Finally, the government announced a 14 days […]