Editor’s Note: & nbspEvery week we publish an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column on WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column Here.
“W.What we urgently need now, ”said former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev wrote Last year, just one month after the worldwide standstill of the Covid-19 pandemic, was “a rethinking of the entire security concept”. Instead of measuring security in a purely military manner, as we normally do, “the overarching goal must be human security: providing food, water and a clean environment, and maintaining people’s health.”
Gorbachev, who celebrates his 90th birthday on March 2nd, was perhaps the most radical security thinker to have ever led a great world power – and certainly the most radical to have ever led a nuclear country. As Soviet President, he turned generations of dangerous military structures around and democratized the Soviet Union to end the Cold War – a struggle that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. Since the end of his tenure, Gorbachev has continued to advocate a new way of thinking about security, and recent events have confirmed his conscience. In the face of mounting global crises, today’s leaders should consider three lessons that Gorbachev has been promoting for decades.
First, militarization does not make us safer. As a Soviet leader, Gorbachev saw firsthand how it instead often escalates the threat of violence by getting other countries to build their militaries too. These expensive investments divert resources away from investing in basic needs like health care and education, which can really deepen human security.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column Here.