Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2020-04-29

When the mask became more important than the missile

The Mask and the Missile

By:Staff Colonel / Yousef Juma Al Haddad

Editor in Chief

Many developed countries that seemed unable to face the Novel Coronavirus pandemic may have realised that the billions of dollars they spent on the arms race during the past few years were a catastrophic mistake. The exposure of their health system, their failure to provide the required care to their citizens, and the fact that some of them, unfortunately, were forced to choose between who will survive and who should be left to die, have constituted a true test of their allegation of respect for human rights. These states have failed to manage the Coronavirus pandemic crisis that revealed the supremacy of the values of utilitarianism, and opportunism, and the absence of human conscience in those countries. Those who deny the right to life, which is the most sacred and precious human right, lack the minimum level of ethics and morality.

On close scrutiny of the statistics contained in the last Military Balance Report issued last February by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a researcher will be surprised when he discovers that the world’s defence spending increased by 4 per cent in 2019 compared to 2018. This is the highest annual increase in a decade, in a clear indication of the return of the arms race and the decline in interest in human and social security on part of these states.

In light of the enormity of the human and material losses caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, especially in the U.S. and many European countries, slogans such as: military supremacy, deterrent power, hegemony, and boasting of the production of the latest weapons, will not meet with any acceptance among the people of these countries as they have realised that they were victims of continuous deception. They have been deluded into believing that they are the top as per all indicators of development, welfare, health and social care, but still had to face the killer Coronavirus nightmare.

I think that the Coronavirus pandemic is now reformulating many theories of development, security and defence in the world. With the increasing number of deaths and casualties of the pandemic around the world, especially in Western countries, it is no more acceptable to claim that military power is the basis of the overall strength of the state. 

Commenting on the virus’ impact on world politics and economics, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, highlighted the importance of healthcare by saying, “The world has long been questioning where the true power lies. Does economy drive politics or the other way around? The Coronavirus spread has shown that healthcare is the main power that shapes the economy and politics at a time when a disease brought nations to a standstill.”

If the arms race, the militarisation of space, the superiority of artificial intelligence technology, and commercial and economic wars had represented the most important terminology of the global scene before the emergence of the Novel Coronavirus, the future heralds’ tremendous transformations. Priorities of major countries will change as they now have to rebuild their health system and pay more attention to the human and social security of their population. That is because they have now realised that the masks are more important than missiles, and the role of respirators is more beneficial to humanity than the arsenals of weapons that are stored and accumulated in order to spread death in the world.

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