Peace and security are not the same thing

September 11th, 2001 attacks as seen from Jersey City (picture Aspersions)
By Richard Laming

It is hard to contain one’s outrage at the terrorist attacks on buildings in New York and Washington DC. But it would be a mistake for the US to rush into a military response. For it is important to distinguish between peace and security.

Security is a military concept, something a country can hope to provide for itself. But it does not work and it does not last.

A search for peace, on the other hand, would address the causes of the terrorism and not only its effects. A world where political and economic power are concentrated in so few hands is never going to find peace easily.

International terrorism is a multilateral problem that requires a multilateral solution. In this, it is the same as global warming or maintaining the health of the global economy. Lasting solutions cannot be found by the powerful imposing on the weak.

Terrorism must be opposed and prevented, but no one country can do this on its own. A unilateral search for security will surely fail. A collective search for peace must be the way forward.

This article was written by Richard Laming, a member of the Executive Committee of Federal Union. He can be contacted at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of Federal Union.

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