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The Manila Times: Assessing the risk environment| The Manila Times

The Manila Times: Assessing the risk environment| The Manila Times

I’ve always believed that the worst time for any country to be in is when its incumbent leaders are leaving and the new administration is busy settling into power. In our case, politics is often distracting the administration’s last six months. The first six to twelve months of a new administration are usually spent putting new people in positions to control an overworked bureaucracy and paying off political debts.

It’s a risky environment that requires a permanent professional second-echelon who works 24/7 to protect national interests.

You can further break down national security threats into categories like:

1. Hostile governments. These threats include direct acts or aggression, espionage or election interference.

2. Terrorism. State-sponsored and non-state groups can use physical violence, cyberwarfare, or sabotage vital infrastructure to disrupt the flow of life and sow fear, chaos, and are either state-sponsored or not.

3. WMD proliferation National security is at risk when it is known that a hostile nation has weapons of massive destruction. To be considered a threat, an enemy doesn’t need to take aggressive action. An enemy’s ability to destroy more quickly automatically qualifies as a national security risk.

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4. Cybercrime. Cybercriminals can hack into economic institutions, government websites, or power infrastructures to steal or extort money or advance an ideological agenda.

5. Natural disasters and diseases. Extreme weather can cause widespread destruction and death due to human-caused climate change. Pandemics like Covid-19 cause economic and health problems around the world.

National security safeguards are necessary for nations in crisis. It requires a professional cadre who can work autonomously and seamlessly, possessing the protocols and levers national power to use as required, while also supporting the outgoing or coming administrations in their most vulnerable hours in order to detect, deter or defeat such threats.

Despite this, the immediate threats to the country that are keeping our national security network alert night and day are:

1. The rumbling effect of trade wars, sanctions, Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, and geopolitical shifts upon our economy.

2. Resurgent Covid-19 and its further impact on our fiscal viability

3. The war in Ukraine could escalate to the use WMDs.

4. Political uncertainty, election integrity, and the potential for violence.

The United Nations warned that the devastating socioeconomic consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic will be felt for years unless smart investments in climate, economic and societal resilience are made to ensure a robust and sustained recovery of the global economy. Global trade fell by 7.6 per cent in 2020 due to massive disruptions in global supply chain and tourism flows. Global trade was already being restricted by persistent trade tensions among major economies and stalemates within multilateral trade negotiations, even before the pandemic.

The world avoided a complete collapse of the economy by implementing massive and timely stimulus measures totaling $12.7 trillion. However, stimulus packages that were offered by developed and emerging countries put them on different recovery tracks. This highlighted the urgent need for more global cooperation, including debt forgiveness, to help the most vulnerable countries. It was the largest ever peacetime borrowing, which led to a 15% increase in global public debt. A significant amount went to social amelioration which is a lost cost.

The future generations will be burdened by the massive increase in debt unless a significant portion is used to produce investments that stimulate growth. Is the government prioritizing long term investments that promote human development, repair damaged institutions, and create resilient supply chains? Are we conscious of avoiding excessive austerity, redefining debt sustainability, and ensuring social safety and accelerating the transition to the green economic?

Today’s global financial situation is the tightest since 2016. This is due in part to soaring energy costs, falling stocks and market turmoil caused by Russia’s invasion. Expect a stagflation scenario, where inflation rises steadily. This would be due to rising inflation and low economic growth.

The impact on individual countries will depend on their net commodity imports or exports.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin is making a mess of Ukraine on security. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s president, is warning the world not to ignore Putin’s threat of using nukes. This is a dangerous step into high-risk, high-probability territory. If Putin uses it or any other WMDs in Europe, the world will be plunged into unimaginable turmoil. A response could quickly escalate. What would we need to do in a hurry? Building shelters and medical facilities. Protect survival vitality food, water, and air. Keep medicines. Reorganize, equip our civil defense forces.

China is Russia’s BFF, and China is under the microscope. Will it escalate its misbehaviors in the Indo-Pacific to continue testing the West’s resolve. Is it preparing to divide its forces in preparation for a quick strike? Is it creating more fait accompli to move closer to its goal to replace the US as the world’s superpower, preferably with out firing a shot? Is it evaluating NATO’s and Russia’s reversal in fortunes, and putting it through stress tests with its supercomputers so it can determine the next steps and the timing?

Our upcoming general election is unpredictable, with much suspicion, disinformation, and character assassination, mainly via social media. It’s a heated campaign of color-coded rivals, whose rabid supporters routinely fabricate falsehoods and talk loosely about violence as a result of questionable outcomes. These toxic conditions can undermine social well-being, and could disrupt the smooth transition to power. All that is going on is the struggle between supporters of democracy and authoritarian rule for power.

Candidates who are selected for the job and their teams need to be able to manage risks and crisis situations. We need a professional section of the bureaucracy to oversee the store around the clock to ensure safety and security and help the new national leaders settle in.

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