What does the security of another state have to do with the security of United States? Increasingly think tanks, policymakers, and academics alike are recognizing the power of “soft power” in developing societies. Or rather, they are recognizing that there is a link between the economic development and empowerment of a society and its overall level of security, and in consequence ours. Even more so, they are recognizing it is in the self-interest and long-term political objectives of the United States to foster development in societies that may be fragile, because the fragility of a state can become a breeding grounds for civil conflict, terrorist groups, and the black market sale and transfer of human beings, drugs, and weapons among other things. As part of the Center for American Progress’s Sustainable Security program, the center published a report entitled “Humanity as a Weapon of War,” that highlights the importance of security beyond weapons and terrorist networks, and addresses security in a holistic manner drawing from the perspectives of national security, human security, and collective security.

In today’s utterly globalized world it is impossible to shield ourselves from the struggles of other societies, or to pretend that we or our interests are not connected to them in some capacity. In a few short centuries we have evolved into a world of “seven degrees of separation” in which the responsibility of developing societies lies not only with them, but it lies with us. There is a global responsibility to protect one another, and not only does that responsibility do developing societies well, it also helps to shield us from terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and human trafficking, while protecting our global interests. Nicolas Kristof recently posted an article in the New York Times in which he stated, “There’s abundant evidence that while bombs harden hearts, schooling, over time, can transform them.” I think addressing security from a development perspective is imperative if we are to achieve U.S. objectives while creating a safer more secure world. Investing in the development of developing societies that are politically and economically fragile should not be taken as a form of re-branded neocolonialism, but rather an intelligent way for the United States to pursue its own security interests while making positive contributions to the global community.

To look at the Center for American Progress Report “Humanity as a Weapon of War” please click here:


By Ivana Kvesic

Photo attributed to: Master Sergeant Eric Kreps, U.S. Air Force

Written by Ivana Kvesic