International Security Issues to Address in 2022
There are a multitude of international security issues to address in 2022. These include the militarisation of space, the rise of artificial intelligence, and the proliferation of dangerous weapons technology.
We must continue to uphold the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in global governance, and maintain security in both traditional and non-traditional domains.
The Palme Commission’s Predictions
The Commission argued that economic inequality was a security issue, that the fear of poverty drives political conflict and that a lack of prosperity fuels populism and nationalism. 40 years later, growing income disparity continues to divide societies. The Palme Commission was also concerned that massive military spending diverted resources from social and environmental investment. This fear continues to drive debates around how best to secure the world.
Many cybersecurity experts expect that espionage-based cyber attacks will increase this year. Geo-political tension is a significant factor that influences the intent of such attacks, with the goal of stealing sensitive information for national security purposes.
Other predictions include the continued growth of supply chain attacks, as companies outsource their IT infrastructure to third-party providers. These providers concentrate a lot of data, making them desirable targets for attackers. Additionally, mobile devices are an attractive target for attackers because they can carry personal details about the user. The emergence of new technologies such as 5G will highlight security concerns.
The Future of Multilateralism
With the coronavirus pandemic revealing global fragilities, it is clear that a stronger European Union is essential for upholding world peace and security. The EU must adopt a more coordinated and autonomous foreign policy, take a smart approach to the escalating US-China rivalry, and reinvigorate cooperation with major democracies.
Multilateralism must be given new momentum and the informal Alliance for Multilateralism – with its focus on pragmatic agreements – should be strengthened. The Alliance’s emphasis on common security issues does not necessarily imply principled multilateralism in the sense of German and European foreign policy, however. The Alliance aims to establish new institutions and coalitions that address specific overlapping interests and which are not limited to likeminded or geographically proximate states. This would allow greater flexibility to move an agenda forward when universal consensus cannot, or does not need to, be achieved. This would be an important step towards a system that is more suited to the challenges of our times.
As the global security landscape continues to evolve, advances in technologies are reshaping the world. These advancements, ranging from artificial intelligence to drones to space-based weapon systems, are forcing policymakers to rethink their strategies and doctrine.
In 2022, the world still faces existential threats, including climate change and nuclear war. The Doomsday Clock remains at about 11 minutes to midnight for humanity, and a toxic mix of inequality, populism, extremism and nationalism exacerbates the risk.
The world needs a new common security architecture that supports sustainable peace, development and win-win cooperation. To achieve this, we need to embrace true multilateralism and firmly uphold the UN system and its basic principles. We also need to fight against Cold War mentalities, bloc confrontation and hegemonism. The time to act is now.
The most likely area of conflict will be space. While the threat of a space war is not as pressing as traditional warfare on Earth, it still could have severe consequences for world stability and prosperity. For example, the loss of critical data relay satellites that provide communications between Earth and orbiting platforms would severely limit global intelligence gathering.
In addition, the potential “fog of war” — the confusion and mistakes that occur on terrestrial battlefields during conflict — will be much greater in the space arena due to its complexity, the immense distances involved, and the interconnectivity of space systems.
As a result, the United States is pleased that there is growing support for a proposal to establish a new international norm of behavior against conducting destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing in outer space. It is vitally important that States focus on the development of a common, legally binding instrument to prevent an arms race in outer space, rather than engaging in parallel processes that could exacerbate polarization and fragmentation.