COVID-19 as the Greatest Challenge to National Security
The United States has emerged as the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, having the highest number of cases and deaths worldwide. Sars-COV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, was initially detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan and is transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets. There are some other important questions to be raised about the pandemic’s impact on economic security and public safety.
The History of Global Plagues
To understand how global pandemics have caused massive social unrest, it’s important to study the impact past pandemics had on different populations. The bubonic plague, which was spread by the oriental rat flea, spread between 1346 to 1353 and killed over 100 million people in Eurasia.
Shortly after World War I ended, the Spanish flu began to spread, particularly affecting young adults and nearly wiped out indigenous tribes. Like COVID-19, both pandemics placed a massive strain on economic activity.
A few medieval city-states, including Venice, implemented what is currently known as a quarantine to prevent further spread of the bubonic plague. Similarly, New York City and other places have implemented lockdown measures, closing several businesses and ordering everyone to stay home. Both factors have contributed to the economic decline by decreasing productivity and restricting social activity.
The Factors of Economic Decline
Many people have either lost their job or had their wages cut during the pandemic. This has caused significant disruption in everyday life. As others are struggling to pay down mortgages, up to 40 million Americans could possibly face eviction. People are also struggling to pay utility and medical bills, which could lead to debt and reduce contributions they can make to their retirement.
The increased unemployment rate also poses a threat to families living paycheck-to-paycheck, potentially severing their ability to purchase food and other essentials. This pandemic ushered in economic hardship and exacerbated social unrest among several communities, creating an era of political uncertainty that affects this year’s presidential elections.
The federal government passed the CARES Act to provide most citizens $1,200 stimulus checks in an attempt to provide economic relief. The Payment Protection Program was also passed to help small businesses stay open and keep their employees on the payroll.
The Rise of Foreign Threats
More democratic nations are finding it difficult to push for strategies that effectively placate their enemies. Authoritarian regimes such as Iran have taken advantage of COVID-19 to acclaim power for long-term control.
ISIS is also a major threat to America’s national security. There is an increase in ISIS attacks across Iraq and Syria, making it easier for terrorist operatives to spread into Europe as they continue to exploit security inefficiencies. Conflict zones where American soldiers are stationed to guard areas deemed the most vulnerable to ISIS attacks have started to close to protect personnel from coronavirus.
The global pandemic has decreased the level of public involvement in the economy. This has led to an increase in employment and has made it difficult for people to live stable lives as they face multiple barriers to success.
People begin to understand how the pandemic has threatened America’s national security by knowing how pandemics have affected those throughout history, the economic factors that have led to the social decline, and the rising influence of foreign enemies.