Economy, Power and Security in the Post-Corona World

Opening Speech

First of all, I sincerely welcome all our participants. I wish that the 6th Istanbul Security Conference and its sub-events, which we had to do online in 5 separate halls due to the pandemic this year, will produce strategic and historical results for our countries and the world....

First of all, I sincerely welcome all our participants. I wish that the 6th Istanbul Security Conference and its sub-events, which we had to do online in 5 separate halls due to the pandemic this year, will produce strategic and historical results for our countries and the world.

As TASAM and the National Defence and Security Institute, we organize the 6th Istanbul Security Conference with the main theme of "Security Institutions of the Future and Strategic Transformation After Covid-19; Army, Police, Gendarmerie, Intelligence, Diplomacy and Socio-economy“. I express our sincere gratitude especially to our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that supports us with its facilitating role, contribution and participation in the studies that have been going on for about a year, to all relevant national and foreign official and civil authorities, to our sponsors who show sensitivity and awareness, to all our distinguished stakeholders and to TASAM's dedicated directors and employees.

Also, I would like to announce that according to the results to be obtained here and taking into account the constraints of the pandemic we are planning to organize soon the physical meetings of the Conference and its sub-events, which were envisaged as hybrid from the beginning, under more separate titles such as army, police, gendarmerie, intelligence, etc.

In addition to the Africa and the Gulf initiatives, within the scope of the Conference this year, we are holding the second Marine and Maritime Security Forum, the first of which was held in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus last year. I also wish the Forum with the main theme of “Building Future from Atlantic to Indian Ocean“ to offer strategic contributions for Turkey’s Blue Homeland capacity-building (especially in the Eastern Mediterranean), and for exalting its cooperation with friendly and brotherly countries. We are grateful to GiSBiR and Ince Denizcilik for their sensitivity & interest. We confirm that hybrid studies will continue even in this regard.

After the first case of the new type coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, China in December 2019 that was identified as “SARS-CoV-2“ (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2), the global outbreak of the virus was declared as a “pandemic“ by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the international arena faced an unexpected crisis.

Especially in the last 12 years, macro and sectoral “strategic transformation“ proposals and risk analyses developed by TASAM ingenuity and embodied by numerous projects/programs/reports unfortunately have not been appreciated enough in public, private and civil society in Turkey and the shared countries at the slightest expression. The evolving COVID-19 Pandemic is the first step to confirm these recommendations and analysis. The right-time capture of the power and property model, which is transformed by accelerated traumas, especially the security and defense ecosystem, has become much more difficult with the pandemic.

Global governance; while following the balancing processes with technological, economic, military and political threats, the pandemic faced all actors with a scenario in which they were not ready. Ensuring life security has risen to the top of the world agenda in the international arena, and while markets, international trade and inter-country transportation have come to a halt, many national infrastructure and economies have been found to be inadequate. This global epidemic is a lesson for the Great Powers, who have left soft areas such as health systems in second place. Unpredictable situations, such as how many waves the outbreak will continue, vaccine studies and possible side effects will occur, require time estimates and scenarios to be kept up-to-date. The absence of economic and political strategy / infrastructure of many actors in the current and future projections of the pandemic is the precursor of the change and transformation imposed by a global crisis.

The concept of “Controlled Governance“ seems to be a candidate to be the basic paradigm for every country that does not lose control of its infrastructure. Whatever the name of the next virus or sophisticated crisis, the current pandemic is a global school, but the main thing is; to be able to protect the economic, social and security infrastructure that will apply the lessons learned. As we understand the extraordinary risks of demographic consequences of countries stopping life, it will be better understood that intensive care, intubation and death numbers should be looked at, not the number of cases. Minimized losses are the best option for the bad. Again, food, water and health security has become the top priority and area of cooperation for states and global governance.

The experienced pandemic is a critical milestone for the change of production, consumption, growth and conventional power standards, including security. The reinterpretation of the national and international immune system, scenarios and preparations for strategic transformation has now been the top priority. In this context, “Future Security Ecosystem and its Strategic Transformation“, proactively suggested at the highest level by TASAM to many countries along with Turkey long ago, has become a locomotive priority for each country.

It is quite difficult to predict what the next sophisticated crisis area or outbreak will be. As a flare, the current pandemic reveals that; in much of the world threats to security are not likely to arise from the armies of other countries but from a series of problems, such as economic collapse, political oppression, famine, excessive population growth, ethnic divisions, wars, internal conflicts, regional and national conflicts, destruction of nature and the environment, terrorism, organized crime, acts of government violence against its own people, “epidemics“, dangerous goods, and smuggling of people, arms and drug trafficking, money laundering, massive financial fraud aimed at destabilizing the market of emerging democracies.

The global financial crisis of 2007-2008, “Occupy Wall Street“ protests started in the US in 2011, student and activist protests in London, Frankfurt and Paris, Arab revolts which exercise influence over the Middle East and North Africa and humanitarian crises in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia; the debates on law and politics, security and freedoms, populism, pluralism and democracy, fault lines related to religious, ethnic, class, racial and minorities, together with the pandemic (mainly including in Western countries) has become much more fragile.

While the effectiveness, inadequacy and changing of international organizations are being discussed, eyes are turned to the economic status of the states as the virus rapidly increases its impact on the whole world. The end of coercion and preferences, which simultaneously bring public, private and household indebtedness to new heights in order to mitigate the effects of the crisis, are not manageable. Moreover, many countries governed by these indicators will not be able to speak of political independence or even maintain stability.

The emergence of such an effective deterrent should be one of the factors that should be questioned in the first place by all states when discussing how beneficial international structures such as WHO, IMF and the EU are for the global system. In the new international order and security regulation, alliances and differences between national and global capacities instead of classical parties will determine the severity and length of the turbulence. In this context, in order to define the new geopolitics, there is an obligation to study formulas that have not been used before. The future of international order and institutions that will be shaped within the framework of “Micro-nationalism“, “Integration“ and “Unpredictability“ depends on a vision of the world supported by “Power and Justice“.

The most valuable period of lands was the“ Age of Empires". With the “Industrial Revolution“, machinery became more valuable. After all, nation-states were born. The “Information Age“ we are in today is an international system that promotes micro-nationalism. It would not be an exaggeration to predict that the pandemic can accelerate physical confirmations on this matter. It should also be underlined that “Micro-nationalism“ is not about ethnicity (even people who unite around cryptocurrencies can be included within a framework of micro-nationalism) and any organizational difference can be perceived as micro-nationalism.

It is “Critical Thought“ and “Merit“ that provide the basic regulation for success in the competition of the new era. In fact, the power of the “institutional infrastructure“ must be revealed by reinterpreting these parameters, which have been a reference throughout world history, within today's conditions. In addition, at this point in the world's civilization stalemate, the international system, which was constructed after the Second World War - under highly idealistic conditions compared to today - needs to be reinterpreted on the basis of “Power and Justice“. Otherwise it would be unlikely to mention a manageable world or country profile. Again, to support this“ institutional infrastructure", the area of expertise in managing unpredictability and contrasts - even if it develops by dealing with crises in practice - needs to be developed more consciously and in a fictitious way.

The concept of “Power and Ownership of Power“ is changing rapidly, as we have stated for many years. Everything that is conventional; especially the masses of large armies, large crowds, large civil servants and experts, the pandemic will further increase the rate of change of the defense industry capacities, or the institutions that support them (including those producing companies) even more conventional one. It is clear that in a period when information expresses value alone or even outstrips current currencies, a constantly updated search for what the new conventional should be is needed. In this context, the world is entering a period in which the market value of conventional accumulation rapidly melts. This can be a wealth of real estate for people, their vehicles or investment tools and their armies for states. It will be decisive in the new distribution of power to focus on what the new convention is, what its economic counterpart is, and how it should be transformed.

In the business model that will be transformed in the Post-Corona process, to track and deepen the traces of the ecologic breath led by the slowdown in production will ensure that one of the important opportunities arising from the crisis is not wasted. Again, an “expectation management“ capacity that will manage the multidimensional traumas of the pandemic in social layers will be the key to socio-economic security for public administrations.

For all countries, developing their own infrastructure conventionally for the problems that may arise in the interstate systems and continually improve their economy, military etc. based advances are losing their importance with the pandemic. Even before Corona, states with high unemployment rates and economically vulnerable countries are struggling with the threat of collapse of their institutional and systemic infrastructure due to the virus.

It is unknown whether the information and knowledge that was valuable yesterday can maintain its value in the future or even today. In such a turbulent time, it is vital to develop critical strategies in the medium-and long-term plans of the states.

In the global economy, beyond the current corona process, an economic stagnation that will continue in the post-corona period is envisaged. It is considered that the effects of contraction will be long-lasting, with economic contraction occurring at national, regional and global scale. The forecasts are that the global economy will shrink by 4-5 percent this year. It is stated that this level of stagnation and decline in the global economy; will result in stagnation in the assets of international capital and production investments with limited capacity, and in shrinking the capital of foreign subsidiaries.

In this context, it seems that the infrastructures and risk management of the institutions are not sufficient against this negative situation, which has the effect of bringing many more sectors such as manufacturing being in the first place, real estate, commercial and administrative activities; wholesale and retail trade, motor vehicles and logistics; transport, storage and communication; accommodation and food services; arts, shows, entertainment and other services to a standstill.

It is also possible that the current shrinkage and recession make a war-free global correction and could give a breath to the resource crisis in the “debt-money-debt“ spiral. But in this case, the relative welfare sharing in the distribution of debt and capital will continue to deteriorate unbelievably for humanity.

According to recent evaluations by economists, the global economy is estimated to take a knock around 5.5 trillion dollars due to the pandemic. The losses in the derivative markets have reaching tens of trillion dollars and the number of people at risk of loss of employment has approaching 1 billion. It is estimated that the cost of the pandemic to the economies of developed countries will be above the levels of the 1929, 2008-2009 and 1975 recessions experienced in the past periods. It is also among the predictions that the return to economic levels before Corona will occur only in 2023.

The global business model, distribution of power and property, security and defense; will be transformed by the core sectors “Robotics“, “Biotechnology“, “Artificial Intelligence“, “Nanotechnology“, “Space“ and “Strategic Services“ that have been confirmed once again with the pandemic. Again, the crises have made visible the definitions of the concepts of “security“ and “power“ in the new strategic environment that has been persistently expressed for the past 15 years. This situation requires the institutions and their stakeholders operating in the areas of defence, security, diplomacy and socio-economy to re-organize by reinterpreting these new conventional concepts. In this context, it is the most important awareness for countries to see that there is no need to look for enemies inside and out, that the enemy or friend is in the power of institutional infrastructure and at the speed of producing regulation change.

Re-organization requires an important paradigm shift in all aspects of security institutions. The fundamental paradigm change is that security is “everything and nothing.“ Security institutions structured according to the current paradigm; It should implement change and transformation from a multi-dimensional and planned strategic perspective, taking into account socio-economic developments and their reflections on society.

The securitization of each economic sector and the economization of each dimension of the security/defense sector are the basic paradigms that need to be managed together. Now, instead of traditional hierarchy-based organizations and the way they do business, what and how the public ecosystem that is flexible, modular, dynamic, fluid, needs-oriented and has completed its digital transformation is a phoenix for everyone.
 
TASAM Chair Süleyman ŞENSOY, 6th Istanbul Security Conference Opening Speech, 05.11.2020
 
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