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Our publications keep professionals working across the public, private, and academic sectors informed on the most important developments and issues in health security and biosecurity.

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The Biosecurity of Nations

Bradley Smith
Date posted:
August 01, 2004
Publication type:

Foreign Policy 2004 Jul/Aug:87-88

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Biological threats, whether from transnational terrorist networks or from naturally occurring diseases such as SARS, have become a central “homeland security” concern in the United States. Some observers argue that globalization worsens the threat of bioterrorism attacks in particular. Economic liberalization can cause or aggravate social upheaval and economic inequality (which may provide the motivation for such attacks). Faster and cheaper communications and transportation enable the spread of powerful biotechnologies (which provide the means).

Kendall Hoyt of Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and political scientist Stephen G. Brooks of Dartmouth College offer a compelling counterargument in their recent article, “A Double-Edged Sword: Globalization and Biosecurity,” appearing in International Security. While acknowledging its downsides, Hoyt and Brooks contend that globalization has also produced a robust and interconnected biomedical research-and-development (R&D) enterprise essential to effective future biodefense.

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