Instruments of Peace: The Use of Health for National Security

By Rubenstein, Leonard S. | Harvard International Review, Fall 2011 | Go to article overview

Instruments of Peace: The Use of Health for National Security


Rubenstein, Leonard S., Harvard International Review


As the hunt For Osama bin Laden began to focus on the now infamous compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the CIA desperately sought confirmation that he was there. The agency came up with an idea: hire a local doctor to conduct a fake vaccination campaign, which it hoped could lead to obtaining blood samples from bin Laden's grandchildren that could be analyzed for a DNA match to bin Laden. One could dismiss the campaign as just another imaginative tactic used by the CIA in the search; the fact that it involved a population health ruse could be of no more significance than had the CIA hired agents to sell lottery tickets door to door in the neighborhood. But the selection of a vaccination campaign may not have been mere happenstance, just another case example of the increasing use of a health intervention to advance a specific national security objective.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A clue to such thinking emerged after the United Kingdom's Guardian revealed the ruse. After at first refusing to comment, a senior administration official told United Press International that it had been intended as "an actual vaccination campaign conducted by real medical professionals." The statement was only half true. Medical workers were recruited to organize and conduct a vaccination initiative to provide real vaccines for hepatitis B, but the campaign nevertheless was fraudulent from the start as it failed to follow standard immunization procedure, which requires a follow up vaccine that was never administered.

Health and Diplomacy

The relationship among health, national security, and foreign policy has recently gained attention from scholars as well as diplomats. The most obvious use of diplomacy in the health context has been to prevent cross-border infectious disease transmission, and to protect economic interests of domestic corporations in connection with health products. Since the SARS epidemic, diplomatic efforts have strengthened international and regional cooperation to limit transmission of infectious diseases through the World Health Organization's international health regulations (WHO). The negotiations addressed traditional areas of state concern, especially whether outbreak reporting would continue to be constrained by state sovereignty or rather would yield to a more global approach to information dissemination. This past year, further agreements were reached at the World Health Assembly to address sticky issues about sample sharing and access of poor countries to vaccines. Other contentious subjects of international health negotiations include the marketing of tobacco, and the effort to reconcile patent rights of manufacturers of drugs for HIV/AIDS and other diseases predominant in poor countries with the legitimate demand for affordable life-saving drugs.

In other circumstances, diplomacy has been invoked not to resolve disputes pitting economic interests against health, but simply to advance health, both for its own sake and to promote the emergence of well-governed states that can serve the needs of their populations. In 2009, the National Intelligence Council issued a report on Global Health as a Security Issue, arguing that chronic, non-communicable diseases, neglected tropical diseases, maternal and child mortality, malnutrition, sanitation and access to clean water, and availability of basic healthcare were significant to US national security. In Nigeria, for example, diplomatic tools were invoked to overcome politically-inspired resistance to a polio vaccination program. An effective health system contributes to long-term economic growth and, arguably, political stability.

In all these cases, health is seen as an independent good, and diplomacy is used to promote it or reconcile it against other interests. But there is another variation on health diplomacy where health benefits are not the primary focus. Health interventions are used as a means of accomplishing other national objectives. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Instruments of Peace: The Use of Health for National Security
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.