In the report, submitted to Munich forum on international security, there five factors were outlined that influence the prospects of global development. Such a reference to global order of the day on security means that it is those factors that political decision-makers will pay attention to.
There are five threats to global order outlined in the Munich security report: disinformation, migration, Islamic jihadism and also problems related to healthcare and innovations in the military complex. We decided to focus on the first three, as they are the most important for Kazakhstan and the entire Central Asian region.
The fact that the issue of spreading of disinformation has become a global order of the day is understandable. It has to do with the results of American elections, and preparation for elections in Europe. Spreading of fake news, leaking of stolen information and use of automated bots and trolls, are all part of this issue; these tools allow to challenge constructive political discussions by informed people.
The destruction of this environment has become possible due to development of social networks that destroyed traditional media landscape. Social networks had become not just channels for spreading of information, but in fact its sources and facilitators, replacing traditional media.
The irony is in the fact that emergence of these technologies was applauded by proponents of changes, as means of liberalizing social relations. For decades before, the criticism was aimed at monopolistic nature of leading media outlets that formed the order of the day based on the interests of a narrow group. In the end, it turned out there were many more ways to manipulate the media field with many participants, then it is with a small group organized into a large media business. Thus, the biggest hit was dealt to the countries, where the level of trust in media was higher, but very vulnerable.
Munich Security Conference 2017, 18 February 2017, 02:34 pm
Sergey Lavrov – a view from the Press Center
Authors of the report are convinced that Kremlin is behind the informational break-in. As proof, they cite polls in which Vladimir Putin is trusted by 30% of the supporters of Alternative for Germany – a right wing populist German party, and by 31% of leftist constituents. These groups give Putin a higher rating than they do to German chancellor Merkel. In these groups, the alternative media is especially popular.
Surprisingly, this global issue is highly irrelevant in Kazakhstan. Any media coverage unfriendly to the ruling power are easily blocked without much formality or explanation. As for inner, informational alternatives, they are more widely represented by groups in communication rather than social networks. In a sense, they are digital extension of an everyday bazaar.
As such, distribution of information or misinformation in such a way poses a threat to the powers, but only in the times of crisis (banking, political, etc.), which makes national media system even less predictable and thus dangerous. In any case, at the time of crisis, this system will work against the government, since the government’s influence in it is minimal.
Russian influence in Kazakhstan is defined not by alternative media sources, but rather by classical ones, that work through traditional channels. In normal circumstances, they are loyal, but at the same time at a critical moment this situation can change quite radically.
You cannot get rid of migration
Global population of migrants is a widely recognizable part of our modern world, as much as the obvious sign of future changes. If in 1996, the number of displaced people was 37 million, twenty years later their number has risen almost a hundred percent.
Munich Security Conference 2017, 18 February 2017, 07:30 pm
Roundtable “(Forced) Migration: Here To Stay”
Much of this increase is attributed to the events of Arab spring and civil war in Syria. However, despite accepted stereotypes about an army of migrants, storming thriving European continent, the numbers of arrived are not that high. Moreover, having reached the 1.8 million point in 2015, in two quarters of 2016 it added up to only 540 thousand. Even when keeping the rate constant (which is an unlikely scenario, due to falling numbers of new arrivals) this indicates a dramatic reduction.
A lion’s share of migrants settle in developing countries. This status quo is secured by special agreements between Europe and Turkey. As a result, the number of migrants arriving in Greece in 2016 has fallen down to 174 thousand people, compared to 853 thousand in 2015.
Still, the authors of Munich security report are convinced that real problems related to forced migration are still ahead. It will be determined by fundamental factors: a growing inequality in regional development and a presence of surplus of people in Northern Africa. Moreover, political instability and other crises will stay a part of everyday life and will push people towards Europe, NATO expert community states.
There is another important factor – deficit of labor in Europe. In other words, despite a dissatisfaction with the wave of incoming migrants, a demand for cheap labor stays, and the situation can only be changed with radical changes in technological sphere, that will reduce this demand. As events in Holland show, migrant factor not only affects fundamental processes in domestic and social politics of the post-industrial society, but also problems of foreign policy, and without caution may lead to escalation of international conflict.
A problem of migration has a special meaning for Kazakhstan. First of all due to its dual character -there is immigration and there is emigration. Unfortunately these currents move in accordance with socio-economic and political laws. Professionals who have are drawn to economic and political independence move to the north or to the west. They are replaced by migrants from the east and the south.
They are replaced but only in numerical terms. In essence, today the migrant factor results in disintegrating of the country. Also, its effects are very hard to gauge; serious and reliable studies on the matter have been conducted many years ago.
The end of jihadism or not?
Authors of the report are convinced that the times of jihadism are over – at least in the middle east. In its opinion, a coalition of 50 country, led by US has done and continues to do serious blows to the ISIS army in Levant and Iraq, and 75% of its soldiers are now dead. However, in NATO’s opinion the threats in Europe have only risen. At least in the short term. The slogans of “give us the government!” are being replaced by the ones calling for a rebellion, as far as any area goes.
In other words, it is supposed that terrorist attacks in Europe are not just a revenge act for defeat in the Levant and Iraq, but a part of a total jihad. The last time a world has faced such a wave of ideological terror in the early 20th century, when attempted attacks on exploiters happened in all countries and on all continents. Thus, a struggle against terrorist phenomenon is expected to be a long one.
Munich Security Conference 2017, 18 February 2017, 08:33 pm
Panel Discussion “Countering Radical Extremism and Terrorism”
For Kazakhstan, islamist terrorism is a two-sided issue. On one hand, there is an Islamic terrorism in the country – a phenomenon made up by law enforcing institutions used to show their importance and necessity, as well as to solve various political issues. On the other hand, islamists in the country, are a real social group, while terrorism (with arms and technology) is also present not too far from the border. There are no specific ways of fighting this threat and cannot be. This is because, this threat has a theoretical nature and borders cannot be closed as much as some would like to. Thus, there is only one common arsenal – an effective socio-economic policy, an issue ruling powers have a trouble with.