The article discusses “The emerging threat of biological warfare in 21st century. Biological warfare’s history and today. Is COVID 19 a biological weapon? Biological warfare an emerging threat of 21st century.”
The Emerging Threat Of Biological Warfare in 21st Century
According to Steven Block, a professor of biological sciences and applied physics at the University of Stanford, ‘biological weapons are the poor man’s atom bomb.’ He argued that rouge states and terrorist group can use bio-weapons to counter the overwhelming military superiority of America and other nuclear power states. Professor Block is right but not absolutely as there are high chances of the use of bio weapons by world superpower states against one another. Though the use of bio-weapons is prohibited under customary international humanitarian laws and is considered a war crime still biological warfare among world powerful states is the emerging threat of 21st century. There are high chances that rival states may use bio weapons against one another instead of going in direct war.
Some common examples from history when bio weapons were used during war are; in 1346 A.D. Mongols catapult bodies of plague victims over the city wall of Kaffa, Crimean Peninsula. Similarly in 1495 A.D. Spanish sell leprosy germ mixed wine to their French foes to defeat them easily. In 1763 A.D. British distributed blankets of smallpox patients in Native Americans as a war stratagem. In the final months of World War II, Japan had planned to attack United States of America civilians with plague under Operation Cherry Blossom at Night on 22nd September 1945 but the operation could not be executed because Japan surrender on 15 August. Biological weapons are difficult to detect as well as economical and easy to use which makes them appealing to rogue states and terrorists.
‘biological weapons are the poor man’s atom bomb.’
The use of biological weapons against one another has remained an integral part of our history. If it has used in past, it can be used again either in present or in future. In below paragraphs some of the important points have been discussed that describes biological warfare as an inevitable fact.
Recent developments on international level have identified biological warfare an emerging threat of 21st century. Some of these developments include the sudden outbreak of Corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic that has put scientists in difficult situation even today. Nobody knows how the virus emerged and how it spread so quickly throughout the world. Similarly scientists are also unsure whether the virus is manmade or natural born. Many Western countries particularly United States of America (USA) was accusing China amid pandemic for biological attack in the form of COVID-19.
As only powerful and developed states can go in war with other countries to secure their interests and overcome their foe, they cannot go into direct war with their enemies due to the fear of the use of weapons of mass destruction that may prove devastating for the whole world. Similarly there are high chances that a direct war between two prominent states may trigger world war. Therefore to avoid direct war and its destructive consequences, states would move towards the use of biological weapons against one another.
Another luring aspect of biological warfare for states is its limitedness and objectiveness. Biological warfare unlike conventional wars can be fought in a limited area with predefined objectives.
Similarly biological weapons unlike traditional weapons are hard to detect, economical to develop and easy to use. This is what makes them accessible to terrorist group and that is where greater threat comes from.
Despite prohibition on its development and possession through pacts and humanitarian laws a large number of countries carry huge piles of them and they have evolved their industry with the passage of time. Now they have more lethal and advanced bio weapons than before. In November 2020, according to Anadolu Agency report Indonesian army setup a unit of biological warfare which will be trained for dealing with biological attacks in the country. This is an obvious example of how states are either directly or indirectly preparing themselves for biological war.
The threat of biological warfare was felt more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic as majority of the Western countries particularly the United States was accusing China for the spread of the virus. She believed that the later state has spread the virus with a plan to attack U.S. economy and get economical benefits out of the pandemic.
Both United States and Soviet Union after World War II launched full scale bio weapons manufacturing program that included the development of aerosol sprays capable of delivering viral and bacterial agents by plane or ballistic missile. However in 1969 U.S.A. President Richard Nixon through an executive order unilaterally and unconditionally ended America’s bio weapons program and by 1972 all U.S. stock piles were destroyed. The same year 160 nations including United States, Russia, Iran, Iraq and North Korea signed a treaty banning all biological and chemical weapons. Sadly the 1972 treaty could not achieve its objective as many states signatory to the treaty have active bio weapons program even today.
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