At the end of 2014, the World Health Organisation reported new figures of 7,905 deaths and 20,206 infections from the current ebola crisis. Almost all of these were in the three West African states of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Although these figures included suspected and probable as well as confirmed cases of ebola, the WHO’s restrictive definitions – which had led to criticism earlier in the year that it had underestimated the scale of the problem and been slow to react – suggest that numbers may be significantly higher. Nor do these figures begin to indicate the social and economic costs of the disease in these three countries.
My main long-term research interest is in the critical analysis of evolving drivers of international insecurity, examining the interaction between four factors:
- increasing socio-economic divisions and majority marginalisation,
- the impact of improvements in education and communications in aiding radical empowerment,
- the effects of anthropogenic impacts on global ecosystem homeostasis, and
- the maintenance of the current dominant control paradigm through rigorous security postures.
December 2014 was marked by a familiar set of headlines. The issue was whether women could serve in close armed combat in the British military. The headlines either trumpeted the imminent advent of women into frontline fighting or quoted a variety of pundits who worried either about ‘unit cohesion’ or women’s physical capacities, or even whether women may lack the ‘killer instinct’.