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Study: AIDS is a
bigger global threat than terrorism

Study: AIDS is a
bigger global threat than terrorism

A study released this week by the Council on Foreign Relations says that the global AIDS epidemic is a greater threat to international security than terrorism, with countries hit hard by the disease likely to experience severe social, economic, and political unrest that could easily spill outside their borders, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

"The mutual vulnerability of weak and strong has never been clearer," wrote Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow at the council and a Pulitzer Prize-winning health writer. "The security of the most affluent state can be held hostage to the ability of the poorest state to contain an emerging disease." In an interview with the Post-Gazette, Garrett called AIDS "an enormous stressor that is aggravating laundry lists of underlying tensions in developing, devolving, and failed states."

National security advisors in Washington disagreed with the report's findings. James Robbins of the National Defense University called AIDS a health issue, not a security threat. "Just because a disease kills lots of people doesn't make it a security threat," he told the Post-Gazette, noting that two of the countries hardest hit by AIDS in Africa--South Africa and Botswana--are among the continent's most stable countries.

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