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While inter-State security challenges remain relevant, the most significant trend in international security is the growth of radical and extreme movements that challenge existing centres of power, the most notable examples being Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Conventional military responses have resulted in fifteen years of war, starting in Afghanistan and extending to Iraq, Libya, Syria and several other countries, with hundreds of thousands of people killed and millions displaced. These ‘revolts from the margins’ will increase as worldwide trends towards greater socio-economic divisions and environmental limits to growth intensify, especially as climate disruption weakens fragile economies, causing greater marginalisation. As extreme groups evolve and especially when they control territory, their capacity to develop new weapons systems will expand, including the potential to develop and deploy chemical and biological weapons. In such circumstances, there is an urgent need to reconsider the current security paradigm, not least to focus far more attention on WMD control.

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