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Pandemics and Peace, written by William J. Long, examines and discusses the surveillance of disease networks in the Middle East, Mekong Basin and East Africa. The major aim is to ascertain the prevalence of interstate cooperation in places of national vulnerability which happen in nations which have histories of conflict. The book also seeks to ascertain ways through which private-public networks present health services and the factors which impede or facilitate legitimate and effective governance. Pandemics and Peace, therefore comprises insight and information that has timely and wise suggestions. The author gives a detailed analysis of organizations in three regions which carry out surveillance programs of infectious diseases cooperatively through the use of relevant theories and solid research. Basing on the international relations theory, the book explains ways in which institutions, ideas and interests can be integrated in order to provide interstate cooperation even in environments which are unfavorable.

Pandemics and Peace elicits working propositions on transitional governance on what creates new forms of private-public governance to be legitimate and effective and establishes frameworks that are analytical for practitioners who may generally be grappling with problems concerning transnational while at the same time calling for further scholarly investigation. The author explains that the spread of man-made biological and naturally occurring threats like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), Swine Flue and Avian Flu present a humanitarian and grave security threat to regions and to the whole world in general. Long argues that political and global economic stability could become victims of this pandemic. In addition, he explains that the capacity of governments in the world could be overwhelmed in meeting their essential duties as the provision of health continue to be part of the social contract between the government and its people and as it becomes a public good. These circumstances will therefore lead to an increase of transnational flows especially of pathogens, thus making the countries to be more stressed. Weak nations are bound to fail politically or economically leading to regional instability and the introduction of human rights violation and terrorism grounds.

The promise of establishing cooperation via regional disease detection, surveillance and response is just as great as the peril. The author argues that globalization is good because it enhances rapid responses towards challenges in health through quick mobilization of health personnel, supplies and medicines through deployment of information technology for sharing of effective health practices and diseases surveillance across countries in the world. The big question is whether the unnoticed cooperation within countries having a history of conflicts like for instance the Mekong Delta, the Middle East and in some parts of Africa could be the lead edge of peace in traditional countries. Pandemics and Peace is therefore animated with questions why and how this kind of cooperation has been possible across borders in these regions.

Pandemics and Peace develops an explanation which is theoretically and empirically grounded to illustrate how institutions, interests and ideas can work together towards the establishment of international cooperation. It is through this book that the challenges encountered in fostering transnational cooperation in global issues and other crucial areas like environmental challenges, human rights protection, counterterrorism, resource management and economic assistance can be well addressed.    

Pandemics and peace clearly defines the meaning of transnational governance as being institutional arrangements which are beyond the nation state and through which private actors like TNCs (Transnational Corporations) and INGOs (International Non-Governmental Organizations) involve themselves in mixed private-public policy networks in order to provide common goods directly and collectively and alleviate problems through the provision of services by setting and implementing rules. The United States, being a leader in both information technology and medical technology is better placed in strengthening of international public health systems and supporting regional health cooperation indirectly as a means of defending its own population against the infectious diseases which start in the developing world and as a positive and peaceful dimension in international health diplomacy.  

In my opinion, the book has clear suggestions on how transnational governance and interstate cooperation in health can be achieved by policy makers and practitioners who are armed with a better understanding of these issues. This promotes better and peaceful relations in health and other areas that have a shared concern among the enemies. In addition, I agree with the author’s views that American leadership could be presented with unparalleled opportunities in world wide public health which could further foster regional stability and cooperation, deepen the bilateral ties and burnish the country’s image globally. It is therefore crucial for the United States economic and security interests to be easily catered for through emphasizing the need for enhancement of strong foreign capacities in controlling of infectious diseases.

I also support the author’s assertion that nations will normally engage and participate actively in transnational initiatives so as to gain interests which they could not otherwise have secured on their. The reasons which make the interests or pursuits to serve cooperation include the clear self interest of each and every member to take control of the communicable diseases which are trans-boundary. In addition, the control of infectious diseases is a common good which creates external consumption that the treatment or prevention of an infectious disease does not only benefit one individual but it benefits other people by reducing the risk of such people towards infection and vice versa.                  

In conclusion, the United States of America should go a little further in improving its foreign capacity in the surveillance of infectious diseases and its response. America cannot effectively exercise its influence if it fails to engage itself towards the threat posed by the outbreak of infectious diseases and seizing chances of enduring global collaborations in public health. The public health systems should be generally strengthened and tendencies of funding the treatment of only a few diseases avoided so as to quickly responding towards emerging and existing challenges. Policy suggestions and recommendations calling for further research should be further encouraged to make the prevalence of infectious diseases to be minimized. Overarching coordinating mechanisms should be established across all the major agencies and plans for the creation of an interagency and integrated structure put in place. There should be harmonization of major agencies in all agencies towards shaping the international health policy to effectively cope with infectious diseases.

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