IV. On Managing the Zombie Threat
This quick review of the theoretical paradigms reveals some interesting findings about the world in the age of zombies. There is some continuity across the different theories.
For example, most approaches predict that the living dead would have an unequal effect on different governments. Powerful states would be more likely to withstand an army of flesh-eating ghouls. The plague of the undead would join the roster of threats that disproportionately affect the poorest and weakest countries.
The different international relations theories also provide a much greater variety of possible outcomes than the Hollywood zombie canon. Traditional zombie narratives in film and fiction are quick to get to the apocalypse. The theoretical approaches presented here, however, suggest that in the real world there would be a vigorous policy response to the menace of the living dead. Realism predicts an eventual live-and-let-live arrangement between the undead and everyone else. Liberals predict an imperfect but nevertheless useful counterzombie regime. Neoconservatives see the defeat of the zombie threat after a long, existential struggle. These scenarios suggest that maybe, just maybe, the zombie canon's dominant narrative of human extinction is overstated.
To be sure, disastrous outcomes are still possible. Bureaucratic dysfunction could trigger a total collapse in state authority. Public opinion and interest-group pressure could make multilateral cooperation more difficult. A societal breakdown could also trigger a world in which the biological distinctions between humans and zombies would be immaterial -- they would both act like traditional zombies. Still, these are possible outcomes; whether they are the likely outcomes is another question altogether.
In the end, what I am suggesting is that with careful planning and a consistent approach, the zombie threat can be managed. The purpose of this essay is not to make a policy recommendation or suggest that one approach is superior to another. It is up to the reader to exercise his or her own judgment in determining what to do with this information. Indeed, interested and intelligent students of world politics should use their own brains -- before the zombies do.