The focus of this paper is a global civil war being fought not between armies but at the level of existence itself. In order to explore such a war, development and underdevelopment are reinterpreted as a distinction between insured and non-insured life. That is, between populations supported by regimes of social protection as opposed to those expected to be self-reliant. While the complementarity of development and security is commonly asserted, from this perspective the nexus is incomplete without the additional term ‘containment’. The connection then becomes: you cannot have either development or security without containing the circulation of underdeveloped or non-insured life. Since decolonization, containment has been at the heart of an expansive international security architecture that both separates and reproduces the life-chance divide between the developed and underdeveloped worlds. The paper explores the origins, contours and implications of this global civil war, including the place of development and humanitarian assistance within it.