Security as a concept lies at the center of International Relations and as such there is a great controversy surrounding its meaning. Security is valued by most countries in the world and as such countries spend billions of dollars in a desperate attempt to make their countries more secure. According to Barry Buzan as used in Security According to Buzan: a Comprehensive Security Analysis, “Security is taken to be about the pursuit of freedom from threat and the ability of states and societies to maintain their independent identity and their functional integrity against forces of change, which they see as hostile”. The bottom line of security is survival, but definition of security is still contested because there is a major disagreement about whether the main focus of enquiry (or referent) should be on individual, national, or international security (Marianne Stone).
The end of the cold war was unpredictable and as such the realist assumptions of security faced a severe crisis as range of security threats shifted away from primarily military (Fierke, 2007). This brought in other schools of thought about the meaning of security and as a result several concepts of security emerged with the main focus on human security. Human security moves the focus away from states and towards individuals. It emphasizes human rights, safety from violence, and sustainable development (Paris 2001, p. 88). Apart from human security, several other security concepts were also coined by different scholars and organizations and these concepts are: Political, Military, Economic, Societal, and Environmental.
Despite moving the focus away from the tradition or state centric security to other forms of security, state security is still relevance in the contemporary world. It is therefore the main purpose of this to suggest reasons on why the concept of state security still stands out among these other concepts in the provision of security in as far as security and development is concerned. This essay is going to be argued basing on the two schools of thought: realism and liberalism.
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1.1 Back ground information
Modern concepts of national security arose in the 17th century during the Thirty Years War in Europe and the Civil War in England. In 1648, the Peace of Westphalia established the idea that the nation-state had sovereign control not only of domestic affairs such as religion, but also of external security (Kim R. Holmes). The treaties resulted from the big diplomatic congress, thereby initiating a new system of political order in central Europe, later called Westphalian sovereignty, based upon the concept of a sovereign state governed by a sovereign and establishing a prejudice in international affairs against interference in another nation’s domestic business (Peace of Westphalia). From this historical background rose the notion of state security and the responsibility to protect, prevent and to provide for its citizens lies in the hands of the state as citizens look at the state for possible solutions whenever faced with danger.
2.0 Belief description of security concepts
2.1 State security
National security is the safekeeping of the nation as a whole. Its highest order of business is the protection of the nation and its people from attack and other external dangers by maintaining armed forces and guarding state secrets. National security entails both national defense and the protection of a series of geopolitical, economic, and other interests; it affects not only defense policy, but foreign and other policies as well (Kim R. Holmes).
2.2 Human security refers
A concept largely developed at the United Nations after the end of the Cold War. It defines security broadly as encompassing peoples’ safety from hunger, disease, and repression, including harmful disruptions of daily life. Over time, the concept has expanded to include economic security, environmental security, food security, health security, personal security, community security, political security, and the protection of women and minorities (UNDP 1994).
2.3 Political security
The meaning of the term political security is broad and it may include social, military, and environmental aspects, not to mention all other sectors. In some sense, all security is political (Mieczyslaw Malec, 2003)…
2.4 Military security
It is the core of traditional security. This sector is very closely related to the political sector, as the military is the ultimate resource when other tools fail, such as diplomacy, economic sanctions, or trade privileges, for example. Traditionally, armed forces have been a political tool to ensure security for the state from outside threats and all states continue to maintain armed forces, even though other forms of security were introduced (Mieczyslaw Malec, 2003)…
2.5 Economic security
Is the ability of a nation state to maintain and develop the national economy, without which other dimensions of national security cannot be properly managed (Mieczyslaw Malec, 2003)..
2.6 Societal security
It refers to the organizational stability of the state and system of government, and of the ideology that gives the state and the government legitimacy (Mieczyslaw Malec, 2003).
3.0 Relevance of state security
3.1 Protection of the nation and its interests
State security is still relevant in the contemporary world. State security or traditional security is something that is of paramount importance as compared to other forms of security. State security as defined above is concerned with the protection of the country’s borders and its sovereignty. For instance the United States government included in its national security strategy the importance of using state security or its military forces. The US is very much concerned with the Preservation of the safety of the American homeland and protects the integrity of the nation’s domestic institutions and systems vital to that purpose, maintain a global balance of power in favor of America’s security and interests and those of its friends and allies and guarantee the freedom of the seas, upon which both the U.S. and world commerce and economic viability depend. This requires an armed force and effective intelligence capable of successfully completing all of the military missions assigned to it and fulfilling U.S. commitments to defend the security of America’s allies and friends (Kim R. Holmes). All what has been included in the NSS of the US is in line with the realist view that the international system is anarchic and that states strive for survival. Realist argues that, within this anarchical environment, national survival is the core value that needs to be secured. The state is the security referent object, which is according to the neorealist perspective. The state is the one to be protected from the vagaries of an anarchic international system (Morgan, 1997) as used in Anthony Caballero (2016). A state must secure itself first and guarantee its own sovereignty before it can hope to become active and productive in international relations. Without basic security, there is no state and no any other form of security that can exist (Hayes Kelsey, 2013). To achieve other security targets, states must protect their boundaries. As henry Kissinger puts it, the survival of the nation is the primary obligation of states (Dunne & Schmidt, 2001, p. 95) as used in Didem Soykok (2014).
3.2 It supports and strengthens the government
The state has the greater responsibility to protect that means it cannot work without security institutions. As national security refers to the ability to preserve the nation’s physical integrity and territory, states use the military, the police, intelligence agencies, the courts and the collectional services to protect the state in turn these institutions supports and do strengthen governments. ” (Harold Brown, U.S. Secretary of Defense, 1977-1981).
3.3 Defense purposes
Liberalist approach of security gained its peak in the first after the Great War. The most feature of this approach is its optimistic view that relations among states would be peaceful without violence and conflicts. Practically liberalism is impossible as this is evidenced by the collapse of the League of Nations. The USA did not participate in the institution and the objection of the United Nations for American invasion in Iraq in 2003 was rejected by the USA (Didem Soykoy, 2014). In today’s world there is full of competition among states for self-defense. The question is why countries build nuclear weapons in modern world? They do this for self-defense. Against what threats if there are other forms of security? Countries like the USA, France, the UK, Israel, Russia and North Korea; they all possess nuclear weapons. For what purpose? They say for deterrence. North Korea is refusing to give up its nuclear program because it is afraid that the same thing that happened to Libya might also happen to it. The realists are collect, there is no trust in international politics, and that states strive for survival. State security is also seen as states fight terrorism. Countries are spending billions of dollars in the fight against terrorism. All this is happening to secure the sovereignty and territorial integrity of these nations (Zachary Keck, 2013).
Development in the contemporary world will depend on the availability of security and the main provider of security to its citizens is the state itself. There will be no human security if the state cannot manage to protect itself from threats posed by other states. Security is one of the most sensed human needs, is a precondition of development. Dangerousness, insecurity or conflict not only destroys infrastructure, including social infrastructure; it also encourages criminality, deters investment and makes normal economic activity impossible (Ladislav Hofreiter, 2015).
Human security is the concept that rinks security and development and according to Sen (1999), ‘Human security is concerned with reducing and – when possible – removing the insecurities that plague human lives’. People may have the potential to do and be many things, yet this potential may be cut off, or people’s sense of well-being may be seriously adversely affected with high levels of insecurity. Such insecurity includes the possibility of economic vicissitudes, health crises, and injury or death as a result of criminal or political violence. These have a serious negative impact on many people’s lives, and therefore adversely affect the achievement of development. Human security cannot be achieved if there is no state security. State security comprises of the army, the police, the criminal justice system, the intelligence service and the correction service. It is the responsibility of the government to provide security to its citizens. People cannot invest in a country where there is no security (research institute for European and American studies).
To assert that traditional security is no longer relevant in the contemporary era is wrong because traditional security focuses more on states, how states can become more secure as important actor in international politics. There are still conflicts between states today. The rise of china is a phenomenon that may well be understood through traditional security concepts (eNotes).
4.0 A justification for military spending
Defense is a public good; that is, once deterrence is achieved, all citizens benefit from the avoidance of war and no citizen can be excluded from enjoying the benefits. People who could not be excluded from a public benefit would, if given the choice, rationally choose not to contribute toward its cost. In other words, they could “free ride” on the contributions of others. For this reason, defense in all countries is paid for by taxation, a burden that is borne by all citizens, and in all countries the military force considered necessary for deterrence is under the direct and exclusive control of the government.
In the international system, states compete for survival and as such state security is of paramount importance. Its importance cannot be overemphasized because states are still holding to their military powers even though other forms security were introduced in the contemporary world and are being advocated for. Despite the concept of globalization states are still important actors in international relations. The concept of sovereignty is still there. People still look up to their states for solutions. Nuclear proliferation is still going on in a bid to protect the state and one good example is that of North Korea. A country without security according to Hobbes would be nasty and brutish, where people would be killing each other without cause.
Barry Buzan, Ole Wæver, and Jaap de Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder London, 1998, pp. 95.
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