Security - IR
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definition of security
a state's ability to defend itself against external threats
Traditional realist approach to security - states
assumption that states are constrained in their choices by an international system that is inherently anarchic
- the prime concern for a state is survival
- although alliances, states are responsible for their own survival
Realism bullet points
- The international system is anarchic.
- There is no actor above states capable of regulating their interactions; states must arrive at relations with other states on their own, rather than it being dictated to them by some higher controlling entity.
- States are the most important actors.
- All states within the system are unitary, rational actors
- States tend to pursue self-interest.
The primary concern of all states is survival.
Realist perspective - Hobbes
state of nature categorized by a permanent system of anarchy
- state of nature is a highly dangerous enviroment
- therefore, no security
anarchic system of nature most insecure where the power prevail over the weak. Though powerful must watch backs
Realists like Mearsheimer
- conceptualize IR as a "constant state of war"
- - perspective highlights that states cannot trust each other
"If a state cannot survive it cannot pursue other goals"
traditional realism explains (the old) Security Dilemma
- any action to "enhance" security will have implications
- if a state increases its security, others will feel insecure - ongoing cycle
- eg intl arms race in Cold War
- Realism was a dominant paradigm in the Cold War (nuclear escalation and bipolar division)
New Security Dilemma?
the end of bipolarity and the Cold War saw security as a concept widen
- more than just physical state security
- included more contemporary concepts such a societal and human security
definition of human security
- an emerging paradigm for understanding global vulnerabilities
- focus shifts to protecting individuals
The Contempory Security Agenda
European Security Strategy 2003 and US Security Strategy 2010 form basis of security policy
seem to converge to some degree thus creating a "Western" conception of what matters
emphasis on terrorism, proliferation of WMD and regional conflicts (with a focus on the Middle East)
European Security Strategy 2003
identifies global challenges and threats to security
promotes an international order based on multilateralism
US Security Agenda 2010
issued by Obama administration
advocated increased engagement with Russia, China, India
nuclear proliferation and terrorism as priorities
Liberalism - Nye
and Keohane accept the international system is in a state of anarchy
But believe international co-operation is possible and would mitigate the negative effects of anarchy
Liberalism - concept of "complex interdependence"
concept coined by Keohane, a liberal institutionalist
- resulting from co-operation
- prevents states from going to War with each other
the concept of transnationalism and an empirical example
entails that IR is about more than just state interaction
heightened interconnectivity between people
cross-border co-operation that recedes the economic and social significance of borders
- eg European intergration - peace project
- BUT realists - self interest (especially in the realms of "low politics")
concept of Positive Peace
- concept by Galtung
- peace not to be define negatively as the absence of violence
instead an emphasis on the restoration of relationships and managing conflict positively
inspired concept of human security
a potential power tool - evident the agenda is not given naturally
declaring something as a "security matter" politicises the issue, sense of urgency
legitimizes exceptional measures
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