Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Defence and security / / Articles
Rethinking the concept of security in the context of global political processes
Material posted: Publication date: 02-02-2012

The next day after the beginning of NATO aggression against Serbia in June 1999, the UN Secretary General (at the time was Kofi Annan) made a statement to the newspaper "Le Monde": "the Man should be in the center of it all. Even the concept of sovereignty was designed to protect the individual who is the raison d'être of the state and not Vice versa. It becomes unacceptable to see how countries are violating the rights of its citizens under the pretext of sovereignty." In his speech, Kofi Annan has tried to Express the main idea of the doctrine of human security.

The Foundation of the doctrine based on the security of people is the creation of the international Committee of the red cross in 1864 ... In the twentieth century continued its development by creating the UN, the birth of international human rights law and the significant development of international humanitarian law.

For the first time the term “human security” was officially used in 1994 in the report on human development, the Development Programme of the United Nations. The report insisted on the conceptual transition from nuclear security (in other words, the military) to human. "For most people, according to the report – the sense of insecurity arises more from worries caused by everyday life, rather than because of the likelihood of apocalyptic events". Thus, human security focuses not on the territories and population.

The concept of "human security" includes both economic security (absence of poverty), food (with free access to food), health (access to health care and protection from diseases), environmental safety (prevention of damage to the environment), personal (physical protection against torture, violence, crime, drugs, suicide and even traffic accidents), social (survival of traditional cultures and physical security of ethnic groups) and political security (enjoyment of civil rights and liberties)[1].

Human security, at least in theory divides the concept of "individual security" and "security of state". The relationship between them was unchanged in the Westphalian concept of international relations.

The state ceases to be the sole legitimate defender of the society. International law, giving its strong support to the cause of human security, allows state interference in areas that are traditionally sovereign. What are the main contradictions between the most effective promoting human security and respect for state sovereignty?


I. extension of the concept of security: visions from state security to human security vision

The twentieth century was the century of extremism and one of the bloodiest in history. This is due to the fact that during the last century only military threat was seen as real (e.g., the possibility of invasion, or fear of attack) the preservation of the state, national independence and territorial integrity of the state. Military components are always in the focus of security concerns as they relate to the nature of international structure, which is based on the state. In international relations a state is defined by three constitutive elements: population, territory and government. In the absence of effective control over territory, state sovereignty is not recognized in legislation. In the military sphere, security depends on decisions of States, as they already largely usurped the right of the legitimate use of force. We can name at least two reasons for this.

First, through the formation of national armies, members of the United Nations created an international system in which for three hundred years the security is based on protecting the territory, population and resources deemed necessary for their survival. In the absence of the parent body, in other words, in an anarchic environment, States have to deal with each other or compete in the field of security. Secondly, in the twentieth century, the state remains the basic unit whose boundaries, political power and way of functioning are determined or are disputed by other security actors (governments, groups, clans or non-governmental organizations). Internal and external components of the state are often subject to disputes in matters of security.

Thus, the Westphalian system and the state are at the center of the political security aspect.

According to the realist concept of international relations always exist in the shadow of "tomorrow's" war, so that a state cannot (and should not rely) on someone other than yourself to ensure their safety; this is the principle AutoSave, also apply here the concept of "self-help", formulated the follower of the structural realism of Kenneth Non -[2]. Each state aimed to increase its military capabilities to counter the risk of attack by other States. In this case, any military training makes other States fear that in the end it may be directed against them, so they can never be sure what its true intentions, decided to conduct military training, are only defensive (ready to ensure your survival in a hostile environment), and not offensive. This strategic interaction gives rise to what Herbert Butterfield calls the "fear of Hobbes", and John Herz-the "security dilemma"[3]. In fact, after the end of the Second world war, this dilemma was encapsulated in the arms race of the two greatest powers at that time: the U.S. and the USSR. The second scenario is unfolding according to the realists, given that each state interprets its own measures as defensive and measures of others as potentially dangerous to do, we have seen in political ties between the US and Iraq.

All military threats, in turn, can be very different, but at its core are quite classical: aggression and territorial dominance, rivalry for power, the projection of force, coercion, increasing military capabilities, the proliferation of weapons, including bacteriological, chemical and nuclear. It is in these categories remains the value of military strategy, even in the context of globalization and interdependence, where the authority and legitimacy of the state are subjected to pressures, which add to its destruction.

Everything is complicated when we talk about the changes of the threats are no longer military, but can involve significant risks for public authorities and Westphalian norms: in particular, the fragmentation of society and social violence, migration flows, drug trafficking, terrorism, revolution, and dissemination of information.

The military component is always present in the relations between countries, because they are always associated with potential or actual use of force, as evidenced by the Gulf war in 1991, the war in Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003 and Lebanon in 2006, or an undeclared NATO war against Serbia in 1999. They are located in the security center, as can turn one or more threats to an object of law and the survival of the state: for example that has to do with its borders, position and power, its geostrategic interests and values, who want to defend and promote its leaders in the international arena.

Human security considers a new world order based on global humanism. The main goal is the satisfaction of basic human needs in the context of globalization and interdependence. This delicate balance requires, first, combining a variety of behaviors, consumption and ideals around universal values and, secondly, to recognize and respect the diversity of different identities and cultures. Human security is mainly characterized in that as the object of analysis it is not the protection of the state and to protect individuals, as well as the fact that threats come from both the outside and inside States. However, as noted by Seyom brown: "to set the world right with the world still operates under the established pattern of "everyone for himself", while a threat to individual security have become increasingly transnational"[4]. Tyne threats have no boundaries and for this reason the state needs to change the international security system to deal with such issues as: the government's weak States collapse, pandemic, climate change, poverty, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, transnational crime threats often appear not one, but several. For example, changes in the environment, affecting climate, the ozone layer, related to the process of deforestation or desertification and are a threat to socio-economic balance of the States. Such dependence is observed in countries gnosarch Africa and Western Asia.

The goal set by the United Nations from the point of view of security, is a world free from fear. To achieve this goal, we must take into account the new international situation with the reduced number of interstate conflicts and increasing inter-ethnic. In his Millennium report entitled "We the peoples - the Role of the United Nations in the 21st century" UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed that in 90th years of internal conflicts have claimed the lives of over five million people. There were also mass migrations, refugees, destruction of infrastructure and ecological changes, many of the events that violate the fundamental rights of millions of people and impeded the creation of peace as a prerequisite for building a better world[5].

All this means that there is a new threat perceptions, different from the classical ones, and provided solutions and often seem archaic. In the typology of conflict, controlling the spread of cold weapons becomes as important as controlling the spread of nuclear weapons. Political and social developments in the country or region, do not leave indifferent those who monitor their development at the other end of the world. Economic decisions made in one region have a direct impact on the growth and stability of economic policy in other regions, such as the global financial crisis that began in developed countries in North America, but eventually affected most of the countries in the world. All this highlights significant changes in the fundamental concept of sovereignty and demonstrates the country's limited ability to solve their main tasks. Policy coordination and the establishment of regulations and international regimes, based on shared values, are essential for the emergence of a new international system for the twenty-first century.

The international system has changed dramatically in less than a decade. The number of state actors involved in the international institutional system has increased at least 4 times since the creation of the United Nations in 1945.We have seen the emergence of new actors with increasing influence in international relations – at the moment, not only international organizations can influence policy, but a number of transnational forces represented in transnational corporations and non-governmental organizations.


II.Human security and the violation of the sovereignty

The state is increasingly challenged by old and new players, which leads to a redefinition of identity and belonging of individuals and societies, accustomed to the unit "nation state". Thus, these actors can be subnational: mercenaries, militias, clans, ethnic groups, minorities who challenge state power; and at the same time can be transnational: multinational corporations, groups, humanitarian aid, religious movements; and supranational: international and regional organizations. Thus, a world consisting of States, is the struggle for power, at least, has to do with "global civil society".

According to Jessica Mathews, President, Carnegie endowment for international peace, we see nothing, as the change of power in the international system. Never in the history, she said, non-state actors have not reached such a high level of influence. The number, role and influence of public organizations has increased dramatically in recent decades, becoming participants, which often react faster and better than the state to meet the needs of individuals and communities. In particular, in the field of non-military security their presence and influence suggest that "the relative power of States will continue to decline. The United Nations may simply cease to be first port of call for problem solving"[6] - expressed Matthews. However, she acknowledges that this distribution of power in post-Westphalian system may cause new conflicts, "such is the trend towards deinstitutionalization, privatization of violence and use of armed forces - a growing trend that is very alarming for the future of democracy"[7].

Who most of these new actors? First, individuals who promote certain ideas and values, can influence the future of society (people can speculate about the papacy, the owner of CNN or Microsoft), then ethnic groups and separatists, who, among other things, require territorial, but especially political reconfiguration of certain States, then in Diaspora and transnational religious movements, and humanitarian and economic, which compete with government in solving problems and issues, to justify, therefore, their intervention. The rapid growth in the number of participants who are deprived of a specific territory, reflects the current fragmentation of state power. Even regional groupings (economic and political) point to the transformation of traditional States into a new supranational units.

For visual perception, we can more thoroughly introduce one of these "non-state units" that escapes state control, on the example of piracy. Maintenance in the era of globalization, the practice of piracy is still profitable: the number of attacks is growing, from one hundred in 1992 to almost 500 in 2005, trade in goods obtained by piracy is estimated at $ 600 billion dollars a year; not only the frequency but also the intensity and the tools used during the attacks, causing a loss of about $ 16 billion per year, buy-outs, required for the return of the ships to easily cross the border into the us $ 100,000; finally, some marine areas become very risky for the conduct of navigation and disrupt trade (e.g., The Strait of Malacca, where 40% of attacks, and the coast of Somalia have become very dangerous in the absence of a monitoring and assertion of sovereignty by the government of Mogadishu). Actually, piracy is currently at its highest peak in history. Some believe that the marine equivalent of 11 September, terrorist attack of pirates is completely eliminated (for example, the seizure of an oil ship and its destruction in the course of the river or essential to the world economy trade port).

Human security embodies the desire the intervention of the international community, despite the state sovereignty, when people are in distress or danger. Thus, there has been much talk, since the 90-ies of XX century, the right or duty to intervene. "When people are at risk, assistance to victims must take precedence over any other principle, any other concern"[8]. The intervention has been codified several times by the UN Security Council in cases of assistance when the occasion requires, a particular state could not change it, as it was in Cambodia, Somalia, Mozambique, Haiti, Sierra Leone, the former Yugoslavia. From now on the human rights violations sanctioned, as evidenced by the creation of ad hoc international tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia, which opened the way for the establishment of the International Criminal Court. Moreover, humanitarian intervention is accompanied by the assertion of the universal rights of man (codified in the UN Declaration 1948). This statement is a source of several important attempts of democratization of the States when they violated human rights (in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s, in Ukraine in early 2000). After the military intervention against Serbia and the events connected with the accession of East Timor to independence movement, Kofi Annan presented to the UN a completely radical doctrine: "..nothing in the Charter of the United Nations is unable to prevent recognized that there are rights beyond borders [...] Her mission extends to the protection of human dignity in each state, and, if necessary, as the Charter allows it - against States"[9].

One of the consequences of the right of intervention and humanitarian intervention is right much more often than usual to resort to the threat or use of force, this time to achieve the humanitarian purposes against the will of governments or warring factions. The system of human security, therefore, requires an increase in military intervention of States and international institutions to achieve humanitarian ideal. Ironically, power in the service of justice inevitably increases the use of armed force. For lawyer Michael Glennon "this new intervention is based neither on law, nor on justice, but on power alone. If it serves the cause of justice, the law will obey"[10]. Humanitarian intervention demands a military strategy with the contradictions and compromises that flow from it.

Despite its noble goals, humanitarian intervention cannot avoid pursuing profits calculations, compromises and difficult decisions that any use of force for political purposes. In addition, some examples show the boundaries and weaknesses of humanitarian intervention. Premature withdrawal of international forces from Somalia or Haiti have left as a result these States in an extremely difficult position. However, the choice to the original strategy of coercion of Serbia (by bombing), and not the strategy of the occupation of Kosovo (by ground force) is still a matter of debate about such methods of "protection" to come to the aid of human security.

It should be noted that not all intervention of mankind can ensure the restoration of durable peace. Mode human security also requires increased multilateral civil procedures, the international community is not yet sufficiently organized. Ultimately, these interventions are multiplying in a political context, where very often they influence the strategy of conflict.

Civil society and, primarily, non-governmental organizations depend on external assistance and national strategies for the successful implementation of their hostilities. Although NGOs exist already in large numbers (30000) and play an increasing role in the international arena, they depend more than ever on government funding and resources. Actually better control of their work by States and international institutions is probably desirable to avoid even greater anarchy management. A proposal to create civil intervention of the "white helmets" by analogy with the military peacekeepers, the blue helmets, is an illustration of this problem[11].

The development of the relationship between human security and sovereignty (non-interference) and between people and States in the discourse on human security is part of a broader revision of the concept of sovereignty, this process is performed in contemporary politics worldwide. Although critical scholars acknowledge that the doctrine of absolute sovereignty and the right to non-interference in the internal Affairs led to human rights violations and countless tragedies, it is simply inappropriate to say that all evil will be eliminated by the crediting of common law on humanitarian intervention (military or otherwise). The choice of how to treat certain problems of human security illustrates the dilemma inherent in the development of the concept of security centered on the man, in a world where the state has the final say in choosing priorities.



[1] Lembras Jean-François. La sécurité humaine: une nouvelle conception des relations internationales, L'harmattan, Paris, 2001, p.113

[2] Dario Batistella. Théories des relations internationales, Presses de Sciences Po, Paris, 2003: “La sécurité”: p. 437

[3] Lembras Jean-François. La sécurité humaine: une nouvelle conception des relations internationales, L'harmattan, Paris,2001, p.78

[4] Myriam Gervais. Sécurité Humaine: Approche centrée sur les problèmes structurels, Discussion Paper No. 94, Centre Developing-Area Studies, Montreal, Quebec, 2002, p. 23

[5] David Charles-Philippe. La guerre et la paix. Approches contemporaines de la sécurité et de la stratégie, 2-ème éd. revue et augmentée, Presse de Sciences Po, Paris, 2006, p.33

[6] Myriam Gervais. Sécurité Humaine: Approche centrée sur les problèmes structurels, Discussion Paper No. 94, Centre Developing-Area Studies, Montreal, Quebec, 2002, p.26

[7] Myriam Gervais. Sécurité Humaine: Approche centrée sur les problèmes structurels, Discussion Paper No. 94, Centre Developing-Area Studies, Montreal, Quebec, 2002, p. 27

[8] Dario Batistella. Théories des relations internationales, Presses de Sciences Po, Paris, 2003: “La sécurité”: p. 438

[9] Francisco Rojas Aravena. La sécurité humaine: un nouveau concept de sécurité au XXIe siècle, p.56

[10] Francisco Rojas Aravena. La sécurité humaine: un nouveau concept de sécurité au XXIe siècle, p.61

[11] Lembras Jean-François. La sécurité humaine: une nouvelle conception des relations internationales, L'harmattan, Paris, 2001, p.83

Author: Ekaterina Pechenkina

Tags: security , threat

RELATED MATERIALS: Defence and security
Возрастное ограничение