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The Definition of Security According to Stephen Walt

Discuss about the Confronting Lingering Forces of Conflict.

According to the definition of Stephen Walt,” Security can be observed as the study of war and statesmanship and is essentially confined to the analysis of the state According to his opinion; the state forms the center of the security studies. So the idea that security merely means the use of military force and power to is unsuitable to the ideologies of the present era (Coates, 2014).

This essay attempts to contradict the topic by arguing that the role of security in the international relations far beyond the use of threat and power.

Security can be viewed as the freedom from threat and the capability of the states to maintain their   independent recognition and functional integrity against the transformations which they observe as hostile. The final limit of security is survival and it comprises of considerable range of apprehensions about the circumstances of survival (Englehart, 2016).

Security has always been viewed as the derivative and synonym for power .Security can be categorized at three levels viz. individual, state and international levels.  Military threats can affect the security of the state on several levels. It can create a great influence on all the components of the state.  It can question the responsibility of the governments of the state to safeguard its citizens. The political threats represent a constant concern for the state so that nobody can weaken the political entity of the state. It can be observed as the competition in the various ideologies in the state as well as an attack on the nation itself (Buzan, 2015). 

Security is often studied as a threat posed to the survival of citizens of the state but in reality it means absence of   threats. It means the probability of staying away from dangers or feeling safe within a country. Security itself is freedom from war which is coupled with higher expectations that the result of the war shall not be defeat in any case.

The concept of national security implies that it is the capability of the state to stand erect in times of aggression. The international security can be determined with the help of internal and external security of the different social systems. Social security can be defined as internal security. The function is to  make  sure that the political and economic power are adequate for the security of the  state and for the survival  of the social  systems and a suitable degree  of public security( Srikanth ,2014).

Security Beyond Military Force and Power

So it has been observed that security comprises of military aggression and intensifying the threats. They can pose a great amount of damage as they give unnecessary appearance of power and masculinity which is useless. Rather the word security depicts an absolute condition of peace and wellbeing of individuals. Hence, it can be viewed as a natural right and utilized to support the assumption that it forms the basis of the individual right of life, liberty  and  wellbeing  of the individuals.

The traditional approaches deal with conventional ideologies involving violence and destruction which can pose a threat to the nation. It includes war or aggression by another countries, civil wars and emergency situations. These ideologies of security were more relevant during the cold war and the world wars.

In the traditional approach the security can be viewed as a military phenomenon as it has the responsibility to safeguard its nation from the dangers posed by the forces of the other states. The traditional ideology of security was mostly about recognizing the enemies which posed a threat to the state and removing them by acquiring more military power or by entering into a treaty with the other states   in order to acquire the required force or power . It implied that the only way to be secure is to engage in war with the hostile countries and conquer them through force (Patrascu   and Wani , 2015).

So, the states strived to acquire  and retain  the necessary military strength  with their efforts  which might be threating for the  other states .The states  focused on enhancing their  capabilities  by  increasing their power  since it was the  sole way  for them to survive. They concentrated on the power politics which was restricted only to the military affairs and does not monitor the economic and other issues which required regulation. For such states, power comprised of some vital components such as technical advancements and military and economic strength of the state and territory.

On the other hand, the critical theoretical approaches to international security amount to all the non-conventional issues such as environmental problems such as pollution, global warming and change in the climatic conditions. The further aspects of security can be seen in terms of terrorism and poverty .In terms of human security, it shifts the focus of security from state to the individuals. There are two ideas in human security -freedom from fear and freedom from want (Tziarras, 2011).

Categorization of Security at Different Levels

The critical theoretical approaches of security in international relations pertain to the socioeconomic and political aspects of the country. It may include the scarcity of resources and inconsistent migration. The threats related to changes in the climatic  conditions  caused  by the human initiated turbulences   to the natural resources  of the states and societies  thereby causing irreparable losses to them (Davies,2014).

The trade in illicit drugs is the greatest economic, societal and political threat to the   security of the nations in the present era. It poses a danger to the fabric of the society through addition, disease and crime. It also worsens the situation in the weak nations through disturbing their economic and political functioning. It is also related to terrorism; hence it has become an increasing danger to the regional and international security of the nations (Yalvaç, 2017).  

So, in order to deal with the problems confronted by various states in the modern era, the international community has been executing operations related to peace building, state building, peace keeping, and economic development. Hence, there is an integration of the traditional and critical theoretical approaches of security in international relations in the modern era.

The techniques of modern warfare utilized the concept, techniques and methodology which were used after World Wars I and II. The nations used the highly progressive information technologies to prove their worthiness on the battle ground. The war in the modern era includes destruction of the civilians and their infrastructures of the hostile country so that the home country can demolish the capability of the enemy to involve in warfare.

With the innovation of nuclear weapons, there has been a progress in the warfare techniques. Through the use of conventional weaponries, the wars are battled by proxy wars which are fought by using asymmetric warfare techniques and use of intelligence.

A new concept pertaining to the battle space as an integrated form of information management consist of all the crucial factors which create an impact on the operations executed by the armed forces. They included all the components involving air, land, sea, information and space. It also comprises of factors, environment and situations to be understood which helps in successfully applying the combat power, protection of force and accomplishment of the mission (Liivoja, 2015).

Some of the modern techniques used in the present era warfare are aerial warfare, asymmetric warfare, biological and chemical warfare, electronic and ground warfare and forth generation warfare. They also comprise of guerrilla, propaganda, psychological, naval and information warfare. Nuclear, network centric and space warfare techniques have also been used   by the nations to defeat their enemies.

Traditional Approaches to Security

Aerial warfare refers to the use of military aircrafts and other flying machines in attacking the concentrations of the enemies. The fighter air crafts are used for control of airspace. The gliders, helicopters and other aircrafts are used to carry the airborne forces such as aerial refueling tanks , paratroopers (Robinson et al.,2018).

Asymmetric warfare pertains to the war between two hostile countries where there is a difference between the military powers of both the countries. It is an attempt to exploit the weakness of each other by involving the strategies of unconventional warfare.  

Biological warfare is also called germ warfare. It is the use of biological toxins such as bacteria or virus with the intention to kill or harm humans, animals or plants of the hostile country. The use of biological weapons which are alive organisms capable of reproducing within the host victims become a mode of showing power to the other country.

Chemical warfare is the use of poisonous   properties of the chemical substances which are capable of killing or injuring the resources of the other country. Electronic warfare refers to the use of nonviolent practices to assist the other regions of warfare. It adopts the strategy of jamming, radio stealth and decoding of the radio communications of the enemy country. Fourth generation warfare explains the decentralized characteristics of modern warfare .It blurs the lines of war and politics , civilians and combatants (Lawrence et al., 2015).

Ground warfare combines the three types of combat units namely armor, artillery and infantry. Guerilla warfare pertains to the fighting of irregular troops in areas occupies by the enemies. Propaganda warfare refers to the ancient form of method of sending the messages which are aimed at creating a negative impact on the opinion of a large number of people. Psychological warfare refers to spreading terror and fear amongst the people of the neighboring countries.

Information warfare can be explained as warfare using electronic media and information. Naval warfare takes place on the high seas by using deep water navies.   Nuclear warfare uses the nuclear weapons to demolish the properties of the enemy country. Network centric warfare uses sensors, command and control centers to fight in a war. Space warfare uses the outside atmosphere of earth to fight with the other country (Andrieu   and Selden, 2016).

According to The Conservation Media Group Ltd. (2016) the future challenges to the international security can be as follows. Terrorism is the biggest challenge to the international security.  Due to terrorism, the annual death tolls have been on increase. About more than 32658 civilians were killed in 2014 which was nine times more than the people killed in 2000.

Critical Theoretical Approaches to Security

Another challenge is civil conflict which can last for many years and is more violent than   interstate conflicts. It can have much higher death counts. In the recent era, the Syrian conflict was the most barbarous conflict and it claimed to take over 210,000 lives of people in the country.

With the help of artificial intelligence along with drones, satellites and other sensors increase the probability that the countries could threaten the nuclear forces of their neighboring nations thereby escalating tensions. With the help of information technologies, the nuclear wars have haunted the imagination of the governments of the countries from the post-cold war era.

Through artificial intelligence, the machines which are capable to learning and thinking can provide newer ammunitions amongst the major nuclear powers of the world (Rand Corporation, 2018). It has been estimated that by 2040, the artificial intelligence might be able to make suggestions regarding the strategic matters. Since, they could be hacked, manipulated or tricked so there is a risk of nuclear miscalculation. The artificial intelligence has the potential to upset the basis of nuclear stability.

The feature of 3D printing can enable the weapon propagations thereby upending international trade. Due to the widespread commercialization of 3D printing, the terrorists could be enabled to custom print a wide variety of weapons ranging from drones to handguns. It can easily be customized as it requires little assembly and expertise. As a result, the local production of goods can weaken the local economies and trade of the nations.

As per Symantec Corporation (2018) new threats to cyber security have targeted many routers and network attached storage devices which are able to knock out infected devices thereby rendering the unusable. The malware VPN Filter is capable of maintaining a permanent presence on the infected device like a robot. It is capable of spying on traffic being tracked by that particular device.

With the help of artificial intelligence, the generic clones of banana plants were created thereby spreading the fungus in the entire plantation of South America. As a result, it ruined the entire banana plantations of the region (Burke, Koo and McDonald, 2016).

Another threat to the international security is the use of superbugs for destroying the cyber security. These consist of computer processors, servers, memory and mobile chipsets, servers, software and other components. They spread easily since the core hardware and software protections are similar. These are enabled due to lack of cyber security. These superbugs can affect the feature of the processors known as speculative execution and thus gain unauthorized access to the safeguarded memory. So, in order to protect the devices and software from being affected by the newly originated threats, efficient cyber security strategies should be adopted by the nations.

Modern Techniques Used in Warfare

The concept of anarchy implies that there are no higher authorities and the governing authorities in the states and the conditions of chaos and lawlessness exist amongst the citizens. For the international systems to be permanently anarchic, the absence of some superior authority to govern the state is essential. Since, no order is established in the system as all the actors do as per their own wishes because no governing body exists to regulate them.

When the states attempt to survive in the world of turbulence and lawlessness, their main intention is to survive. So, in order to survive, the states shall try to decrease their external threats which could threaten their existence. Since the dissemination of power amongst the states remain unequal, so some of the states are more influential than others. To restrict the states from exercising their dominancy, it is essential to maintain a balance of power   by some states which would be able to counter the emerging strength of their hostile neighbors (Gordeeva, 2016).

So, as a consequence, wars happen due to the insecurity of the states. The behavior of the state is determined through the threats which they perceive. The power shown by its neighboring countries is merely one aspect of their calculations. By following the theory of ‘balance of power’, war happens as it is used as a preventive action by the state against any country which threatens to become extra ordinarily powerful (Sen, 2014).

If the power is well managed, then the status quo of the system will become constant. As long as the states would not feel any dangers form other people, stability would follow as the balance of power will not change.  

The states also take security measures as they perceive others to be threatening   so they take measures to safeguard themselves. So the instable situation escalates violence and it is one of the ways in which the anarchy creates violence and warfare amongst the countries. As stated above, the theory of balance of power also creates war. When the two dominating powers   confront each other and perceive as threats to each other balance their powers against the other nation (Fernandes, 2015).

However, anarchy is not the sole reason for creating violence in the world. The cold war was a result of disputes, trade wars, threats posed by one country on another and proxy wars.  Thus, anarchy is capable of creating situations such as security dilemmas but it is not necessary that it always causes violence.

In an anarchic system, there are no overriding governance states which are made free to break the alliances they aspire to.  Lastly, according to some theories, the main causes of war can be human nature which is full of selfishness, greed and egoism. In political system of the states, there is no place for ethics and morals and all men are wicked. They would give vent to their feelings when offered an opportunity to do so ( Deudney and Ikenberry, 2017).

As per UN (2014) there are certain bureaucratic obstructions faced by the commanders of four United Nations peacekeeping missions in the peace enforcement operations. Firstly, the   concept of robust mandates should be interpreted equally   amongst the legal, political and administrative areas. There is a need for political support from the administrations of the states along with adopting stronger and more customized sanction regimes.

The internal framework of the peacekeeping operations must be reconsidered by the authorities since they should depict the  true picture  regarding the number of troops  ,necessary  equipment needed and  preparations and morale .The rules of  engagement must be reviewed in order to ensure strong operations which are capable  of safeguarding citizens .

The peace making operations must be able to remain flexible and adapt themselves to the changing situations of the member countries. There is lack of clear and flexible plans in the transition phase. There is lack of new technology in the peace making operations. So, there is need to develop modern technologies to implement the peace making operations in the member countries.

The peace keeping and peace enforcement strategies should introduce certain reforms such as better planning of mission and aspects related to the staffing and performance of the force commanders. The importance of adapting missions and mandates to the current scenario should be understood and actions in this regard shall be executed. No peacekeeping objective should be overburdened with the objectives which exceed the power of the peacekeeping operations or fail to take the political and security aspects into account (UN, 2013).

Another challenge confronted by the peace making operations was the movement of assets and capabilities in the nation with inadequate infrastructure. The mission of the UN lacked its versatility, and appropriate assets to execute it. Furthermore, the basic peace keeping principles should remain constant and impartial.

The mission should not use force except in the cases of valid defense. For executing the peace making operations, it has been observed that the  violence against the civilians  has reached a new level of brutality  along with  a rise in the  frequency of forced displacement , genocide and the use of chemical and other banned armaments (Caparini, 2016).

 It seems that the clear end mission vision of the peacemaking operations is missing. They should comprise of a clear idea of what constitutes the success of these operations. The peace making vision should have clear and robust directives along with remaining flexible and adaptive.

The operation lacks the capability to respond to the dynamic challenges and its flexibility to alter the deployment of its resources and customize its forces in this regard. There is lack of managing skills to deploy the right equipment at the right time in the right place with the right people (Williams and Boutellis, 2014).

Hence to conclude, it can be said that the transition programs should include and involve not only the host country but the international and strategic partners as well. They should also involve the masses of the countries so that they can comprehend the strategies involved in the peace keeping mission.


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