Students are required to research and write a report that attempts to solve an existing problem in international security and terrorism.
Traditional and critical perspective of the security issue
The world has changed and so is their socio-economic and political condition. There are several types of challenges faced by the modern day society. Terrorism has become one of the biggest problems in the society and this has compelled the countries to rethink about their existence (Jackson and Sinclair, 2012). The countries of Arab are facing many types of terrorism and wars. This has not only destroyed the social life of these countries but has also effected the business environment in the country (Schmidt, 2012). The war of Syria is a result of International political tussle between the super powers and the politics that is going at the ground levels. Syrian Civil War is an on-going multi-sided armed conflict in Syria. It is between the Ba’athist Syrian Arab Republic fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad along with its allies and several other forces opposing government and each other in different combinations.
This report highlights the traditional and critical security perspective and the distinction among them. It also explains the context in which critical security perspective emerged as well as the contribution of security issues. In the last part of this report, there is critical security perspective in relation to Syrian Civil War.
The traditional perspective of the security suggests dealing with conventional challenges that largely involves destruction or violence. Such destruction and violence pose a threat to any country. It involves war or aggression by other state, civil wars, Insurgency etc. This perspective of security was more relevant at the time of Cold wars or World wars. Traditional perspective of security varies from country to country. In this perspective the things that are understood to be as the threat for one nation might not be a threat to other country (Jakni?nait?, 2014). For example, an ethnic conflict that is understood to be as the threat for the nations of Africa is not a threat for the countries in America or Europe. Similarly, an attack by a country of rival alliance during the peak of Cold War was a challenge for first and second world nations while most of the third world nations were totally unaffected (Burke, Le and McDon. 2014).
Critical perspective of the security includes things that involve non-conventional challenges. This perspective of security becomes more relevant after cold war. This perspective includes problems that are related to environment, terrorism and poverty. In the globalised world this has become the more appropriate approach to define the security perspective (Masys, 2016). In order to deal with these issue a collective actions are required by world so as to tackle these problems. Terrorism is the biggest challenge for the world. Before 1990’s terrorism was considered to be as the threat for some nations and it was understood as something that disturbs the peace of one nation. After few years, terrorism has become the matter of international security and the number of countries that are getting affected by the terrorism has increased (Peoples and Vaughn-Williams, 2015). The civil war in Syria is a result of rather a complex problem in the society. This started with a protest that emerged from the certain group against the government. It became an armed conflict when armed conflict after protests was supressed violently. This war took an international form when the Syrian government started making allies with other governments. On the other hand there are many anti-government groups came in to the war. In this the number of countries that were directly and indirectly involved is large (Jackson, Jarvis, Gunning and Breen 2011).
Context in which critical security perspectives emerged
Both the perspective of security explains different issues. The major point of difference between the two perspectives is that traditional perspective explains about the tussle between the nations while the other talks about the security issues that are having complex nature. Resolving the conflicts that come in critical perspective is much more difficult and takes time to get resolved (Collins, 2016). Traditional conflicts can be resolved with the efforts from the government of nations involved. Traditional knowledge of security is understood to be a confined military view of security, grounded on physical security and survival of state rather than any other subject of international relations. Unlike traditional perspective critical perspective puts individuals as their primary referential object of security.
The increasing conflicts in various parts of the world in many socio-economic terms have led to emergence of critical security perspective. This security perspective emerged when the main stream approach to security failed to explain the issues that are generated in the world (Phillips, 2015). These approaches are critical to orthodox/mainstream realist approaches. The contemporary security issues produce negative consequences for the state choices, structure and choices. It is directly or indirectly affecting the international environment which in turn increasing the number of players in the conflict (Fierke, 2015). As per Stephen Walt, critical security studies dig out the conditions that utilises forces more often and the ways in which forces are utilised directly or indirectly effects the states, societies, individuals and specific policies which nation makes so as to be prepared for, prevent, or indulge in wars. Security dilemma, materialistic and military approach to nation security plays a very critical role in International relations. The political agendas have taken the military approach which has led to situations such as terrorism and civil war (Williams, 2013).
Critical security issues are closely linked with policy making and political practices of the governments. The problems in the critical security seem to be obvious and such type of studies helps in creating a world that is facing less disturbance (Gunter, 2014). Critical security studies are critical and have reflexive attitude towards security practices. They do not accept assumptions of political decisions as the thing that cannot be argued. It also helps in evaluate the ways in which certain attitudes and conceptions are made and recognised using security practices (Vaughan-Williams and Peoples, 2014). It also helps in understanding what the consequences of the processes are. Critical studies helps in encouraging actioners to become more reflexive about their operations. It also gives the ways in which they act; think in contradictory and pluralistic environment that has various truths, form of knowledge and theories.
Contribution of critical security studies for understanding security
Critical approaches underlines that security is a derivative notion that originates and is closely related to the conception of the world order and politics. Previously it was understood that the security means the absence of threats (Ryan, 2012). Critical approach suggests that for eliminating threats first people needs to be aware of these. Then they must check what they are protecting.
Syrian war is having a complex nature as there are many parties that are involved in this War. Critical perspective of it suggests checking the fact that it’s the individuals that are actually getting affected from the war. The Syrian War has created disturbance in the local and the international level. It cannot be resolved so easily. Both the parties have taken an armed route where the international countries have started using their arms against the rebels (Bhardwaj, 2012). In such an environment, ensuring the security of Individuals can be difficult. There are many people who have lost their lives without even standing on any side. Such wars are of critical nature and have differentiated political agendas to deal with. Such wars have not only led to loss of lives but have also resulted in poverty, lack of education, political oppression.
When external players have started making their mark in the internal affairs of the country, many new challenges have emerged for the people. Syria being rich in petroleum products is inviting many external countries to find their interest in the war. Both the sides are alleging others about the ways in which they are using arms over the innocents. Stopping supply of arms to the rebels is a greatest challenge in this environment. Even after the UN intervention the big nations are using their powers to harness the benefit out of the war (Kfir, 2015). Syrian war has pluralistic and contradictory environment as well as it is having theories, forms of knowledge and different kinds of truth prevailing about it. The situation is becoming more complex as there are many people that are not directly affected by this war but indirectly they are getting affected by it. Most of the people in the neighbouring state are the biggest victims of this war. There are many people who have left their homes are taking refuge in the European and other neighbouring nations. This has created a further big challenge for the world as many of the countries are not ready to accept them due to their internal economic conditions.
From the above based report it can be concluded that definition of security for people has changed. The traditional perspective of the security is not so much relevant in the modern day context and provides a very confined definition to the security issues. Critical perspective states that there is a very deeper and complex issues that modern day world is facing. Civil war in Syria is one of the best examples of it. Different truths and theories exist in the situation which is making the situation out of control. It has not only led to loss of lives but has also led to situations such as poverty, lack of education and economic loses. International players in the war have made the environment more pluralistic. It has disturbed the international relations and created problems like people taking refuge in other countries.
Bhardwaj, M., (2012) Development of conflict in Arab Spring Libya and Syria: From revolution to civil war. Washington University International Review, 1(1), pp.76-97.
Burke, A., Le-000. K. and McDon., M. (2014). Ethics and Global Security. London: Routledge.
Collins, A., (2016) Contemporary security studies. Oxford university press.
Fierke, K.M., (2015) Critical approaches to international security. John Wiley & Sons.
Gunter, M.M., (2014) Out of nowhere: The Kurds of Syria in peace and war. Oxford University Press.
Jackson, R. and Sinclair, S.J. (Ed.). (2012). Contemporary Debates on Terrorism. Abingdon: Routledge.
Jackson, R., Jarvis, L., Gunning, J., and Breen Sy., M. (2011). 19/1000177: A Critical Introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Jakni?nait?, D. (2014) Critical Security Studies in the 21st Century: Any Directions for Lithuanian Security Studies?. [Online] Available at: https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/j/lasr.2014.12.issue-1/lasr-2014-0002/lasr-2014-0002.pdf. [Accessed on 7th September 2018].
Kfir, I., (2015) NATO's Paradigm Shift: Searching for a Traditional Security–Human Security Nexus. Contemporary Security Policy, 36(2), pp.219-243.
Masys, A.J. ed., (2016) Exploring the Security Landscape: Non-Traditional Security Challenges. Springer.
Peoples, C. and Vaughn-Williams, N. (2015). Critical Security Studies: An Introduction. London: Routledge.
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Ryan, C., (2012) The new Arab cold war and the struggle for Syria. Middle East Report, 262, pp.28-31.
Schmidt, B.C., (2012) The primacy of national security. Foreign policy: Theories, actors, cases, pp.188-203.
Vaughan-Williams, N. and Peoples, C., (2014) Critical security studies: An introduction. Routledge.
Williams, P.D. (2013). Security Studies: An Introduction. London: Routledge.
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