Chapter : 6
What Are Security In Contemporary World ?
- Security relates only to extremely dangerous threats that could so endanger core values that those values would be damaged beyond repair if we did not do something to deal with the situation.
- Notions of security - traditional and non-traditional.
Traditional Notions: External
- In the traditional conception of security, the greatest danger to a country is from military threats.
- The source of this danger is another country which by threatening military action endangers the core values of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
- In responding to the threat of war, a government has three basic choices - to surrender; to prevent the other side from attacking by promising to raise the costs of war to an unacceptable level; and to defend itself when war actually breaks out so as to deny the attacking country its objectives and to turn back or defeat the attacking forces altogether.
- Governments may choose to surrender when actually confronted by war, but they will not advertise this as the policy of the country.
- Security policy is concerned with preventing war (called deterrence) and with limiting or ending war (called defence).
- Traditional security policy’s third component is called balance of power. When countries look around them, they see that some countries are bigger and stronger.
- Governments are very sensitive to the balance of power between their country and other countries. They do work hard to maintain a favourable balance of power with other countries, especially those close by, those with whom they have differences, or with those they have had conflicts in the past.
- A good part of maintaining a balance of power is to build up one’s military power, although economic and technological power are also important since they are the basis for military power.
- A fourth and related component of traditional security policy is alliance building. An alliance is a coalition of states that coordinate their actions to deter or defend against military attack.
- Most alliances are formalised in written treaties and are based on a fairly clear identification of who constitutes the threat.
- Countries form alliances to increase their effective power relative to another country or alliance. Alliances are based on national interests and can change when national interests change.
Traditional Notions: Internal
- Traditional security must also concern itself with internal security. The reason it is not given so much importance is that after the Second World War it seemed that, for the most powerful countries on earth, internal security was more or less assured.
- Internal security was a part of the concerns of governments historically, after the Second World War there was a context and situation in which internal security did not seem to matter as much as it had in the past.
- After 1945, the US and the Soviet Union appeared to be united and could expect peace within their borders.
- Most of the European countries, particularly the powerful Western European countries, faced no serious threats from groups or communities living within those borders.
- Some European powers continued to worry about violence in their colonies from colonised people who wanted independence.
- As the colonies became free from the late 1940s onwards, their security concerns were often similar to that of the European powers.
- The Cold War between the two superpowers was responsible for approximately one-third of all wars in the post-Second World War period.
- Most of these wars were fought in the Third World. Just as the European colonial powers feared violence in the colonies, some colonial people feared, after independence, that they might be attacked by their former colonial rulers in Europe.
- The security challenges facing the newly-independent countries of Asia and Africa were different from the challenges in Europe in two ways.
- For one thing, the new countries faced the prospect of military conflict with neighbouring countries. For another, they had to worry about internal military conflict.
- Between 1946 and 1991, there was a twelve-fold rise in the number of civil wars—the greatest jump in 200 years. So, for the new states, external wars with neighbours and internal wars posed a serious challenge to their security.
Traditional Security And Cooperation
- In traditional security, there is a recognition that cooperation in limiting violence is possible.
- These limits relate both to the ends and the means of war. It is now an almost universally-accepted view that countries should only go to war for the right reasons, primarily self-defence or to protect other people from genocide.
- War must also be limited in terms of the means that are used. Traditional views of security do not rule out other forms of cooperation as well. The most important of these are disarmament, arms control, and confidence building. Disarmament requires all states to give up certain kinds of weapons.
- Overall, traditional conceptions of security are principally concerned with the use, or threat of use, of military force. In traditional security, force is both the principal threat to security and the principal means of achieving security.
- Non-traditional views of security have been called human security’ or ‘global security’.
- Human security is about the protection of people more than the protection of states. Human security and state security should be and often are the same thing.
- But secure states do not automatically mean secure peoples. Protecting citizens from foreign attack may be a necessary condition for the security of individuals, but it is certainly not a sufficient one.
- The idea of global security emerged in the 1990s in response to the global nature of threats such as global warming, international terrorism, and health epidemics like AIDS and bird flu and so on.
- No country can resolve these problems alone. And, in some situations, one country may have to disproportionately bear the brunt of a global problem such as environmental degradation.
- These problems are global in nature, international cooperation is vital, even though it is difficult to achieve.
New Sources Of Threats
- The non-traditional conceptions both human security and global security focus on the changing nature of threats to security.
- Terrorism refers to political violence that targets civilians deliberately and indiscriminately.
- International terrorism involves the citizens or territory of more than one country. Terrorist groups seek to change a political context or condition that they do not like by force or threat of force. Civilian targets are usually chosen to terrorise the public and to use the unhappiness of the public as a weapon against national
governments or other parties in conflict.
- Global poverty is another source of insecurity.
- Currently half the world’s population growth occurs in six countries—India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
- Among the world’s poorest countries, population is expected to triple in the next 50 years, whereas many rich countries will see population shrinkage in that period.
- High per capita income and low population growth make rich states or rich social groups get richer, whereas low incomes and high population growth reinforce each other to make poor states and poor groups get poorer.
- Health epidemics such as HIV-AIDS, bird flu, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have rapidly spread across countries through migration, business, tourism and military operations.
- One country’s success or failure in limiting the spread of these diseases affects infections in other countries.
- Other new and poorly understood diseases such as ebola virus, hantavirus, and hepatitis-C have emerged, while old diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, dengue fever and cholera have mutated into drug resistant forms that are difficult to treat.
- Epidemics among animals also have major economic effects.
- Dealing with many of non-traditional threats to security require cooperation rather than military confrontation.
- Cooperation may be bilateral (i.e. between any two countries), regional, continental, or global.
- It would all depend on the nature of the threat and the willingness and ability of countries to respond.
- Cooperative security may involve the use of force as a last resort.
- Non-traditional security is much better when the use of force is sanctioned and applied collectively by the international community rather than when an individual country decides to use force on its own.
India’s Security Strategy
- India has faced traditional (military) and non-traditional threats to its security that have emerged from within as well as outside its borders.
- Its security strategy has four broad components, which have been used in a varying combination from time
- The first component was strengthening its military capabilities because India has been involved in conflicts with its neighbours —Pakistan in 1947–48, 1965, 1971 and 1999; and China in 1962.
- The second component of India’s security strategy has been to strengthen international norms and international institutions to protect its security interests.
- The third component of Indian security strategy is geared towards meeting security challenges within the country.
- Finally, there has been an attempt in India to develop its economy in a way that the vast mass of citizens are lifted out of poverty and misery and huge economic inequalities are not allowed to exist. The attempt has not quite succeeded; we are still a very poor and unequal country.