The economic crisis in some of the largest Asian nations has displayed the need for more concern in terms of global economic security. Natural disasters that have troubled the beach lines of North America, and recently, Asia, indicated the need for increasing concern in precaution efforts. Last but not least, terrorist acts, in America, Bali, Australia and other places of the world have created increasing concern toward security from criminal acts
This paper will take journey from the discussion of issues that constitute global security concerns to the assessment on how the issues have been taken into account by governments, according to several government publications and studies. The discussion involves security concerns, globalization, and practical security measurement.
Series of unfortunate events happening in our world have developed the term security to become more popular in general discussion. The economic crisis in some of the largest Asian nations has displayed the need for more concern in terms of global economic security. Natural disasters that have troubled the beach lines of North America, and recently, Asia, indicated the need for increasing concern in precaution efforts. Last but not least, terrorist acts, in America, Bali, Australia and other places of the world have created increasing concern toward security from criminal acts.
However, would the increased concerns have significant effect toward the design of security in the 21 century? Have governments of the world take into account the general concerns as mentioned above and take actions to address them accordingly? Within this paper, I will develop an assessment based on previously published literature, on what issues constitutes global security concerns. Afterwards, I will make an assessment on how the issues have been taken into account by governments, according to several government publications and studies.
In might have not often been spoken loudly or publicly stated, but interest for oil has been a powerful factor that shaped conditions of the modern society. Admitted or not, the US government had justified this theory by their ‘questionable campaigns’ toward oil-producing countries in the Middle East. Moreover, writers and college professors have identified oil as a genuine threat to security in many respects. Oil price fluctuations have been considered a real threat to economic stability. The 1973 oil crisis -where oil price rocketed almost 1000% due to a series of trade embargoes- and the 1979 crisis -where oil prices rose up to 150% due to the Iranian revolution- has displayed that oil is a significant threat to economic security (Harf, 1986 & Fried, 1993).
Oil has also been identified as the cause of environmental and political unrest. Emissions of oil combustion and the devastating effects of oil spills have been the concern of environmentalist for decades now (Rourke, 2000). The issue of global warming and polluted seas and beaches have encouraged environmentalist to take more aggressive actions toward governments and oil & chemical companies. In term of politics, oil represents a huge conflict of interest between numerous powerful countries. The Arab/Israeli conflict, the gulf war and other devastating conflicts have occurred partly due to oil issues, but there is no sign that oil-related debates and conflicts are reduced.
II.2 Globalization and Information Technology Revolution
According to Gary Hart (2002), within the last two decades, four dominant revolutions have been displaying their influence toward the 21st century security concerns. They are Globalization, Information Technology Revolution, Political Crisis and the Enhanced Nature of Conflict.
Hart considered globalization as the first among the revolutions because together with the Information Technology Revolution, Globalization spawned the later two of the revolutions. In terms of economy, globalization caused integration of global marketplaces. Aided by the rapid development of information technology, globalization has made national borders becoming weaker and more vulnerable to unauthorized information retrievals. This is no doubt a considerable threat to security.
II.3 Political Crisis
Driven by the increasingly integrated marketplaces, there is an increasing need for political symbiosis between modern and developing countries. However, Europe and Asian countries have begun to realize that these political integration caused them to loose some level of their control over national economics, and furthermore, national culture and fundamentalism. Globalization has been identified as the tool of superpower countries to maintain the inequities in the global distribution of power, authority and wealth (Lipschutz, 1998, 2000). There are apparent movements among the developed countries to return to their ethnic nationality and resurrect old customs and traditions.
II.4 Enhanced Nature of Conflict
The determination of some countries to free themselves from globalization and its influences gave birth to the fourth revolution, which is the increased nature of conflict. Despite the individual nature of ethnic-against-globalization conflicts, most of the ethnic group has one characteristic in common, hatred toward the United Stated. Hart believed that these resistances are the embryo of terrorist actions which plagued the world today.
III Some Agendas of Security
III.1 Philosophy of a City
There are various concepts underlying the Security Agenda of the 21st Century. One of them is offered by Ronnie D. Lipschutz. Lipschutz argued that it is better to focus on institutional possibilities instead of seeking strategies in material methods like military security, financial security and communication security. He suggested that global security concerns could be observed through a smaller scale of similar conditions. Lipschutz indicated the problems of a single city could represent the problems of global security and thus, a more thorough observation could be performed. Of course, not any city would be able to display the contents of Lipschutz’s argument. Instead, he was referring to ‘global cities’ of the world (Knox, 1955), new centers of the world’s economy, controlled by capital, in which the boundaries of civilization are maintained only by the thin blue line.
The similarities of global cities with global conditions are elaborated as follows:
§ Cities are similar to global politics in terms that groups of citizens generally have boundaries, but they also have infrastructure whose use and maintenance are critical to people’s lives and livelihoods. Some level of commitments of the citizens to the city is necessary for the well being of both individual and polity.
§ Cities are also similar to global politics in terms of heterogeneous social and economic conditions. Neighborhoods tend to be different from one another. Some are rich, some are poor, and some are more cohesive than others. However, together, they form the social infrastructure and human capital that makes cities running.
§ Furthermore, cities are similar to global politics in terms of organizational philosophy. In cities, political and social relations of their parts create social values that are more than their sum. Linkages among the parts of the cities are important no only to the parts themselves, but also to the whole.
Due to the similar characteristics mentioned above, Lipschutz argued that the formation of a national or international agenda could be inspired by how cities manage their social and politic architecture.
III.2 Example of a Practical Security Measurement
In the year 2000, The United Kingdom faced an issue of security due to a preposition by the United States government, as efforts of addressing security concerns of the 21st century. The US government would like to deploy a National Missile Defense (NMD) which would most likely have a significant impact on strategic stability and UK security (‘The 2000 review’, 2000).
Despite the final policy which supports the US plans for deploying the security effort, the study by UK government did not indicate strong rationales that supported the NMD proposal. First, the study found that a direct missile attack toward the US government is very unlikely due to the knowledge that the attack would result massive and devastating retaliation toward the attacker. Second, there are many other methods that would be more plausible and more discrete in hiding the attackers’ identity. Third, the study discovered that there would be not much use of the NMD, because the US government would possibly authorize the pre-emptive destruction of missile sites capable to launch missile attack to US government offices (House of Commons, 2000).
The concerns toward security are increasing in the 21st century. Most of the threats come from globalization, information technology revolution and most of all oil issues. However, the identification of the threats seems to have small influence toward the formation of security agendas by governments. The NMD case in 2000 revealed the logically unsound rationales in government’s security efforts. Most of the rationales behind the security agenda seemed to be hidden or closed for public minds.
Academically speaking, there are numerous philosophies of global security stated in military, financial or communication technology perspectives. However, the discussion within each of the perspectives will result conflict of interests. Lipschutz suggested the city approach to discover a comprehensive solution of global security challenges.