National Security as Foreign Policy February 4, 2014
Overview Defining/redefining national security Theorizing national security Realism and national security Security studies and national security National security and American grand strategy
What is security? • Take a minute and jot down the key ideas that come to mind when you think of concept of security? • Think about how these different ideas might impact the way a decision maker approaches foreign policy
Defining national security • Crucial concept for foreign policy but no universal definition of what it is • Traditional meaning of national security: protecting and securing the physical survival of the state from external (military) threats • Protecting territory from foreign invasion • Security redefined (e.g. Wolfers, Buzan) expanded from military: health, economics, environment, etc.
Whose security and from what? • Clarify the ‘referent object’ of security (whose security?) • Human security: individuals as referent object (and state itself as possible threat) • Threats: (security from what?) subjectively defined, and widened, like security itself
Deepening & Broadening of Security Thus, see concept of security moving in two directions: • Deepening - from state to individual • Broadening - from military threats to things like health, environment, economy etc.
Theorizing national security Realism: focuses on the external sources of national security threats (outside the boundaries of sovereign state, from the anarchical system) Critical Theory: analyzes threats inside and outside the state (Threat of poverty, environmental degradation and domestic repression of essential human rights, all reside inside the state.)
Constructivism: security and threats as social constructions; how we understand these concepts and processes that can change our understanding; envisages security communities whereby states share the collective sense of identity and security Integrative approaches:combining internal and external factors into a comprehensive national security policy (Leffler)
Realism and national security For realists, the fundamental national interest of all states is national security. The three S’s’: • Statism: states as central actors; makes security a pervasive element of foreign policy
Realism and national security • Survival: central goal of all foreign policy; use force as a legitimate (element) instrument of statecraft • Power vs security debate (offensive vs. defensive realism)
Realism and national security • Self-help: take appropriate steps to ensure survival, balance of power as enduring structural feature • The security dilemma - efforts to build defensive capabilities in one state can be perceived as threatening to others, which causes them to build their own defenses, which can in turn be threatening to the original state
Security studies and national security • Security studies is defined as the study of the nature, causes, effects, and prevention of war. • The concept of national security rose to prominence during the Cold War, monopolized by Realists. • The concept of human security arose in the early 1990s, which placed individuals at the centre of security strategies.
National security and American grand strategy Grand strategy is a crucial component of a state’s foreign policy: it is the overall vision of a state’s national security goals, and a determination of the most appropriate means by which to achieve these goals.
It entails a 3-step process: • Determine the state’s vital security goals. • Identify the main source of threats to these goals, internal and external. • Ascertain the key political, economic and military resources that can be employed as foreign policy options to realize national security goals.
American grand strategy A variety of different grand strategies can be identified for the United States: • Neo-isolationism: interest based foreign policy • Liberal internationalism • Primacy
American grand strategy Neo-isolationism: America should focus on its own national interests. Activist, globalist role is no longer needed in post-Cold War era. US is secure from external threats with power to guarantee its security.
Liberal internationalism: an expansive American national interest, (that includes world peace), necessitates multilateral engagement in pursuit of common goals. • The US not immune from military threats. • Central: democracy, human rights, interdependence and role of institutions
Primacy: preserving US power as the undisputed pre-eminent power in the international system. US must ensure its military dominance, preventing emergence of a multi-power structure. Institutions seen as restraining unilateral options
There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that US has based its foreign policy on a grand strategy of primacy • It is worthwhile to ask whether this strategy is sustainable asevidence suggests that attempts to counterbalance the US are underway.
States feel insecure, leading them to increase their military capabilities. • Realists advocate a policy of offshore balancing that attempts to maintain America’s relative power and national security in an emerging multipolar world.
Conclusion • Despite the importance of national security to FP, there is no universal agreement on the concept • Thus, its always important to consider how the concept is being used • Also important to be aware that some of the approaches to security that realism advocates can actually create insecurity.