What Is The Classic Security Dilemma And How Is It Treated In The Realist And Liberalist – Essay Example

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CLASSIC SECURITY DILEMMAINTRODUCTIONSecurity has traditionally been seen in military terms. However, the rise to prominence of new global issues has meant that traditional geo-strategic considerations no longer dominate the foreign policy agenda. Today the notion of security is assuming a more comprehensive, multidimensional character. The military dimension is decreasing in significance relative to economic and environmental concerns. Economic strength rather than military capability; a country's Gross National Product (GNP) and per capita income rather than the number of nuclear-armed missiles and men under arms will be the dominant themes of international relations of the nineties and beyond (Asch, 2003).

In other words, as economic strength becomes the single most important index of national power, the 'high politics' of diplomacy and security give way to 'low politics' of economy and trade. After all, it was economic bankruptcy which led the former Soviet Union to withdraw from the superpower competition and which brought about the end of the Cold War. This broadening of the concept of security has come about as a result of the recognition that non-military threats to security-such as problems of maritime passage and seabed boundaries, refugee and population flows, terrorism and rising sea-levels-are as important as military threats (Leffler, 2002).

The nature of these threats and the need to take countermeasures at regional and national levels will also necessitate a change in the concept of nation state and sovereignty. in this paper I will present a detailed discussion on the “classic security dilemma”. DISCUSSIONThe emerging world order compels national leaders to redefine security assumptions and defense strategies. opportunities for new strategies emerge even as old conflicts are revived. The challenge of the current period is to expand the domain of alternative security strategies, because no single approach will be adequate for all cases.

Arguably, one of the key problems for security policy derives from the recognition that "traditional" strategies, which rely primarily on military force, are counterproductive in many situations. (Leurdijk, 2002)The concept of security must be reclaimed from its 1950s focus on military threats. Freedom from threat in the international system is a wider and deeper social goal than freedom from military attack. A wider concept embraces a more open appraisal of threats and allows a discussion of economic and ecological security.

A deeper concept focuses attention below and beyond the state, to individuals who experience security/insecurity in various ways. All this points to a reconsideration of government priorities, suggests new directions for government policy, and wider public participation in the creation of security. The very concept of security itself needs to be moved away from purely military definitions to a much more inclusive and relevant definition including economic, ecological and social concerns (Asch, 2003). These combined approaches allow the development of a set of connected political and cultural elements which create a 'landscape of stability' in the international order, without seeking rigid balances of power, and avoiding major interventions against perceived areas of threat.

A central dilemma of military deterrence strategy is accommodating the possibility that communicating resolve by demonstrating one's capabilities to fulfill defensive threats may well be construed as offensive threats, even though no offensive posture is intended--the classic "security dilemma. " Domestic political insecurities and vulnerabilities on the part of potential aggressors can aggravate the problems of misperception.

(Russet, 2001)Lebow and Stein have argued that the internal political and psychological characteristics of the potential challenger are at least as important as the external security balance. In the neorealist understanding of international relations, the East-West conflict which emerged in the aftermath of World War II was a natural consequence to deterrence, and in their view, as a result of internal compulsions that have little to do with an opportunistic cost-benefit calculation (which is the presumed motivation in traditional deterrence theory). Leaders have launched attacks when their own political and strategic vulnerabilities were aggravated, even though they knew the probability for military success was low.

Lebow argues, therefore, that a successful deterrence strategy is one that does not aggravate the potential challenger's insecurity so that he is motivated to take risks or to act preemptively. By challenging the presumption of rational deterrence theories that aggression is largely opportunistic, Lebow and Stein acknowledge the difficulties of accurate communications but focus on a different set of dynamics and derive different strategic implications. (Leffler, 2002)

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