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Author links open overlay panel Basil Germond. Under a Creative Commons license. Abstract This article discusses the geopolitical dimension of maritime security, which has been neglected by scholars despite the growing number of studies devoted to a variety of aspects related to maritime security.


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The Geopolitics of American Insecurity: Terror, Power and Foreign Policy - CRC Press Book

War and the threat of war is one of those constraints, together with poverty, poor education, political oppression and so on. Security and emancipation are two sides of the same coin. Emancipation not power or order, produces true security.

Original Articles

Emancipation, theoretically, is security. Booth, Violence is thus the set of actions and structures that hamper the full realization of individuals in their social environments, either directly or indirectly, in a certain material and ideational context. This approach has been followed by Booth in his concept of emancipation, focusing on the realization of human potential and the need for security policies to focus on the reduction of processes and actions which limit this potential.

This also positions critical security scholars along a cosmopolitan tradition, influenced by the English School of International Relations.

National security strategies that focus on the regional context as a source of threats and which perceive multilateralism as a source of weakness create additional barriers to these views and increase the possibilities of further tensions and militarization of regional relations. This in turn further deprives the societies of much-needed resources for health, education and economic development, creating further social instability and human misery.

Therefore, reflections on post-Soviet Eurasia need not only a strong commitment to practice; they need also a moral commitment to the human communities they affect. It is by assuming their point of view, in terms of the sources of insecurity, threat and fear, that critical security studies embrace an enlargement of the concept of security.

In that regard, it is the provision of positive peace — rather than the mere absence of violent conflict —, which should be the main goal of states, reproducing security communities of wealthy and just nations at a global level Booth Not only are there economic discrepancies, between wealthy elites and largely poor populations; there are also huge differences in terms of access to political representation by ethnic and religious minorities. Women remain marginal contributors to policy-making and economic development, and Internally Displaced People IDPs by the secessionist conflicts plaguing the region since the late s, remain marginalised citizens, with fewer economic, political, and social opportunities.

The production of knowledge is part of the process of developing social realities, either through the work of academia, or the work of the media and social activists. These are the people entrusted with creating, channelling, and transmitting assessments of security risks and priorities, as well as with guiding decision-making. Thus, all knowledge is power, as advocated by Michel Foucault Gordon, , making it a moral and normative imperative to focus security studies on the origins of insecurity and oppression and to prioritise the most important threats to peace and human security, even when these are not structured along established academic cannons.

Whether the state is a necessary condition for the improvement of human security, or not, it is open for debate. We address briefly below some of the debates on human security as a means to provide further illustrations of these dynamics and to advocate for the important link between human rights and security. Are there advantages in looking at the fulfilment of human rights as a form of security provision?

How can critical security studies and their central concept of emancipation engage with human rights debates? Finally, what benefits would these approaches bring to study and practice of post-Soviet Eurasian security? Critical views of human rights begin by questioning common assumptions and adopt a stance committed to change, placing at the centre the voices of the marginalised and victimised Dunne and Wheeler, 9.

The discourses of human rights and security have become inextricably intertwined under these critical lenses, since security, as we have argued above is no longer strictly conceived as being the security of states, but rather has evolved to place at its core the security of individuals. The security of individuals, from a perspective of emancipation, is thus perceived as being dependent on the realisation of human potential in specific historical contexts. This cosmopolitan view of rights understands individuals as being part of humanity, first and foremost.

Criticism of the universalist approach to human rights has focused both on domestic and global dynamics, underlining how differences of power explained and justified the imposition of certain narratives about right and wrong Wieviorka, Under the guise of national security, rights can be constrained by the elites who develop and promote mainstream narratives. Likewise, under the fear of insecurity, global interventions are legitimised in the name of democracy, human rights, and humanitarian concerns with human security violations.

What these cases make invisible — but critical approaches to human rights and security shed light on — is the sectorial view and practice of human rights protection: in the name of the security of few, the insecurity of many is permitted, or even worse, it is provoked and reproduced. This exposes a fundamental contradiction between the universalism of the mainstream narratives of rights and security, and the restrictive practices it develops.

If their right to security can be derived from their universal condition of being human, the operationalisation of this project needs to be socially bound and culturally mediated. This view assesses rights of individuals from the perspective of the social and political structures in which they are embedded and thus provides a way for relativism which does not impair on the universality of rights.

Not only because there is an opportunity to redesign power relations, but also because of the danger that processes of violence developed throughout the conflict will linger in the new order. Moreover, high levels of violence and trauma might be seen as acceptable after extended periods of violent conflict. An interactive and socially-constructed, time- and place-contingent interpretation of these forms of lingering violences is crucial to empower those experiencing it.

These processes impact not only the individuals exposed to violence, but also the communities they are part of and linger across generations, challenging understandings of the past and the future and how these groups can work towards cultural affirmation ibidem : This concept remains a contested one, both in its academic validity and in its added-value for policy-making Tadjbakhsh and Chenoy, Although we will not enter into these discussions here, the concept of human security has been linked to three main themes Fierke, , of relevance to international security.

The first relates to the international legal view, seeking to protect human rights through the sanctioning of governmental actions, namely through the resource to international tribunals e. The second focuses on humanitarian assistance in conflict scenarios, in order to assure basic human rights, including of refugees and non-combatants.

The third approach focuses on sustainable development and on the assurance of socio-economic and third generation rights, by promoting policies of poverty alleviation, redistribution of wealth, and participatory governance Fierke, In this article, we would like to argue that the major obstacle to this revolution in thinking of regional security has been posed by local elites in power, which regard the state as their protector and guarantor.

Thus, sticking to a realist view, which places national security as the only relevant referent object, is in fact a way of assuring the security of their minority. The diversion of resources for military equipment, rather than social and economic development or the maintenance of protracted conflicts are two examples of how elites present themselves as advancing national security interests, when in fact this results in forms of social oppression.

The international security discourse uncritically centred on the dangers of armed violence but failing to assess its origins and to prevent new forms of war and armed conflict and on the promotion of fear namely of terrorism and radical Islamism are two factors actively contributing to these dynamics locally.

Research Paper

In such a context, a contestation of these views needs to be developed both locally and globally, in order to have an impact on policy decision-making. Authors like Buzan have argued that, by bypassing the state, human security lacks a clear agent capable of providing security. In order for human security to be a critical concept, with emancipator potential, it needs to be guided by a desire to unveil the structural conditions for violence and insecurity, including the power relations sustaining human insecurity.

Following the empirical and practical commitment of critical security studies referred to above, a focus on the realities of human communities as a methodology to limit and expand human security as an analytical concept would be more useful, than engaging in endless debates over the difficulties and advantages of an expansive and elusive concept. In the process, we have identified some of the main obstacles to an emancipator approach to security in the region, including the perceptions of local elites of the benefits of placing the security of the state at the heart of governmental policies, and the coalescence of strong state institutions and lack of civic and social-economic opportunities, in the framework of post-communist transition.

These views have been reinforced by mainstream analysis of regional security, much informed by great power rivalry, the privileging of armed violence or potential risks of it , border controls, surveillance against potential domestic threats, etc. As our argument goes, most of these concerns are relevant for the region, but it is their absolute prioritisation, removing human needs and everyday threats to individuals and their communities from the debate, which remains a problem, in our view.

It is our understanding that not only a more balanced use of the limited resources of the region could be achieved, but the conditions for long-term development and stability could be developed.

These processes would certainly contribute to improving state security — a central concern of orthodox views — but it would do so as a by-product of a balanced relationship between individuals and state structures, at the domestic, regional and global level. The following paragraphs provide illustrations of this view. Four countries have experienced violent conflicts in the period of transition from the Soviet Union, which remain unresolved Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

This is of particular concern regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, since no monitoring forces have been set on the ground and both Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to support a policy of remilitarisation, nationalistic rhetoric, and the positioning of snipers along the contact line, making this a highly unstable conflict.

Political elites from all the sides, including the mediators from the Minsk Group France, Russia, and the US rhetorically support a peaceful solution to the conflict and acknowledge the heavy price which the region is paying for the permanence of closed borders and lack of diplomatic relations. Regardless of these costs, no significant incentives have been presented to nudge the parts into a peace settlement. As post-Soviet Eurasia is increasingly positioned as a strategic transport and energy corridor, there are many missed opportunities for all sides involved. There are however benefits for the elites in the continuation of the status quo and thus no long-term solution has been presented and carried through.

Mimicry of mediation and diplomatic engagement has been the norm rather than the exception. In many interviews in Armenia, the idea that the war on Karabakh had been won and therefore that this status quo needed to be translated into a political agreement was widespread. Such process, not only hampers the pursuit of a peace agreement with Azerbaijan; it also creates the seeds for future violence, as new generations are educated into mutually exclusive understandings of peace and security.

This link between national identity and conflict is not exclusive to Armenia, naturally, and poses serious challenges in Georgia and Azerbaijan alike.

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Issues like the proliferation of light weapons in Georgia has been one area where human security has been addressed Wood, On another perspective, dislocated populations are among the most vulnerable groups, since they linger in a legal vacuum regarding their citizenship rights and experience harsh social and economic conditions.

The status of these populations also represents a challenge to state security, because they are disenfranchised groups, without the capability to contest their rights through existing channels of participation. Access to education, jobs, social services, etc. A commitment to emancipation and the reduction of the sources of human insecurity in the region need to place state resources at the service of human communities.

High levels of poverty still subsist in most of these societies, both as a result of the devastation of war, of mismanagement and corruption, and of the unsuitable economic policies which were implemented after Communism. Poverty is thus a recurrent pattern in these societies, and affects specific segments of the population more than others, including elders and children, IDPs, people with disabilities and rural populations, specially mountainous people UNDP, ; Cornia, Poverty is no longer a transient but a permanent condition for many of these populations, carrying important consequences for their well-being, their social, economic and political participation.

Empowering these populations by providing them with the means to express the sources of their insecurity is a fundamental step in changing the view point of regional security. It is also necessary to enquire about the reasons of this condition, the structures reproducing their poverty and marginalisation and address these processes. These popular revolutions, either successful or not in removing the governments from power, illustrate that there is genuine discontent with political elites and perceived levels of corruption and mismanagement, which have been used as a social basis for mobilisation.

The political responses to these claims however, illustrate the limitations of the existing structures in accommodating more equalitarian systems of wealth redistribution. Both at the academic and policy-making level, this trend has led to limited and a-critical views of regional insecurity and negligence with the origins of this condition or with its prevention. Great power competition and national interests have been stated as insurmountable obstacles to sustainable peace, undermining local agency and obscuring other forms of insecurity which ravish the region.

Due to the presence of protracted conflicts and high levels of militarisation, shifting the focus to human security has been a herculean task. The moral commitment to action, the need for historical perspective on the origins and self-reproducing forms of violence and insecurity, the enlargement of the concept of security, bypassing the state in its dominance as the sole referent object, and a commitment to the insecurity of the marginalised populations; all these elements offer an important guide to reinforce the state-building processes ongoing in the post-Soviet context, in a way that does not reproduce old patterns of inequality.

Whether we see the state as a useful intermediary or not is open for debate, but by posing the question, these approaches allow the possibility of reconceptualising the state and its role as a human security provider. By securitising some of these threats such as poverty and inequality we run the risk of presenting these processes as threats to the state itself.