Security is a contested concept having no single or fixed definition. However, as stated in Oxford Dictionary, security is the state of being free from danger or threat. Indeed, according to Michael Dillon, politics and danger are associated. He argues that these two words are strongly coordinated. He also adds that, it is not always that people have similar concerns, hence do not explain insecurity in the same way. In Europe in the early 1900s, people had fears that were different from the ones they have today in the 21st century. Michael Dillon therefore shows that politics is a constant disagreement about the dangers, what we should do against them and the actions we should take if we happen to face them (Dillon, 2009; 398). This essay will first define the word security according to different authors. Secondly, it will focus on the policy of present- day France when dealing with security issues and finally, it will demonstrate how security can best be achieved.
From Michael Dillon’s work about the dangers of the world, we can see that the world became organized by danger and fears. Some politicians argue that these fears help organize people’s political interests. Human beings are mortal; therefore anything can be a threat (Dillon, 2009; 399). Like death and danger, security therefore, has been a big part of everyone’s life, and will continue to be that way in any societal setting.
From Vaughan-Williams on the critical theory and security, we can see that even if “critical security studies” is used as a term more and more, the real significance of the words ‘security studies’ and ‘critical’ are interpreted in many ways. They resumed the implications (normative, methodological and theoretical) as the ‘’Deepening’’, ‘’Focusing’’, ‘’Broadening’’ and ‘’Extending’’ of security studies (Wyn Jones 1999; 166). All of these terms refer to a different approach to security. The ‘Welsh school’ uses critical thinking to talk about security (Peoples, 2010; 32).
Another form of security is social security. The next paragraph will focus on it with the example of France. In France, Social Security is a set of devices and institutions that work to protect individuals from the consequences of various events or situations; usually called "social risks" The concept of social security has two aspects. Functionally, Social Security assists people when they go through harsh economic times. Four branches are defined by the Code of Social Security which are intended to cover each type of risk and methods of coverage and benefits provided to the beneficiary concerned: these risks could be sickness, maternity, disability, death, accidents, job, diseases and old-age and survivors’ pensions (Legifrance, 2008).
ISS (International Security Studies) developed debates on how to protect the state against internal and external threats after World War II. Security became its magic word (Wolfers, 1952; Yergin, 1978), differentiating International Security Studies from the disciplines of War Studies and Military History, and from earlier thinking. As it evolved, it was used as the linking idea, combining a progressively diverse set of research projects. Reflecting on sixty plus years of academic writing based on international security, the pressing question regarding the history of ISS intellectually is to determine what makes up the subfield and where the barrier zones between ISS and other academic disciplines are located (Buzan and Hansen, 2009; 8).
According to Barry Buzan and Lene Hansen, security is about establishing something that has to be secure: someone, the state, a group, the planet, or an environment. It can either be national or international security. Still according to Buzan and Lene, securing the states is the best way to protect its inhabitants. Thus, national security or state security was labeled by the cold war as a fusion of the security of the nation and the security of the state. The nation supported a strong state, and in return answered by loyally protecting the society’s interests and values (2009, 8).
On a more global scale, national security is a new concept in France and, more generally, within the European Union. It appears for the first time in a new treaty, called the Lisbon Treaty(adopted by the Heads of State and Government on December 13th 2007).The treaty covers all the political (institutions, doctrines, activities and resources), civil (political, diplomatic, economic, legal, ...) and military instruments that empower a state to protect its vital national interests ( vital interests of sovereignty, security interests, strategic interests and many others) in time of war, in crisis and in peace, against risks and threats of any kind; whether of military or non-military potential, or actually reported as targeted towards the nation state. National security helps to prevent and oppose offensive and defensive, passive and active, military or non-military risks and threats. Operating against causes and effects of the latter, it is a central component in the security of a certain country, as well as its defense. It is one particular item specifically dedicated to dealing only with threats.
Wolfers always described national security as an ambiguous symbol, contrasting the political climate after the Second World War with that of the inter-war American economic depression, holding that the change from a peaceful welfare to a security interpretation of the symbol of national interests is understandable. Today, it is not the depression or social reform that we are living under, rather, the effects of the cold war and external aggression threats (Wolfers, 1952: 482).
In view of the above, security can best be achieved through putting certain measures in place. First, it is vital that there is an overall air of goodwill within a country, and between countries. This, in essence, means that the citizens of a particular country should learn to live as brothers and sisters, keeping in mind the fact that no dispute is worth someone’s health, or life. Countries, especially neighbouring ones, should learn to accommodate each other’s interests and needs. This responsibility lays squarely on the shoulders of the government, but it all boils down to the citizens of a country; what kind of leadership they elect into office. Secondly, is important that all adult citizens of a country have a source of livelihood. Idleness coupled with poverty is the breeding ground for evil. Lastly, any conflicts that may arise should be addressed by the appropriate systems through the right channels. This kind of faith in the legal system of one’s country is what fosters brotherhood, and at the end of the day one saves a massive time lost, and energy that would have been used somewhere else but is wasted running around with petty squabbles.
In conclusion, this essay is about security, what is and how it can be achieved. In the paper, I have tried my best to show the various types of security, from national security to international security and even social security which basically is all about protection of the financial welfare of the people citizens of a particular country by the government in question. While discussing this topic, I have outlined and explained scenarios when security has been jeopardized in certain areas of the world, paying the utmost attention to France and the United States of America.
I have then gone on to explain national security in the European Union, and how it appears that for the first time in a new treaty, the Lisbon treaty, which was adopted by heads of state and government on the 30th of December, 2007. The Lisbon treaty, in essence, covers all political, civil and military aspects of a state, and entails how diplomatic, economic and legal frameworks, and their institutions and doctrines empower the people of any nation in the Union, and protect the vital interests of the state. I have also detailed examples of serious historical situations when security was not a priority, and when people felt endangered and unprotected in the respective boundaries of their countries.
These instances include the first and second world wars and also the cold war. Further, I have outlined the economic impacts of the lack of security in our nations, citing The Great Depression that occurred between the wars, and how people suffered due to tough economic times, with businesses failing and livelihoods being lost. I therefore believe that I have exhaustively discussed the topic of security, its impacts and the benefits of having a secure society.
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