Wednesday, May 29, 2013


SECURITY AND SMALL STATES Introduction Debates in any area of study normally help in the effective working of the descriptive ideas and simplification of the vague issues. The field of international relations and international studies are not different in this respect (Rickli, 2008). According to Wivel and Oest (2010) when looking at the clarification of the subject matter and so as to render the area of study more scientific, researchers focus on what to be studied and so as to how the subject matter is to be studied. The degree of analysis takes into consideration what is to be studied and how the subject matter is to be studied. It gives a clarification of whether to focus on the nation-state or the system which essentially is a divergence between those considering that more successful is the investigation of the behaviors of the nation-state compared to investigation of the inter-actions of the nation-states. The national level of investigation refers to an analytical way of studying the international politics which focuses on how the global elements of states give an explanation for their foreign policy action. On the other hand, the individual level of investigation refers to an analytical way of studying global politics which focus on the physiological and perceptual genesis of the foreign policy action of states, with particular attention given to leaders. Finally, the system level of investigation refers to the analytical approach towards politics which focus on the effect of international events on foreign policy action. This perspective gives an emphasis on the relationships between actors in the global system. The systems approach emphasizes on the totality in a wholistic way (Rickli, 2008). This paper looks at the issue of security and small states; analyses and illustrates the security understanding of these states in the global system. From this perspective, the systemic approach will offer the means for a general analysis. Small states There are some significant questions that arise in the efforts to define the term small states. One of them is how small is small? The other question is does the qualifying adjective relate to area or to population, or to wealth or resources? There are states such as Singapore which are tiny but they are not weak. Other states seem to be huge, wealth, populous and powerful, but in reality they are politically weak such that a small group of strong-minded individuals can successfully hijack them, just like is the case with the small and weak states such as Iran (Rickli, 2008). According to Wivel (2005) therefore, the challenge is that the upper end of the small state band is not easy to define. Most authors feel that they are aware of what they are referring to when they are speaking about micro-states and that there are states fitting in the lists that they develop. However, a definitional approach, even a multifaceted one that takes into account size, wealth and population, is possibly ineffective, at least in a predictive point of view. However, despite of not having an agreement in what a small state refers to, there is a sense of relative weakness and therefore the security issues created by this weakness. However, it does not make sense to start at the other end, and argue that a state with weaknesses is one which requires external security support. For instance, from this perspective, west European states can be said to be weak states because they find the need for involving the strength of the U.S in offsetting the authority of the Soviet neighbors. Molis (2006) posits that definitions of what makes up a small state vary significantly. However, the qualitative definitions of small states include the fundamental physical, geographical aspects of small states, vulnerability and level of insularity. There are also the quantitative definitions which encompass the size of the population, land area, the Gross National Product (GNP), Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the per capita income. The number of small states in the world is also a dynamic element. Wivel and Oest (2010) posit that there is no universal or agreed-upon definition of small states. Additionally, the topic under argument has also an element of the kinds of small states. From this perspective, there are some that can be argued to be successful small states; there are those which are developing and others vulnerable. There is also a difference in the situation of small states throughout the world. Small states are evident in Caribbean, Africa, Central America, Asia, Southeast and Central Europe, Indian Ocean, European Union, Middle East, Mediterranean and South Pacific. Comparing security Small states are faced with various challenges which are unique to them. They face investment, economic and trade problems. There has always been a debate regarding the correct size for the economic development and survival of these states. While most nations, small and super powers are connected to the global financial markets, the connection of the small nations to the global financial markets augments their vulnerabilities as well as susceptibility to external economic shocks. The inclinations of EU on trade for Caribbean, African, and Pacific trade preferences are currently under challenge the World Trade Organization. Wivel (2005) asserts that so as to be able to compete globally with the novel fields small states are forced to adopt differences in their own policies. For instance, Iceland specializes in clinical research. Information technology and telecommunications is being advanced by Singapore and Finland. Economies of small states make a change to service-selling roles from commodity producing roles. The issue of sustainable development, currency crises and large market fluctuation cause special security risks to these economies. Property insurance and regional stock exchanges capital pools are being utilized as the means for investment attraction (Ingebritsen, 2010). According to Wivel and Oest (2010) there has been confusing of security as a concept. The question remains what security is and for whom is the security, whether to the individual, group or state. It is not easy to discuss security, whether for the small states or for the super powers in the global security architecture. However, the important element of on then understanding of defense and how the understanding is achieved. The way the small states thinks about security is completely different from how the super powers think and this in turn affects the way they form alliances. Wivel (2005) suggests that it is evident from research that the small state develops alliances on the basis of security. This means that they are able to develop or maintain their security on the basis of being part of an alliance. The determining factor behind their objective and need to establish the alliances is the dimension of their relationships with the closest great power as well as the risk of expansionist policies as far as economy, influence, and military factors are concerned. The worldwide system of states places small states and super powers at different levels of security. There is an ambiguous place given to the small states by these systems. Unlike the super powers, there is a huge role played by external factors in the security of the small states. In order to come to accurate conclusions in as far as the security of the small states is concerned, there is need to understand the external threats in details. Molis (2006) argues that the threats tend to have an impact on the possibilities for preservation of the independence of the small states: the amount of tension between great powers, the strategic implication of the small states geographic place to the great powers, the history of relationship between the small states and the nearest great powers, the stage of power cycle where the closest leading great power is, rivalving, great powers, the policy toward the small state of other, and the reality of inter-governmental institutions in the area of security. The mentioned factors together give the definition of the political environment of power difference: interrelating over time, they make up the most pertinent functioning environment for small states’ policy (Wivel, 2005). Ingebritsen (2010) argues that it is evident from research that the small states are faced with greater security challenges compared to the super powers. They are also faced with a more challenging future compared to the great powers in the international system. Both internal and external security challenges face these states. Compared to the great powers, the other problem regarding the security status of these countries is the availability of the means and the strength to address these challenges. It is evident that the great nations have greater strength and superior mechanisms to address challenges than are available for the small states. Additionally, great powers are able to develop more sound security policies than is possible for the small states (Wivel and Oest, 2010). Conclusion In summary, the issue of security, especially in the global world is paramount. It is important for countries, whether small or super powers to think security in the current era. This is especially the case for the small countries that are faced with more security threats, both internal and external. It is important that the states take responsibility for their security and thus secure their future. Development of strategies and policies that will help them in overcoming their vulnerabilities is important. Some authors have suggested the possibility of enhancing their collective possibilities by astutely working close together presenting their collective case on the international arena. Effective leadership and good governance with political stability is important for all states which are regarded as small. Domestic agreement regarding high levels of education, economic development, the exploitation of niche markets and diversification also contribute to the long term economic development and sustainability. In addition, world powers as well as international organizations such as the World Bank have a major part to play in the establishment of a reliable government for the issue of security which is faced by the small states. It is also important that more research is done to establish the roles of the global players in addressing the issue of security. References Ingebritsen, C. (2010). Katzenstein's Legacy 25 Years After: Small States in World Markets. European Political Science, 9(3), 359-364. Molis, A. (2006). The Role and Interests of Small States in Developing European Security and Defence Policy. Baltic Security & Defence Review, 881-100. Rickli, J. (2008). European small states' military policies after the Cold War: from territorial to niche strategies. Cambridge Review Of International Affairs, 21(3), 307-325. Wivel, A. (2005). The Security Challenge of Small EU Member States: Interests, Identity and the Development of the EU as a Security Actor. Journal Of Common Market Studies, 43(2), 393-412. Wivel, A., & Oest, K. (2010). Security, profit or shadow of the past? Explaining the security strategies of microstates. Cambridge Review Of International Affairs, 23(3), 429-453.