National Security

The person who is deeply involved in the study of the history of ancient civilizations knows that security is not just a newly formulated term, but rather a phenomenon and a condition that man seeks to achieve since ancient times, and until this becomes clear to us in this article, we must first before introducing the concept of security in general and the concept of national security in particular to address the phenomenon of security Which people sought to achieve in ancient civilizations .

First : A brief history of security

The opinions received about the form of the first human group confirm the importance of the security factor in the civilization construction, but there are conflicting opinions about what the first social cell is. Some believe that it was a group of individuals who were not bound by ties of kinship, but rather that living together motivated them to cooperate and obtain sustenance, and there is another opinion indicating that the group was bound by a spiritual bond, which is the belief that the members of this group come from   one common ancient ancestor. That the family was the first social cell connected by kinship and united by the authority of the head of the family .

Returning to the history of ancient Iraq reveals to us that the Kings of Mesopotamia have acted with absolute sensitivity regarding the security of their country when the security of Iraq   – confirmed in the past – was decided from the western side to annex the cities located near the coast of the Mediterranean to secure the borders from the sea, as well as controlling the eastern mountainous regions. And the northeastern region, by annexing the cities of Nineveh and Assyria from the east, made the Akkadians the focus of their external behavior to weaken or occupy the country of Elam and the other provinces of Iran to secure the eastern borders from threat and control the economic wealth in the region .

Also, when studying the behavior of the pharaohs, we find that the concept of national security has become entrenched   in the thinking of the pharaonic leaderships. This was evidenced by the responsible behavior by these leaders in connection with securing the eastern borders of the Egyptian state at the time when the leadership realized that security does not stop at the Sinai, but must go beyond that to the Taurus Mountains in northern Syria, despite the fact that Pharaonic Egypt is located on the continent of Africa and is ruled by leaders Closed and does not have the desire for regional expansion, but its wars led by the two kings ( Thutmose ) and ( Ramses ) express a Pharaonic awareness of the concept of national security that imposes preventing the presence of any foreign power near the eastern borders of Egypt 

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the concept developed as a practice; As the emergence of the nationalist phenomenon that led in Europe to the disintegration and integration of a number of political societies and created instability to the belief that the borders of the state must be extended; Because there are individuals   belonging to the nation, and this, in turn, instilled in the minds of European national leaders the idea of ​​natural obstacles at the borders so that they would be defensive lines against the possibility of attack from external forces. The desire to find borders capable of defending the national body prevailed in order to avoid the state being surprised by any enemy trying to undermine the national body, and this concept justified the occupation of the lands of others in order to   secure self-protection, and national security has become an expression that does not leave European politicians’ awareness in order to sharpen motivation and ward off the danger that the nation is facing, following the conditions that prevailed in the world after world war II landed the political doctrine of “national security” convention .

Second : the concept of national security :

In order for the concept of “national security” to be clear, the term should be divided up by presenting the definition of “security” and the definition of “nationalism” on two levels, namely the linguistic level and the idiomatic level, then the most important definitions of national security should be addressed. Also, the four levels of security should be presented :

  1. Defining security, language and convention:

Security in language is (the antithesis of fear ) and the triple verb (security) that is, achieve safety Ibn Manzur said : “ I believed, because I am safe, and I believed in others, that is, against me that I concealed. Security is against fear, trust is against betrayal, faith is against disbelief, faith is in the sense of believing, and against denial .

As for the concept of security at the formal level, it generally refers to achieving a state of lack of fear, replacing it with a feeling of security in its psychological and physical dimensions, and feeling security is an inherent human right that is indivisible and cannot be divided, whether for social, ethnic or other reasons .

  1. The concept of nationalism as a language and idiomatically:

Article linguistic nationalism is the word ( s . And . M ) , and the people are the group that are linked somewhere and you reside And when there is a nation of people on one land and its members practice life in one culture, there are other strong relationships between them that revolve around the common interest, solidarity and lineage, and social relations that make them one hand, and it is these ties that create what is called nationalism .

On the idiomatic side, the idea of ​​nationalism is as old as human society , and Ibn Khaldun expressed it with the idea of ​​asabiyyah , and the elements of nationalism for most Arab nationalist thinkers are common land, history, common culture, and common interests .

As for the issue of establishing nationalism, or rather building the nation-state, this issue is the subject of disagreement. There are two opinions about the relationship of nationalism with the state. The first believes that the state is the embodiment of the meaning of nationalism, and the second separates between the nation and the nation-state, and this disagreement is due to the fact that nationalism is a social entity in which the previous basic components are available, and it is natural that that entity tends to establish a political system that becomes its receptacle, but that does not always happen. In all nationalities, there is a divided or assimilated nationalism alongside another in one state, and there is a nation without a state; Nationalism belongs to a group of phenomena related to the process of identifying or belonging to groups of people .

Third : The most important definitions of national security :

The concept of security has caused a great concern among thinkers and decision-makers alike. Ensuring survival, security and survival was the priority of domestic and foreign policy, although it is an ambiguous term; It is an essentially controversial term, but it remains a very meaningful concept, which is what Ronnie D. Lipschutz said in saying : “ There is not only a conflict about security between nations, but also a struggle between nations over the concept of security .”

As we have explained, there is a major disagreement over the concept of national security, as it means different things to different people. National security is traditionally defined as protection from external attack, and thus it has been primarily viewed as meaning military defenses in the face of military threats, and this vision has proven to be well narrow; National security includes more than equipping and using armed forces .

What is more, such a vision might make one believe that the best way to increase security is to increase military strength , and although military force is a very important component of security, history is in fact full of examples of arms races that have weakened security rather than strengthened it .

Such races usually begin with a country strengthening its military power for defensive purposes so that it feels more secure, and this act leads to the neighboring countries to feel that they are threatened, and the neighboring countries respond to that by increasing their military capabilities, which makes the first country feel less safe, so the race continues .

This has led to the emergence of the need to formulate a broader definition of national security that includes the economic, diplomatic and social dimensions, in addition to the military dimension . Arnold Wolfers presented such a definition when he said : “ Security in the objective sense measures the extent of the absence of threats to acquired values, and in its subjective sense it indicates the absence of fear. Prevent those values ​​from being attacked . ” Treasure Kronenberg defines national security as  that part of government policy that aims to create conditions conducive to the protection of vital values,  and Henry Kissinger defines it as  any behavior through which society seeks to preserve its right to survival .” As for Robert McNamara, Security is development, and without development there can be no security. In fact, countries that do not grow cannot simply remain secure . “

Accordingly, it can be concluded from the foregoing that the concept of national security has gone through two important stages as a result of global developments : In the first stage, we view it with the narrow strategic view, which is to repel a hostile military attack, protect borders from foreign invasions, and preserve national independence In the second phase, the state had to secure its citizens politically, economically, socially and culturally against multiple dangers imposed by the nature of the wide openness to the modern era .

After the end of the era of isolation and the spread of the thought of globalization, the state’s sovereignty retreated and the independence of the national decision decreased in favor of regional or international powers. In addition to being affected by external institutions such as the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and others, which is considered a diminution of sovereignty and national security .

Fourth : Security Levels :

The importance of   stating the levels of security is reflected in clarifying the confusion between many concepts, and these levels are divided into four levels as follows :

1. The security of the individual against any threats to his life, property, or family .

2. National security against any external or internal threats to the state, which is expressed in  national security .”

3. Regional security with the agreement of several countries within the framework of one region to plan to face the threats they face .

4. International or global security, which is undertaken by international organizations such as the United Nations or the Security Council to maintain international peace and security .

Fifth : The basic theories in international relations regarding security issues :

Based on the relativity of national security, on the theoretical level as a concept, and on the practical level as a strategic framework, there are many schools and trends in analyzing what national security is, its dimensions and indicators , and although there is no definitive classification of national security writings, there are three theories or basic schools for thinking about international relations. Regarding security issues, each of them has opposing visions, which are : realist theory, revolutionary theory, and liberal theory , and the following is a review of the most prominent components of these theories :

Realistic theory :

Realist theory focuses on the strategic dimension, and according to it, the state is the main international actor, if not the only one, while the international system is characterized by anarchy due to the absence of a central international jus cogens, and therefore individual states assume their security and defend their interests through the acquisition and use of force.

According to this realism theory, security is the State Security State Security reaches out to regional integration , social cohesion and political stability of the state, which thus preserves the security of the individual and the group and the addition , and thrives this concept of security in a climate and relations of conflict, tension and war, and it has flourished in the aftermath of the Second World War Following the international division that occurred after the World War and the beginning of the Cold War, between the eastern and western camps The interest in Security Policies emerged more than the Concept of Security , and this was reflected in the United States of America by the establishment of the National Security Council of the United States . To play the role of coordinating the country’s strategiesSince then, the concept of national security has spread in its various levels according to the nature of local, regional and international circumstances 

The criticisms leveled against real theory :

  • This theory places national security as a supreme value, which requires transferring national resources and allocating them for defense purposes, and increases the opportunity expense of these resources at the expense of development, and this may also lead to the police state model.
  • The limitation of the security concept to the external dimensions, especially the military threats from competing countries, and neglecting the internal dimensions of the concept.

Revolutionary theory :

Supporters of revolutionary theory seek to change the system, not just reform it, and they see change as a duty. Because the regime suffers from a state of clear injustice, and from here it is necessary to carry out rapid and revolutionary change , and this vision has found great resonance   in the study of North-South relations and development in the world of the South, due to the extreme poverty afflicting the majority of the world’s peoples Revolutionary theories elevate the value of justice. They see war as a result of economic exploitation by the North and the South, and they see change in these economic relations as a key to solving the war problem .

Liberal theory :

The liberal theory rejects the assumptions of realistic theory, for the state is not the only actor in international security relations, and the state consists of many institutions and groups whose interests may diverge and enter into bargaining to reach a general agreement on those interests , and therefore the concept of security in the liberal theory does not It is limited to the military dimension, but extends to important economic, cultural and social dimensions . This theory focuses on the freedom of transactions and mutual benefits that societies can reap from interdependence .

Sixth : Concepts overlapping with national security :

  • National Security and Foreign Policy:

In the beginning, it can be said that there is a logical overlap between the concept of national security and a number of other concepts that overlap with it in the same interests, and on top of those concepts comes the concept of the state’s foreign policy, which is mainly concerned with the international environment with which the state interacts and how international decisions are made, in addition to studying The behavior of international actors in the context of preserving the state’s vital interests and working to achieve them, which overlaps with national security concerns as well; As we have explained from the definitions of national security, all of them focus on how the state protects its core values, which are national interests that it seeks to protect and achieve in the international environment, in addition to being an essential component of the state’s foreign policy formulation. It defines the state’s foreign policy as  the state’s program of action in the outside world based on the goals and interests of the nation state. However, despite this overlap, there is something that distinguishes between the two concepts: National security does not differentiate between the outside and the inside, or in other words, national security deals with the security of the state as a single unit, and therefore internal and external policies fall within the scope of national security concern, as protecting the state’s values ​​and preserving its integrity is not only limited to external attacks and achieving the state’s interests abroad, but also extends. To include the safety of the interior, as one of the matters that could threaten the national security of countries, especially with the spread of the scenario of bombing countries from within; Foreign behavior is an integral part of the overall behavior of the state aimed at preserving its core values ​​in relation to the concept of national security 

  • National security and the national interest

The concept of national interest is an analytical concept that can be used to understand and interpret the external behavior of a state and the motives and causes of the external behavior of international actors. It is also used to evaluate the state’s foreign policy. As we explained, the foreign policy aims to achieve the interests of the nation-state, and therefore the concept of national interest may also overlap with the concept of national security. Each of them is used as an analytical concept to assess the state’s external behavior, which aims primarily to protect the core values ​​of the state, but the concept of national security has overlooked the concept of national interest in terms of concern. It is also concerned with evaluating the internal behavior of the state, which made it overlap more with another concept, which is the concept of the public interest .

  • National Security and the Public Interest:

The concept of public interest suffers from the same dilemma as the concept of national security. Both of them are two concepts that include many dimensions and are concerned with the inside and the outside, and both of them can also be called a jelly concept that cannot be set clear limits due to the dimensions it includes, which has caused many problems in the practical use of the two concepts, and in theory, both of them overlap with the other until The limit that makes it difficult to separate them; What is considered national security is considered a public interest, and vice versa .


Seventh : National Security Dimensions :

The term national security was used to express the set of roles the state must take to ensure the safety of the region and the people, how to preserve the people’s gains, and how to defend this region, and the role of the state is to defend the region and the people from all kinds of dangers, whether internal or external .

With the abandonment of the narrow concept of the concept of national security, which was centered around the military side and the importance of increasing the military side only, and also besides the openness of the whole world to one another and the concept of national security affected by international relations, the role of the state has also changed, and there are many dimensions that were included under the umbrella of the concept of Security, and these dimensions that the state must protect have multiplied into five dimensions : the political dimension, the economic dimension, the social dimension, the military dimension, and the cultural dimension .

First : the political dimension

It is represented in preserving the political entity of the state, which is two-fold internal and external , and the internal dimension relates to the cohesion of the home front, social peace and national unity As for the external dimension, it relates to the assessment of the ambitions of the great and major powers and regional powers in the state’s lands and resources, and the extent of congruence or conflict with the state politically, economically and socially, and is governed by a set of strategic principles that define the priorities and precedents of security interests .

Second : The economic dimension

This dimension aims to provide the appropriate environment to meet the needs of the people and provide them with means of progress and prosperity The field of national security is the supreme national strategy that is concerned with the development and use of all state resources to achieve its political goals, as well as economic growth and technological progress are the main and decisive means to achieve the security interests of the state, build a strategic deterrent force, develop trade exchange, export employment, horizontal transfer of technology and indigenize it, especially high and vital technology .

Third : the social dimension

This dimension aims to provide security to citizens to the extent that it further develops a sense of belonging and loyalty ;  Without establishing social justice by being keen on bridging the differences between classes and developing services, national security is endangered , and this dimension is also related to strengthening national unity as a key requirement for the safety of the state’s biomass and support for the national will and the consensus of its people on the interests and goals of national security and circumventing its political leadership, leading to social injustice. For certain classes, or the increase in the percentage of citizens below the poverty line, to a real internal threat to national security that is difficult to control, especially in light of the exacerbation of unemployment, housing, health, education and social security problems .

Fourth : the military dimension

The demands of defense, security and regional prestige are achieved through building a military force capable of meeting the needs of strategic military balance and defensive deterrence at the regional level to protect the state from external aggression by maintaining this force in a state of permanent combat readiness and high combat efficiency to defend the state’s borders and depth , and military power is the tool The main thing is to support the state’s foreign policy and formulate its leadership role, especially at the regional level. The military dimension extends to preparing the state and people to defend and support the war effort in times of armed conflict and to achieve deterrence demands in periods of peace .

Fifth : the cultural dimension

This dimension is based on protecting thought and beliefs and preserving customs, traditions and values , and it is the one that strengthens and secures the release of national power sources in all fields in the face of external threats and internal challenges, and broadens the basis for the feeling of freedom and dignity and the security of the homeland and the citizen, and the ability to achieve an appropriate degree of prosperity for citizens and improve their financial conditions Continuously; The cultural role is extremely important in protecting the homeland from the cultural theses of globalization and the clash of civilizations, if we take it in a comprehensive sense, including thought, culture, education, media, arts and literature National security means  empowering the people to practice their own value system on their independent territory. ” And in the face of the multiplicity of dimensions, it can be said that the main goal of national security is to focus on the value of the human being. The broad popular base is the pillar of security.And although the military force is important and required, there are also other powers, including economic power, per capita national income, the degree of community growth, the prevailing political and social system that allows all people’s forces to express themselves, the level of development, the equation between the standard of living and defense expenditures, and the determination of interests Vitality at home and abroad, as well as defining vital departments and their priorities .

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SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations in addition to a Master's degree in International Security Studies. Alongside this, I have a passion for web development. During my studies, I acquired a strong understanding of fundamental political concepts and theories in international relations, security studies, and strategic studies.

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