The Concept of Security by David Baldwin

David Baldwin -The Concept of Security

Source: Review of International Studies, vol. 23, no. 5, 1997, pp. 5–26.

Security as a contested concept

[…] SOME SCHOLARS have depicted security as an ‘essentially contested concept’.1 This contention must be addressed before we proceed to analyse the con- cept of security, for three reasons: First, there is some ambiguity as to what this means. Second, security may not fulfil the requirements for classification as an ‘essen- tially contested concept’. And third, even if security were to be so classified, the implications for security studies may be incorrectly specified.2

Essentially contested concepts are said to be so value-laden that no amount of argument or evidence can ever lead to agreement on a single version as the ‘correct or standard use’.3 The stronger variants of this position lead to a radical sceptical nihilism in which there are no grounds for preferring one conception of security to another.4 Acceptance of this position would make the kind of conceptual analysis undertaken here futile. There are, however, weaker forms of this position that allow one to differentiate between better and worse conceptualizations, even though ulti- mately none of the better conceptualizations can ever be said to be the best.5 Since the analysis undertaken here purports only to improve on current usage, and not to identify the single best usage, it is compatible with the weaker variant of the essential contestedness hypothesis.

It is not clear, however, that security should be classified as an essentially con- tested concept. Of the several requirements for such a classification, two are espe- cially questionable with respect to the concept of security. In the first place, the concept must be ‘appraisive in the sense that it signifies or accredits some kind of valued achievement’.6 W. B. Gallie uses the concept of a ‘champion’ in sports to illus- trate the point, i.e., to label a team as champion is to say that it plays the game better than other teams. Is the concept of security similar to the concept of a champion?

Neorealists seem to imply that it is. For them security is the most important goal a state can have in the same way that winning a championship is presumably the goal of all teams in Gallie’s example. Just as teams compete to be champions, so states com- pete for security. And just as the champion is better at playing the game than other teams, so states with more security than other states are better at playing the neoreal- ist version of the ‘game’ of international politics.7 From the neorealist perspective, then, it is plausible to treat security as an appraisive concept.

Wolfers, however, presents a different view of security. He contends that states vary widely in the value they place on security and that some states may be so dissatis- fied with the status quo that they are more interested in acquiring new values than in securing the values they have.8 From this perspective, saying that one state has more security than another does not imply that one state is better than another any more than saying that one state has more people or land area implies that one state is better than another. For Wolfers international politics is not a ‘game’ in which all states play by the same ‘rules’ and compete for the same ‘championship’.

Is security an appraisive concept? For neorealists, it may be. For others, such as Wolfers, it is not. The purpose of this discussion is not to settle the issue, but only to point out that this question is more difficult to answer than those who classify security as an essentially contested concept imply.

A second requirement for classifying a concept as essentially contested – indeed, the defining characteristic of such concepts – is that it must actually gener- ate vigorous disputes as to the nature of the concept and its applicability to various cases. Gallie deliberately rules out policy disputes in ‘practical life’ that reflect con- flicts of ‘interests, tastes, or attitudes’.These, he suggests, are more likely to involve special pleading and rationalization than deep-seated philosophical disagreement.9 Thus, much of the contemporary public policy debate over whether to treat the environment, budget deficits, crime or drug traffic as national security issues does not qualify as serious conceptual debate by Gallie’s standards. For Gallie, essential contestedness implies more than that different parties use different versions of a concept. Each party must recognize the contested nature of the concept it uses, and each must engage in vigorous debate in defence of its particular conceptual view- point.10 Yet the security studies literature, as the previous section pointed out, is virtually bereft of serious conceptual debate. The neorealists may have a different conception of security than Wolfers, but they do not debate his position; they ignore it.11 Writers often fail to offer any definition of security. And if one is offered, it is rarely accompanied by a discussion of reasons for preferring one definition rather than others. This is hardly the kind of toe-to-toe conceptual combat envisioned by Gallie with respect to such matters as what constitutes justice, democracy, or a good Christian.

Even if security were to be classified as an essentially contested concept, some of

the implications suggested by Buzan are questionable. One cannot use the designation of security as an essentially contested concept as an excuse for not formulating one’s own conception of security as clearly and precisely as possible. Indeed, the whole idea of an essentially contested concept is that various parties purport to have a clearer and more precise understanding of the concept than others.Yet Buzan explicitly disavows any intention of formulating a precise definition and suggests that to attempt to do so is to misunderstand the function of essentially contested concepts in social science.12

‘Such a conclusion’, as Ken Booth points out,‘is unsatisfying. If we cannot name it, can we ever hope to achieve it?’13

Another consequence Buzan attributes to the essential contestability of security is a set of ‘contradictions latent within the concept itself’.14 It is not entirely clear what this means, but such ‘contradictions’ seem to include those between the individual and the state, between national and international security, between violent means and peaceful ends, between blacks and whites in South Africa, between the Jews and Nazi Germany, and so on. Indeed, Buzan’s assertion that the ‘principal security contradiction’ for most states is between their own security and that of other states suggests that the ColdWar itself could be described as a‘contradiction’ between the security of the NATO allies and the Warsaw Pact countries.15 It is true, of course, that the state’s pursuit of security for itself may conflict with the individual’s pursuit of security; but this is an empirical fact rather than a conceptual problem. Most of the phenomena designated by Buzan as conceptual ‘contradictions’ could more fruit- fully be called instances of empirically verifiable conflict between various actors or policies.

In sum, the alleged essential contestedness of the concept of security represents a challenge to the kind of conceptual analysis undertaken here only in its strong vari- ants. There are some grounds for questioning whether security ought to be classified as an essentially contested concept at all. And even if it is so classified, the implications may be misspecified. Insofar as the concept is actually contested this does not seem to stem from ‘essential contestability’. Security is more appropriately described as a con- fused or inadequately explicated concept than as an essentially contested one. […]

Specifying the security problematique

National security, as Wolfers suggested, can be a dangerously ambiguous concept if used without specification. The purpose of this section is to identify some specifica- tions that would facilitate analysing the rationality of security policy. The discussion begins with specifications for defining security as a policy objective and proceeds to specifications for defining policies for pursuing that objective.

The point of departure is Wolfers’ characterization of security as ‘the absence of threats to acquired values’,16 which seems to capture the basic intuitive notion under- lying most uses of the term security. Since there is some ambiguity in the phrase ‘absence of threats’, Wolfers’ phraseology will be reformulated as ‘a low probability of damage to acquired values’. This does not significantly change Wolfers’ meaning, and it allows for inclusion of events such as earthquakes, which Ullman has argued should be considered ‘threats’ to security.17 The advantage of this reformulation can be illustrated as follows: In response to threats of military attack, states develop deter- rence policies. Such policies are intended to provide security by lowering the proba- bility that the attack will occur. In response to the ‘threat’ of earthquakes, states adopt building codes. This does not affect the probability of earthquakes, but it does lower the probability of damage to acquired values.Thus the revised wording focuses on the preservation of acquired values and not on the presence or absence of ‘threats’.With this reformulation, security in its most general sense can be defined in terms of two specifications: Security for whom? And security for which values?

Security for whom?

As Buzan rightly points out, a concept of security that fails to specify a ‘referent object’ makes little sense.18 For Buzan, however, a simple specification, such as ‘the state’ or ‘the individual’, does not suffice. Since there are many states and individuals, and since their security is interdependent, he argues that the ‘search for a referent object of security’ must go ‘hand-in-hand with that for its necessary conditions’.19 As noted above, however, this approach confuses concept specification with empirical observation. For purposes of specifying the concept of security, a wide range of answers to the question, ‘Security for whom?’ is acceptable: the individual (some, most, or all individuals), the state (some, most, or all states), the international system (some, most, or all international systems), etc.The choice depends on the particular research question to be addressed.

Security for which values?

Individuals, states, and other social actors have many values. These may include physical safety, economic welfare, autonomy, psychological well-being, and so on.The concept of national security has traditionally included political independence and ter- ritorial integrity as values to be protected; but other values are sometimes added.The former American Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, for example, includes the maintenance of ‘economic relations with the rest of the world on reasonable terms’ in his conception of national security.20 Failure to specify which values are included in a concept of national security often generates confusion. Wolfers distinguished between objective and subjective dimensions of security.21 His purpose was to allow for the possibility that states might overestimate or underestimate the actual probabil- ity of damage to acquired values. In the former case, reducing unjustified fears might be the objective of security policy; while in the latter case, a state might perceive itself as secure when it was not. The definition proposed above clearly includes the object- ive dimension, and the subjective dimension can be accommodated by designating ‘peace of mind’ or the ‘absence of fear’ as values that can be specified. Whether one wants to do this, of course, depends on the research task at hand.

It should be noted that specification of this dimension of security should not be in terms of ‘vital interests’ or ‘core values’ […] [f]or […] this prejudges the value of security as a policy objective, and thus prejudices comparison of security with other policy objectives.

Although the two specifications above suffice to define the concept of security, they provide little guidance for its pursuit. In order to make alternative security policies comparable with each other and with policies for pursuing other goals, the following specifications are also needed.

How much security?

Security, according to Wolfers, is a value ‘of which a nation can have more or less and which it can aspire to have in greater or lesser measure’.22 Writing during the same period as Wolfers, Bernard Brodie observed that not everyone views security as a matter of degree. He cited as an example a statement by General Jacob L. Devers:

National security is a condition which cannot be qualified.We shall either be secure, or we shall be insecure. We cannot have partial security. If we are only half secure, we are not secure at all.23

Although Brodie,Wolfers, and others have criticized such views, the idea of security as a matter of degree cannot be taken for granted. Knorr has noted that treating national security threats as ‘matters of more or less causes a lot of conceptual uneasi- ness’.24 And Buzan refers to similar difficulties:

The word itself implies an absolute condition – something is either secure or insecure – and does not lend itself to the idea of a graded spectrum like that which fills the space between hot and cold.25

If this were true, it would be necessary to depart from common usage in defining security as an analytical concept. This, however, does not appear to be the case. It is quite common in ordinary language to speak of varying degrees of security.

One reason it is important to specify the degree of security a country has or seeks is that absolute security is unattainable. Buzan recognizes this, but treats it as a ‘logical problem’ arising from ‘the essentially contested nature of security as a concept’.26 If security is conceived of as a matter of degree, Buzan observes,‘then complicated and objectively unanswerable questions arise about how much security is enough’.27 This, of course, is precisely why security should be so conceived. It is not clear why such questions should be described as ‘objectively unanswerable’. They are precisely the kind of questions that economists have been addressing for a long time, i.e., how to allocate scarce resources among competing ends.28 Nor is there anything peculiar about the unattainability of absolute security. As Herbert Simon notes, the ‘attain- ment of objectives is always a matter of degree’.29

In a world in which scarce resources must be allocated among competing objectives, none of which is completely attainable, one cannot escape from the question ‘How much is enough?’ and one should not try.

From what threats?

Those who use the term security usually have in mind particular kinds of threats. […] Since threats to acquired values can arise from many sources, it is helpful if this dimen- sion is clearly specified.Vague references to the ‘Communist threat’ to national secur- ity during the Cold War often failed to specify whether they referred to ideological threats, economic threats, military threats, or some combination thereof, thus imped- ing rational debate of the nature and magnitude of the threat. The concept of threat referred to in this specification differs from that used by many students of interna- tional politics and national strategy. Such scholars often use the term threat to refer to actions that convey a conditional commitment to punish unless one’s demands are met.30 In ordinary language, however, one often finds references to epidemics, floods, earthquakes, or droughts as ‘threats’ to acquired values. Ullman and others have argued that the concept of security should be expanded to include such phenomena.31 There seems to be no reason not to use this more expansive concept of threats, espe- cially since it comports with common usage. Those who wish to refer to conditional commitments to punish by social actors as security threats may make that clear when specifying this dimension of security.

By what means?

Like wealth, the goal of security can be pursued by a wide variety of means. […] Specification of this dimension of security is especially important in discussions of international politics. Since the publication of Wolfers’ article, ‘security studies’ has emerged as a recognized subfield in international relations. The tendency of some security studies scholars to define the subfield entirely in terms of ‘the threat, use, and control of military force’32 can lead to confusion as to the means by which security may be pursued. It can also prejudice discussion in favour of military solutions to security problems.

At what cost?

The pursuit of security always involves costs, i.e., the sacrifice of other goals that could have been pursued with the resources devoted to security. Specification of this dimension of security policy is important because writers sometimes imply that costs do not matter. […] From the standpoint of a rational policy-maker, however, […] [c]osts always matter. […]

[…] In thinking about security, as in thinking about other policy goals, it is help- ful to remember the TANSTAAFL principle, i.e., ‘There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch’.33

Wolfers suggests an additional reason for specifying this dimension of security. Arguing against those who would place national security policy beyond moral judg- ment, he contends that the sacrifice of other values for the sake of security inevitably makes such policies ‘a subject for moral judgment’.34 Given the crimes that have been committed in the name of ‘national security’, this is a helpful reminder.

In what time period?

The most rational policies for security in the long run may differ greatly from those for security in the short run. In the short run, a high fence, a fierce dog, and a big gun may be useful ways to protect oneself from the neighbours. But in the long run, it may be preferable to befriend them.35 Short-run security policies may also be in conflict with long-run security policies.36 […]

The question remains, however:‘How much specification is enough?’ Must all of these dimensions be specified in detail every time one uses the concept of security? Obviously not. Both the number of dimensions in need of specification and the degree of specificity required will vary with the research task at hand. Each of the dimensions can be specified in very broad or very narrow terms. Not all of the dimensions need to be specified all the time. For most purposes, however, meaningful scientific com- munication would seem to require at least some indication of how much security is being sought for which values of which actors with respect to which threats. For pur- poses of systematic comparison of policy alternatives, the last three specifications, i.e., means, costs, and time period, must be specified.

Although the dimensions of security can be specified very broadly, the utility of the concept does not necessarily increase when this is done. For example, if security is specified in terms of threats to all acquired values of a state, it becomes almost synonymous with national welfare or national interest and is virtually useless for distinguishing among policy objectives.37

The value of security

Security is valued by individuals, families, states, and other actors. Security, however, is not the only thing they value; and the pursuit of security necessitates the sacrifice of other values. It is therefore necessary to ask how important is security relative to other values.Three ways of answering this question will be discussed […].

The prime value approach

One way of determining the value of security is to ask what life would be like without it. The most famous answer to this question is that by Thomas Hobbes to the effect that life would be ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’.38 Such reasoning has led many scholars to assert the ‘primacy’ of the goal of security.39 The logic underlying this assertion is that security is a prerequisite for the enjoyment of other values such as prosperity, freedom, or whatever.

The fallacy in this line of argument is exposed by asking the Hobbesian question with respect to breathable air, potable water, salt, food, shelter or clothing.The answer is roughly the same for each of these as it is for security; and a plausible case for the ‘primacy’ of each can be made. This exercise, of course, merely underscores a truth King Midas learned long ago, i.e., that the value of something – gold, security, water, or whatever – is not an inherent quality of the good itself but rather a result of exter- nal social conditions – supply and demand. The more gold one has, the less value one is likely to place on an additional ounce; and the more security one has, the less one is likely to value an increment of security.

To the extent that the prime value approach implies that security outranks other values for all actors in all situations, it is both logically and empirically indefensible. Logically, it is flawed because it provides no justification for limiting the allocation of resources to security in a world where absolute security is unattainable. Empirically it is flawed because it fails to comport with the way people actually behave. Prehistoric people may have lived in caves for security, but they did not remain there all the time. Each time they ventured forth in pursuit of food, water or adventure, they indicated a willingness to sacrifice the security of the cave for something they presumably valued more. And in choosing places to live, settlers often forgo the security of high moun- tain-tops in favour of less secure locations with more food or water. Likewise, modern states do not allocate all of their resources to the pursuit of security, even in wartime. Even the most beleaguered society allocates some of its resources to providing food, clothing, and shelter for its population.

Even if ‘absolute’ security were a possibility, it is not obvious that people would seek it. As Robert Dahl and Charles Lindblom observed long ago, ‘probably most people do not really want “absolute” security, if such a state is imaginable; “optimum” security would probably still leave an area of challenge, risk, doubt, danger, hazard, and anxiety. Men are not lotus-eaters’.40

The core value approach

The core value approach allows for other values by asserting that security is one of several important values. Although this approach mitigates the logical and empirical difficulties associated with the prime value approach, it does not eliminate them. One is still confronted with the need to justify the classification of some values as core values and other values as non-core values.And if core values are always more import- ant than other values, this approach cannot justify allocating any resources whatso- ever to the pursuit of non-core values.

The marginal value approach

The marginal value approach is the only one that provides a solution to the resource allocation problem. This approach is not based on any assertion about the value of security to all actors in all situations. Instead, it is rooted in the assumption that the law of diminishing marginal utility is as applicable to security as it is to other values. Asserting the primacy of security is like asserting the primacy of water, food, or air. A certain minimum amount of each is needed to sustain life, but this does not mean that the value of a glass of water is the same for a person stranded in a desert and a person drowning in a lake. As King Midas learned, the value of an increment of some- thing depends on how much of it one has.

According to the marginal value approach, security is only one of many policy objectives competing for scarce resources and subject to the law of diminishing returns. Thus, the value of an increment of national security to a country will vary from one country to another and from one historical context to another, depending not only on how much security is needed but also on how much security the country already has. Rational policy-makers will allocate resources to security only as long as the marginal return is greater for security than for other uses of the resources.

There is nothing new about treating national security as one of many public policy objectives competing for scarce resources and subject to diminishing returns.Wolfers and his contemporaries used this approach, and defence economists have long advo- cated it.41 Its neglect in recent writings on national security, however, suggests the need to reiterate its importance.42

Critical theorists, feminist theorists, Realists, neorealists, liberals, Third World theorists, and globalists all live in a world of scarce resources. In the end, all must confront the question posed by Booth of ‘how many frigates to build’.43 Even paci- fists, who answer ‘none’, must decide how to allocate resources among competing non-military uses.The analytical tools of marginal utility analysis are available for use by any or all of the schools mentioned above.

It is not always clear whether statements about the importance of security as a goal are empirical observations or part of the definition of security.The ‘high politics/ low politics’ distinction, however, suggests that some scholars may be making the value of security a matter of definition. Buzan, for example, includes in security only those concerns that ‘merit the urgency of the “security” label’, thus suggesting that urgency is part of his definition of security. And when he refers to ‘attempts to elevate particular economic issues onto the national security agenda’, he seems to imply the inherent superiority of that agenda. Likewise, the intensity of the threat seems to be a defining characteristic of security for Buzan.44

Ullman’s proposed definition of national security threats also includes elements that prejudge the importance of security. Thus, he does not include all threats that ‘degrade the quality of life for the inhabitants of a state’, but only those that do so ‘drastically’ and quickly. And he does not include all threats that ‘narrow the range of policy choices available to the state’, but only those that do so ‘significantly’.45 Both Buzan and Ullman seem to rule out the possibility of a minor or trivial national secu- rity threat by conceptual fiat.

Policy advocates, of course, often try to win acceptance for their proposals by declaring them to be ‘security issues’. Navies wanting frigates, educators wanting scholarships, environmentalists wanting pollution controls, and so on are likely to portray their respective causes as matters of ‘national security’. In this context the declaration that something is a security issue is a way of asserting its importance.Thus one may argue that building urgency into the concept of security is a common prac- tice.46 If this practice is followed, however, the concept becomes useless for rational policy analysis because the value of security relative to other goals will have been conceptually prejudged. […]


  • Barry Buzan, People, States and Fear: An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post-Cold War Era, 2nd edn (Boulder, CO, 1991), and Barry Buzan, ‘Peace, Power and Security: Contending Concepts in the Study of International Relations’, Journal of Peace Research, 21 (1984), 109–25; and Richard E. Little, ‘Ideology and Change’, in Barry Buzan and R. J. Barry Jones (eds.), Change and the Study of International Relations: the Evaded Dimension (New York, 1981), pp. 30–45. For the original formulation, see W. B. Gallie,‘Essentially Contested Concepts’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, N.S., 56 (1956), pp. 167–98.
  • It should also be noted that the concept of an ‘essentially contested concept’ has

itself been contested. For references, see Christine Swanton, ‘On the “Essential Contestedness” of Political Concepts’, Ethics, 95 (1985), pp. 811–27; Alasdair MacIntyre, ‘The Essential Contestability of Some Social Concepts’, Ethics, 84 (1973), pp. 1–9; John N. Gray, ‘On the Contestability of Social and Political Concepts’, Political Theory, 5 (1977), pp. 330–48; and Felix E. Oppenheim, Political Concepts: A Reconstruction (Chicago, 1981), pp. 182–85.

  • Gallie,‘Essentially Contested Concepts’, 168.
  • Gray,‘On the Contestability’, 343; Swanton,‘On the “Essential Contestedness”’, pp. 813–14.
  • Swanton,‘On the “Essential Contestedness”’, 813–14.
  • Gallie, ‘Essentially Contested Concepts’, 171. Not all value judgments are appraisive. Appraisal presupposes an accepted set of criteria. Examples suggested by Oppenheim include ‘grading apples or student papers, evaluating paintings in terms of their market value, [and] wine tasting’. Political Concepts, pp. 170–76.
  • Kenneth N.Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading, MA, 1979), and ‘The Emerging Structure of International Politics’, International Security, 18 (1993), pp. 44–79; and John J. Mearsheimer, ‘Disorder Restored’, in Graham Allison and Gregory F. Treverton (eds.), Rethinking America’s Security (New York, 1992), pp. 213–37.
  • Arnold Wolfers, ‘“National Security” as an Ambiguous Symbol’, Political Science Quarterly, 67 (1952), 491–92.
  • Gallie,‘Essentially Contested Concepts’, 169.

10 Ibid., p. 172.

  • In Waltz’s Theory, for example, security is posited as the principal goal of states; but little attention is given to defining it or defending the definition against other con- ceptions of Wolfers is never cited.WhatTickner describes as‘a fully fledged debate about the meaning of security’ beginning in the 1980s is better character- ized as a series of attacks on Realism and neorealism. See J.AnnTickner,‘Re-visioning Security’, in Ken Booth and Steve Smith (eds.), International Relations Theory Today (Oxford, 1995), p. 177. A debate implies that there are two sides.With the possible exception of Buzan, no example of a Realist or neorealist engaging critics in serious conceptual debate has come to this author’s attention. And Buzan cannot fairly be described as a defender of traditional Realist or neorealist conceptions of security.
  • Buzan, People, States, 16, 374; and ‘Peace, Power’, p. 125.
  • Ken Booth, ‘Security and Emancipation’, Review of International Studies, 17 (1991),
  1. 317. On Buzan’s claim regarding the essential contestability of security, see also Peter Digeser, ‘The Concept of Security’, paper delivered at the 1994 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, 14 September 1994.
  • Buzan, People, States, 1–2, 15, 364. 15 Ibid., p. 364.
  • Wolfers, ‘National Security’, 485.
  • Richard H. Ullman, ‘Redefining Security’, International Security, 8 (1983), 129–53.
  • Buzan, People, States, 26.
  • Harold Brown, Thinking About National Security: Defense and Foreign Policy in a DangerousWorld (Boulder, CO, 1983), 4.
  • Wolfers, ‘National Security’, 485.

22 Ibid., p. 484.

  • Bernard Brodie, National Security Policy and Economic Stability, Yale Institute for International Studies Memorandum 33 (New Haven, CT, 1950), p. 5.
  • ‘Economic Interdependence and National Security’, in Klaus Knorr and Frank Trager (eds), Economic Issues and National Security (Lawrence, KS, 1977), p. 18.
  • Buzan, People, States, 18. 26 Ibid., p. 330.
  • Thomas C. Schelling, International Economics (Boston, MA, 1958), pp. 518–19; Alain C. Enthoven and K. Wayne Smith, How Much Is Enough? (New York, 1971); Charles J. Hitch and Roland N. McKean, The Economics of Defense in the Nuclear Age (Cambridge, MA, 1960); James R. Schlesinger, The Political Economy of National Security (New York, 1960); and Thomas C. Schelling and Malcolm Palmatier, ‘Economic Reasoning in National Defense’, in Alan A. Brown, Egon Neuberger and Malcolm Palmatier (eds.), Perspectives in Economics: Economists Look at their Fields of Study (NewYork, 1971), pp. 143–59.
  • Herbert Simon, Administrative Behaviour, 3rd edn (NewYork, 1976), p. 177. On this point, see also David A. Baldwin, Economic Statecraft (Princeton, 1985), p. 131.
  • On the concept of threats, see David Baldwin, Paradoxes of Power (Oxford, 1989), pp. 45–81.
  • Ullman, ‘Redefining Security’. See also Graham Allison and Gregory Treverton (eds.), Rethinking America’s Security: Beyond Cold War to New World Order (New York, 1992).
  • Stephen M. Walt, ‘The Renaissance of Security Studies’, International Studies Quarterly, 35 (1991), 212. See also Klaus Knorr,‘National Security Studies: Scope and Structure of the Field’, in Frank N. Trager and Philip S. Kronenberg (eds.), National Security and American Society:Theory, Process and Policy (Lawrence, KS, 1973),
  1. 6; and Richard Schultz, Roy Godson and Ted Greenwood (eds.), Security Studies for the 1990s (NewYork, 1993), p. 2.
  • Edwin Dolan, TANSTAAFL (NewYork, 1971), p. 14.
  • Wolfers, ‘National Security’, 498–99.
  • Kenneth E. Boulding, ‘Towards a Pure Theory of Threat Systems’, American Economic Review, 53 (1963), pp. 424–34.
  • See Robert A. Dahl and Charles E. Lindblom, Politics, Economics and Welfare (New York, 1953), pp. 50–51.
  • ‘Virtually’ rather than ‘totally’ useless because even the term ‘national interest’ dis- tinguishes between national interests and international or subnational interests. And even a very broad concept of security distinguishes between protecting acquired values and attempts to acquire additional
  • The Leviathan (1651), Part I, Ch.
  • See Richard Smoke,‘National Security Affairs’, in Fred Greenstein and Nelson W Polsby (eds.), Handbook of Political Science,Vol. 8: International Politics (Reading, MA, 1975), pp. 247–48; Mearsheimer, ‘Disorder’, pp. 221–22; Waltz, Theory, p. 126; Joseph M. Grieco, Cooperation Among Nations: Europe, America, and Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade (Ithaca, NY, 1990), p. 39; Robert G. Gilpin, ‘The Richness of the Tradition of Political Realism’, in Robert O. Keohane (ed.), Neorealism and Its Critics (New York, 1), p. 305; and Lawrence Freedman, ‘The Concept of Security’, in Mary Hawkesworth and Maurice Kogan (eds.), Encyclopedia of Government and Politics, vol. 2 (London, 1992), p. 730.
  • Dahl and Lindblom, Politics, Economics, 50. Recent writers who have expressed similar doubts about the value of security include: Barry Buzan, ‘Response to Kolodziej’, Arms Control, 13 (1992), p. 484; James Der Derian, ‘The Value of Security: Hobbes, Marx, Nietzsche, and Baudrillard’, in Ronnie Lipschutz (ed.), On Security (New York, 1995), pp. 24–45; and Ole Wæver, ‘Securitization and Desecuritization’, ibid., pp. 46–86.
  • g. Wolfers, ‘National Security’; Frederick S. Dunn, ‘The Present Course of International Relations Research’, World Politics, 2 (1949), p. 94; Bernard Brodie, ‘Strategy as a Science’, World Politics, 1 (1949), pp. 467–88; Schelling, International Economics; Charles J. Hitch, ‘National Security Policy as a Field for Economics Research’, World Politics, 12 (1960), pp. 434–52; and Schlesinger, Political Economy. ‘It is peculiar to the training of an economist that he is continually aware of the need to optimize rather than just to maximize, of the need to weight explicitly the value of more progress toward one objective at the expense of progress toward another. By training, he is suspicious of any analysis that singles out one conspicuous variable, some “dominant” feature, on which all attention is to be focused, and which is to be maximized by putting arbitrary limits on the other variables.’ Schelling and Palmatier,‘Economic Reasoning’, p. 148.
  • Buzan’s People, States contains only passing references to costs and no reference to diminishing
  • Booth,‘Security and Emancipation’, 325.
  • , pp.119, 131, 134. Emphasis added.
  • Ullman,‘Redefining Security’, 133.
  • For a strong defence of this approach, see Wæver, ‘Securitization and Desecuritization’.
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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