From Hegemonic Insecurity to Peoples' Security
From Hegemonic Insecurity to Peoples' Security
1. Global Hegemonic Security as a Source of Peoples' Insecurity
1.1 The proliferation of Insecurity in the Post-Cold-War Global Age
The end of the Cold War has transformed the world military power distribution from a bipolar top-heavy system to a complex fragmented one, and the neo-liberal political economy generates different sources of insecurity by its exploitation/exclusion of the different sectors in the periphery of the global mega-competition. It generates power struggle and violence, especially local conflicts which militarization is accelerated by the new distribution of military power.
The United States which has become the sole Super-Power exercises its hegemony through a Trilateral Alliance of the 'industrial democracies'. It adapts the Cold War logic to the post-Cold-War situation by combining continuity and change. The continuity is meant to protect the military R and D of the military-industrial-technocratic complex by the maintenance of its nuclear 'deterrence' strategy, the change factors are introduced by the new sources of insecurity which affect the security of the global economy. There are South to North threats, terrorism, drugs, trafficking, and massive movement of labour migrants from the impoverished South to the prosepring North. There are also South/South threats represented by local conflicts in the developing and transitional regions.
The security issues which were treated during the Cold War period in connection with the danger of a nuclear holocaust were assumed to be all inter-State military security issues somehow connected to the security interests of the two super-powers. Even domestic conflicts were perceived to be war by proxies of the United States and the Soviet Union. With the end of the Cold War, the proliferation of domestic conflicts has become the concern of the world opinion. Some of them escalate into inter-State conflicts. Most of them involve different identity groups engaged in power struggle vis-a-vis the State or challenging State power among ethnic or religious identity groups. The proliferation of local armed conflicts are characteristics of developing and transition regions. In the industrial regions, there are not so many domestic conflicts. The States are linked by the global economic interdependence and can not fight inter-State wars.
Violence takes different forms, migrant communities and disfavored ethnic minorities are the target of hate crimes and other violent attacks by extremist groups claiming to represent the majority inhabitant hidden feeling. Transnational criminal organization prosper by participating in the global mega-conpetition with their laundered money earned by exploiting the economic refugees who seek entry into the rich countries, even by being trafficked or smuggled. The criminal organizations profit from the North-South not only by trafficking human personsgaps but also drugs. The industrial societies develop a violent speculative mass culture which leads to street violence, domestic violence, school violence. This trend is strengthened and perpetuated by the conspicuous consumption of violence and speculation encouraged by the mass media and electronic information channels.
The global mega-competition, deregulated and exclusionary, creates all sorts of non-military threats and insecurities. This is why 'human security' comes to be included into the new definition of security. This includes food security, environment security, gender security, and other forms of¡Èhuman security' which come to be endangered by the unregulated speculative competitiveness of the neo-liberal global economy, by the violent cyber-culture, and by the interventionist hegemonic military security. The speculative global market is based on fear and greed, the ciber-culture, rationality and violence, the military security, sense of mission and exclusionism. This combination of money, technology and power creates a most insecure 'security environment' for all, States or people, irrespective of whether they are powerful or powerless, and are situated in the centre or in the periphery of the world system. This is in this environment that the American hegemonic security is developed as a reaction to the power-holders' 'fear' of the excluded others. The rich fear the poor, the system the anti-systemic forces, the State the 'terrorists', the civil society the anti-social transnational organized crime. The contemporary problems of 'peoples' security' lies in the fact that these economic, cultural and politico-military factors, exclude the people, make them the object of systemic fear, and the object of exclusion and desecuritization.
1.2 The New Global Colonial Order
The peoples' insecurity is one of the basic characteristics of the present global age. It is a consequence of the 'New Colonial Global Order'. The contemporary world economy is global in the sense that it is the final global stage of a capitalist economic expansion of the world system who has so far been able to feed its economic/technological growth by the exploitation of the surplus from its frontier land, the periphery, i.e. the colonies. The global economy is global in that it has reached a stage where the frontiers do not exist any more. So, the exploitation of the surplus can be done nowhere and must be done everywhere. The exclusionary processes of the global market creates insecurity for all the excluded and exploited new colonial groups, South to North, women to men, rural to urban, local communities to metropoles, ethnic minorities to global majorities.
The New Global Colonial Order is composed by one single 'security community' in the global North which includes a complex network of inter-dependent overlapping 'security communities', and a network of interacting fragmented 'security communities' in the global South. The global North is the core region of the New Global Colonial order, it is the 'North Atlantic security community' plus Japan, a fortress 'protected' by the hegemonic alliance of NATO plus x (in Asia). The global South, the periphery of the same Order, is composed by States surviving in the mega-competition of multinational firms and 'welcome States' by welcoming foreign capital even by sacrificing their role of 'welfare state'. They have to renounce their role of 'security community' for their people. The peoples are fragmented and are forced to organize their own 'security communities'.
All the domestic conflicts involving States vs, ethnic groups or ethnic groups against one-another are all part of this fragmented web of 'security communities' fearing each-other and over-reacting to each-other's attempt to increase their security. Unlike in the global North where all States do not fear that others would attack them, in the global South, each 'security community' perceives other's efforts to increase security as a threat to their's. The mega-competition which engages MNCs in the core of the world system, takes the form of militarized competition among 'security communities', States, religious groups, ethnic minorities etc.. What is believed to be pre-modern conflicts of under-developed traditional groups in the developing regions are ultra-modern (or post-modern) conflicts of identity groups engaged in a violent mega-competition in the periphery of the New Global Colonial Order complementing the 'peaceful' mega-competition of the TNCs and States in the core of this Order.
The present global political economy thus generates in the North various sources of insecurity within the 'security', It also generatesInsecurities between 'security communities in the South. It also generate all sorts of global insecurity in both North and South. This is why the New Global Colonial Order has developed the concept of 'global governance'.
This 'governance' is colonial especially in that it is based on the tutelage of the South by the North, which deploy its military forces so as to be ready to intervene anywhere where the interests and values of the global order is put into geopardy.
The hegemons from the global North, as we will see later, intervene in the conflicts between different 'securities' to punish the culprit who start these conflicts. This intervention is in most case arbitrary and lacks international legitimacy as it was the case in the past centuries when the Western Powers were intervening in the South on any pretext and thus were expanding their colonial influence.
Such interventions by the North requires the maintenance of a network of forward-deployed military bases. It assumes, as in the old days of traditional colonialism, that the Western industrial democracies have the right and obligation to act as the missionaries of universal values, and assume the role of a global constabulary, as a 'whitemen's burden. They should better realize that the conflicts are caused in most cases by the pressure from the global economy which forces each 'security community' to maximize their power to grab some resources in order to achieve a minimum of security. Their competition to grab scarce resources is a zero-sum process where each community perceives others as competitors and potential threats to them. The only way to overcome these conflicts is to build into their inter-community relations some plus-sum elements and enable them to seek a common security.
1.3 Global Governance as the Legitimization of the New Global Colonial Order
Global governance is a hegemonic process accompanying the New Global Colonial Order giving to it a 'civilized' appearance. For the mega-competition among MNCs and States to sustain itself in the core of the global order, it needs to get a sufficiently broad support from the international public opinion, or from the 'civil societies' composing it. It needs to develop, a set of 'stable' universal values in the name of which it can exercise its 'governance'. It has to build a security system of surveillance, control, and punishment not only of the states, hegemon and allies, but of the global economy and of the civil societies. It needs to create enough room for the 'dissidents' in the civil society not to revolt against the New Global Colonial Order.
To use a neo-Gramscian definition of the New Global Colonial Order, the hegemonic forces, the United States and the G7 are engaged in a 'passive revolution' to prevent the formation of an anti-hegemonic alliance. They use the discourse developed by these political forces, democracy and human rights, etc.. They co-opt their efforts to build alternatives, e.g. human development now adopted by the World Bank. They support 'human security' as if they were ready to renounce their inhuman national security approach.
Global governance involves, in this way, two major problems. Firstly, on the economic and social level, it supports and sustains the neo-liberal global economy which is nothing but a global casino which absorbs and gambles with the surplus produced by the exploited and excluded majority of the people, both women and men but especially women, both in the North and in the South, but especially in the South.
Secondly, on the political-military level, it is a hegemonic governance (in the Gramscian scence), based on an alliance not only of the big industries and big powers, but also of the smaller enterprises and States, who hope to survive and join-in one day the mega-competition. Quite a number of the workers of the sub-contracting firms of big industries hoping to survive harsh labour-cut by working for their companies, and quite a number of the civic leaders who hope to get concessions from governments useful for the people, support 'passively' the neo-liberal New Global Colonial Order for lack of alternatives.
A 'passive revolution' is now taking place in the South in terms of 'democracy', and in the North in terms of 'human security'. The conflicts in the South, and the 'Peace' (doubtful but existing among states) in the North enables the neo-colonial myths of Pax Democratica (peace through the propagation of 'democracy) to serve as a pretext for the hegemons to intervene militarilly in some of the conflicts of the South which endanger the global economy, or simply meet the disapproval of the United States' military/industrial/technocratic complex..
Their intervention is highly selective and generates everywhere more insecurity than security, yet it is believed to bring democracy to the South 'undemocratic' countries. The hegemonic alliance of the 'industrial democracies' combines with this interventionist policy into the global South, a rejection policy vis-a-vis all 'undesirable' elements to the human security of the North coming from the South. This includes AIDS/HIV, drugs, trafficked women, terrorists and 'illegal' migrant workers. They exercise a kind of cultural cleansing to promote 'human security' in the North.
2. The Constructed Environment of the Global Hegemonic Security
2.1 The Identification of Old and New 'threats'
The United States, as the only hegemon in the post-Cold-War world, has developed a global strategy of international security. This doctrine represents the military side of the hegemonic project leading the neo-liberal global economy and maintaining the New Global Colonial Order.
Whether this strategy reflects the interests of the MNCs engaged in the global mega-competition or that of the military technocrats is an object of debate between the security analysts. The answer is probably that the U.S. military agency is in itself a participant in the mega-competition and its doctrine is constructed to serve its military/economic interest, or to maximize its economic/political/strategic market share.
This strategic design is based on a carefully designed map of the global threats selected according to the hegemonic interests, ideology, and technical means.
Propagated by the global media, the world public opinion has been brain-washed and is accustomed to perceive the international realities accordin to this map.
The U.S. military establishment and more broadly the military/industrial/technocratic complex needs to create a security environment where the disappearance of the Soviet Union does not create a lack of targets, a serious loss of market competitiveness for it. Thus the target list has been strengthened both in terms of issue areas and in terms of target agents.
The weapon target areas include nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC), conventional and special weapons. The United States and its allies have to be prepared to respond against any threat from the NBC level counter proliferation to the LIC (low-intensity conflict) level. New threats are identified as global trafficking of drugs, weapons and persons. Terrorism is now an area which is not only dealt with by the FBI but also under the responsibility of the Pentagon.
2.2 The Enemies and Allies of the Hegemon
The agents and agencies designed as either ennemies or as allies in the above areas are well selected. The terrorists are the object of a global network of surveillance. The transnational criminal organizations follow. The designation of 'rogue states' makes certain countries like Libya,Irak, Cuba, North Korea, the targets of strengthened surveillance and economic sanctions. Certain individuals like Osama ben Ladin become the target of attack, even of missile attack.
The fundamental allies are NATO and Japan. More concretely, the United Stateshas a Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programs which involve certain foraign agencies. It also develops counter-threat networks of specialized agents such as the arms-control treaty monitoring and on-cite inspection, force protection, etc..
The above map of threats, enemies and allies is highly selective. Which country to designate as 'rogue state' is a political decision lacking any international agreement or legal standard. Terrorists for the United States are freedom fighters for anti-hegemonic states. The distinction between guerilla and terrorists is even more arbitrary. The control of transnational organized crime seems to be a legitimate task of the international community, yet the target is often transferred from the criminals to their victims and the trafficked women and the smuggled refugees are arrested in their place. All these arbitrary designations are based on interest calculation, sometimes in terms of the MNCs, some of the military/industrial/technocratic complex.
2.3 Shape, Respond. Prepare, / Deploiment, Punishment Surveillance,
Shape, Respond, Prepare the three words summ up the essence of the hegemonjic strategy of the United States. The security of the New Global Colonial Order is shaped by the forwaed-deployed armed forces. As Secretary of Defence William Cohen says, the U.S. armed forces help 'shape world events' in ways that are advantageous to the United States and its allies by being seen in the forward-deployed countries.
The flexibility in response is a second aspect of the hegemonic strategy. To be able to respond to ' a whole array of contingencies all the way from NEO operations to humanitarian missions, all the way up to war fighting' is the condition sought to in the U.S. global strategy. This flexibility is however, used mostly to punish so as to make credible the capacity and intention of the hegemon to respond to any 'bad deed' disturbing the Order.
Prepare implies 'surveillance'. The hegemon has developed a global observation and information processing system, it is important to realize that this is a complex system which combines satelites with spyes, immigration information and police bugging. Prepare, however, is also an economic operation consisting of allocating appropriate funds to meet eventual needsa. 'how to allocate the resources to make the aremed forces the best equipment' is what William Cohen is concerned. This economic aspect of 'preparedness' is an important factor on which the military/industrial/ technocratic complex rely on in maintaining its competitiveness in the mega-competition with other government agencies and MNCs.
3. The Deconstruction of Hegemonic Security and the Construction of Peoples' Security
3.1 Hegemony Security as a Match/Pump System
The efforts of the hegemonic security system to shape, respond and prepare for any threat to the security of the New Colonial Security Order is simply a 'match/pump' operation. To use a Japanese expression. One strikes a match and sets on fire, and then pump water to extinguish the fire you yourself have set on. Most conflicts in the South are started or complicated by the harsh effects of the mega-competition. The industrial countries who run this competition are in fact setting on the fire of conflicts in the South. They should first regulate the neo-liberal economy before sending fire engines to the South.
The exploitation and exclusion of the peoples from poorer countries or of the poorer peoples of the rich countries by the global economic agents is a consequence of the unregulated neoliberal competition which motivates the members of various 'security communities' to increase their security by reducing others'. The global hegemon who wants to punish the agents of insecurity does not want to eliminate the fundamental human insecurity built into the global structures of the New Global Colonial Order.
The hegemonic security is in the service of the neo-liberal speculative global economy, and of the 'welcome States' supporting it. It shapes a stable environment for their mega-competition. It respond and punish any 'unfair' attempt to break the neoliberal 'new constitutionalism' by an application of military or police means. It is prepared to act as a benevolent colonial ruler pacifying conflicts in the world regions under its trusteeship. It is also prepared to refuse access to the core region of its Order of unwelcome elements from the periphery, In spite of the 'good intention' of the hegemon to serve the global economy and its constitutional values, the match/pump nature of its security system betrays often its purpose and creates more problems for the New Global Colonial Order. In fact, this Order creates itselfcolonial relations of dependence, sometimes paternally beneficial to the colonized Southern communities, and sometimes discriminatory and punitive to them, between the participants of the global mega-competition and those excluded from its benefits. The security of this Order depends on shaping the world in such a way that no anti-colonial activities can survive, a world where any anti-systemic attempt to seek security outside of the hegemonic security system is punished, and a world where the forward-deployed forces are well prepared and know all about the anti-systemic movements. Such a world needs a cooperation between all forces for 'law and order' in the North and the South, be it military or police.
This is why a Military-Police Complex is now emerging, and is linking the core and the periphery of the Global Colonial Order. It utilizes all sorts of advanced technologies which guarantee a technically very high quality for their activities to shape, respond and prepare. However, their map of the security environment is highly selective and is full of blind-spots from where information is not collected. This is why the pacifying expeditions led by the hegemon, under the UN or without its blessing, often fail to reach their objectives, and permit the conflicts to turn into endemic situation of unrest, for lack of proper measures due to ignorance and misperceptions.
Even in the North, transnational criminal organizations as well as terrorists know how to reduce or eliminate the command and control capacity of the hegemonic military forces. The global security system shapes an insecure situation, it responds arbitrarily without giving the expected 'lesson' to the 'bad' target agent. It is prepared only to respond to certain rationally foreseeable events and can not be prepared to the projects, actions, and manifestations of the often irrational anti-systemic groups and emancipatory movements. Let alone those of the unpredictable individuals engaged in sabotage activities in different regions of the world.
3.2 Hegemonic Security as Peoples' Insecurity
This trilogy of the U.S. strategic projecti is not only inefective, it also affects the peoples' security of many peoples. It has both a positive and negative effect on the national and international security of the hegemonic alliance. For the people living in the vicinity of the forward-deployed military bases, gender security and environment security is in constant danger. For the peoples of the targeted countries for punishment, be it collateral loss of lives of bombing or lack of medical supplies due to economic sanctions, the response by the hegemonic security system is always an additional threat to their security. The preparedness involving surveillance of the global movement of people, at least detrimental to the freedom of movement of many peoples of the global South. Bugging for drog trafficking information can easily turn into bugging for politically undesirable persons.
This is why the replacement of the hegemonic security regime by a peoples' security regime is essential to cope with the global insecurity generated by the global mega-competition. Yet it is impossible to achieve this goal unless the civil society assumes its role in the democratization of the security system. The difficulty faced by the civil society is considerable.
3.3 Some Questions About the Role of the Global Civil Society
The global civil society is in the process of learning to raise its voice against the basic injustices generated by the neo-liberal global economy, as with the WTO, or by the hegemonic military security as with land-mines. It can manifest its disagreement within certain boundary conditions.Can it oppose successfully the universalist logic of the hegemon when it speaks in the name of human rights and democracy? Can it criticize the hegemon siding with undemocratic counter-hegemonic forces? Can its voice reach those who are truly excluded and relegated to the ranks of the terrorists and criminals?
The civil society will have to form a counter-hegemonic alliance to promote successfully a global project of peoples' security. It will have to learn to exercise its hegemony, in the Gramscian sense of the term.¡¡In this alliance where it should accept the cooperation of the different anti-hegemonic and anti-neo-liberal forces, under certain clear conditions not betraying the people.
The most serious problem faced by the global civil society is the fact that it is cut-off from the non-modern sectors of the peoples excluded from the global economyy in their own region. By historical reasons, the global civil society is part of the modern West, and shares more values with the hegemons than with the excluded peoples. This lack of communication with the different sectors of the peoples' communities, the informal sectors and the different identity groups, constituting mutually suspicious 'security communities' has to be overcome.
Peoples' security demands a new alliance between all the 'security communities' who should develop a common peoples' security regime. For the moment there is a common security of the Trilateral hegemons which continue to shape, respond and prepare a more insecure world for the people.