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What's New About 'New' Security Issues?

What's New About 'New' Security Issues?



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Published by shawn
A political studies paper on contemporary security issues (Circa 1994).
A political studies paper on contemporary security issues (Circa 1994).

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Published by: shawn on Apr 06, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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(on Scribd.com), for Professor D. Carment and Amir in course47.260 (Political Studies).DEC 94According to Seymon Brown (hereafter to be referred to as Seyom), in WorldSecurity: Challenges For A New Century, edited by M.T. Klare and D.C. Thomas, thepost Cold War era has resulted in the rise of new security issues (ch 1 K&T).Seyom tries to establish that these new security issues are more complex andmulti-dimensional than the security issues that dominated the Cold war era, andthat they are in fact entirely new. This article will be dealing with the 'new'security issues of the environment and arms trade.Seyom argues that the old realist paradigm is no longer valid in an increasinglycomplex post Cold-war era. He argues further, that the 'new' security issues ofarms trade and the environment (to name just two) are to complex for individualstates to adequately address alone or even in alliance with other states. What isneeded, he says, to adequately address these 'new' issues is some form of worldorganization, that will replace the inadequate anarchical world system as a systemof government that will accommodate the needs of the citizens of the whole world.The Realist paradigm, quite obviously, is opposed to Seyom's assertions of a newworld order. In speaking from the perspective of a Realist one might be
contentious of Seyom's 'new' security issues, not in the detail of these securityissues but in their 'new-ness'. To begin with, the overturning of Seyom'sconceptualization of 'new' issues should not be a difficult task, he has made littleattempt to establish evidence beyond the use of adjectives like 'more complex'.In considering the 'new' security issue of the post Cold-war arms trade, one isdrawn to make an analogy between the present and the past. The proliferation ofNuclear arms during the Cold-war was certainly not less complex or threatening tothe world as a whole than is the current arms trade and the current spread ofNuclear arms (from the former U.S.S.R abroad). One could argue that the currentarms trade (including the spread of Nuclear arms) is less potentially dangerous,than was the Cold-war proliferation of arms, due to the shift from a bipolar worldorder (Cold-war era) to the current multipolar order (post Cold-war era). Thisassertion is supported by Brown (a different Brown) in chapter 3 of, The Causesand Prevention of War, where he orders world political regimes in order ofpotential for escalation to world war. According to this Brown a multipolarcoalition pattern is more stable in terms of containing war to local regions than arebipolar coalitions. So according to this conceptualization world stability is greaterin the post Cold-war era than it was during the Cold-war era, this flies in the faceof Seyom Brown's conceptualization of realism becoming inadequate (all of a
sudden) after the Cold-war.The 'new-ness' of the security issues of the environment can also be shown to beequally as subjective as the 'new-ness' of the arms trade:To the traditional war-provoking disputes over rights to navigate, fish, or divertthe waters of rivers, lakes, or seas used in common by various countries we nowhave added conflicts over the pouring of effluents in such bodies of water that candegrade their value for other users. ...In addition ,transborder injuries caused bymega-accidents, such as nuclear power-plant meltdowns and oil-tanker spills,further expose the inadequacy of the existing political/legal order to handle theinterdependencies and mutual vulnerabilities of peoples across national lines(Seyom p 17).There is absolutely nothing new about the 'pouring of effluents' into bodies ofwater that transcend national borders, this sort of thing has been going on forliterally centuries. Consider the river Thames in Britain. At one time from 200 years ago until approximately ten years ago this river was a vile sewer. As of ten years ago the U.K. government had cleaned up this river sufficiently for Salmon tospawn in it once again. As for hazardous radioactive emissions, this environmentalissue can hardly be considered new either.

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