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New Patterns of Global Security in the Twenty-First Century

Author(s): Barry Buzan


Source: International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), Vol. 67, No. 3
(Jul., 1991), pp. 431-451
Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Royal Institute of International Affairs
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ofglobalsecurity
New patterns
in thetwenty-frst
century

BARRY BUZAN

has alreadybegun,writesBarryBuzan. He analysespostThe twenty-first


century
ofchanged
Cold War,post-East-Westpowerrelationsand tracestheconsequences
') forstatesin the
relationships
betweenthegreatpowersof theNorth(or 'centre
he argues,and the
South (or 'periphery').The centreis now moredominant,
moresubordinate
to it thanat any timesincedecolonization
began.In
periphery
and Third
thatsense,Westerncapitalismhas triumphed
overbothcommunism
he outlinesare thedevelopment
Worldideology.Amongthepossibilities
of a
civilizational'cold war' betweenNorthand Southin thecomingdecadesas Islam
is pushedto thefrontrankofoppositionto Westernhegemony;continued
recedesintothedistant
in theSouth; and, as decolonization
militarization
past, an
assaulton post-colonial
boundaries
there,as we saw in theGulfcrisis.Societal
he writes,are likelyto assumea prominence
on thesecurity
agendathat
concerns,
of themodernEuropeanstates
theyhave notheldsincebeforetheestablishment
system.
This is a speculativearticle.It triesto sketchthemain featuresof thenew pattern
of
of global securityrelationsthatis emergingafterthe great transformations
and the firstpost-Cold War crisisin the Gulf. In particular,it triesto
I989-90
identifythe likely effectsof changes in what used to be called East-West
relationson the securityconditionsand agenda of what used to be called the
Third World.' Because itsstarting-point
is thenatureand impact of changesin
the North, it does not pretendto offera comprehensivepictureof the South.2
Aftersettingout the analyticalframework,the articlewill identifyfourkey
changes in relationshipsbetween the major powers in the North and suggest
what theirconsequencesmightbe forthemajorityof statesin theSouth. It goes
on to examine in more detail the impact of theseconsequenceson the security
2

I should like to thank Pierre Lemaitre, Morten Kelstrup, H. 0. Nazareth, Barbara Allen Roberson and
Ole Wxever for comments on an earlier draftof this article.
In order to look ahead in a systematicfashionand to avoid being swamped by detail, some theoretical
frameworkis necessary.The study is based on a combination of a broadly structuralrealistapproach
and a centre-peripherymodel of the internationalsystem.However, it does not demand prior
knowledge of these frameworks.See Barry Buzan, Charles Jones and Richard Little, The logicof
anarchy:neorealismto structural
realism(New York: Columbia UniversityPress, forthcomingin I992);
Johan Galtung, 'A structuraltheory of imperialism',Journalof Peace Research8:2 (I97I), pp. 8i-i i8.

International
Affairs67, 3 (I99I)

43I-45I

BarryBuzan
agenda of the South in termsof five sectorsof security-political, military,
economic, societal and environmental.
Into the twenty-firstcentury
One immediateproblem is thatso many of the termsin which a discussionof
thiskind would normallybe cast have become obsolete. It is a commonplace
to observe thatthe term'Third World' has lost nearlyall its content.3In the
absence of a Second World now that the communist system has largely
how can therebe a Third? What now unitescountriesas diverse
disintegrated,
as South Korea, India, Malawi and Bahrain thattheyshould be referredto as
a distinct'world'? Geographicallabels are not much more helpful.What does
'West' mean when it includesJapanand Australia,or 'North' when it includes
Albania,Romania and theSoviet Union, or 'South' when it includesKorea and
excludesAustralia?AlthoughSouth is a bettertermthanThird World, thebest
available set of termsto capturethe relationshipsof the I99OS comes fromthe
centre-peripheryapproach elaborated in the dependency literatureof the
'Centre' here impliesa globally dominantcore of capitalist
I960s and I970s.4
economies; 'periphery'a set of industrially,financiallyand politicallyweaker
statesoperatingwithina set of relationshipslargelyconstructedby the centre.
The more robustand developed statesin the peripheryforma semi-periphery,
whose aspirationis membershipof the core. This approach capturesthe key
elements of hierarchy that now shape international relations, without
necessitatingrecourseto misleadinggeographicalimages.
The ending of the Cold War has createda remarkablefluidityand openness
in the whole patternand qualityof internationalrelations.Althoughthe events
of I989 were centredin Europe, theyrepresentchangesof such magnitudethat
it is appropriateto talk of the end of an era for the internationalsystemas a
whole. Specifically,I989 markedthe end of thepostwarperiod. It seemslikely
thathistorianswill also come to markit as theend of thetwentiethcentury.The
two world wars, the Cold War that followed them and the process of
decolonization that accompanied all three already begin to look like a selfcontained historicalperiod. In this sense, we are already in the twenty-first
century.There are quite strongindicationsthatthenew centurywill be like the
nineteenthin having, at least among the great powers, neither a major
ideological divide nor a dominating power rivalry. My question is, what
securityconsequencesthispatternof relationshipsamong the major powers in
the centrewill have for the statesin the periphery.
The securitylens used here is a broad one. Securityis takento be about the
pursuitof freedomfromthreatand theabilityof statesand societiesto maintain
their independent identityand their functionalintegrityagainst forces of
change which theysee as hostile.The bottom line of securityis survival,but it
3
4

Affairs66:4 (I990), p. 745.


JohnRavenhill,'The North-Southbalanceof power', International
in theglobalsystem',InternationalOrganization
See specialissueon 'Dependenceand dependency
32:I

432

(I978).

New patternsofglobal security


also reasonablyincludesa substantialrange of concernsabout the conditionsof
existence.Quite where thisrangeof concernsceases to merittheurgencyof the
' security' label (which identifiesthreatsas significantenough to warrant
emergencyaction and exceptional measures,including the use of force) and
becomes partof theeverydayuncertainties
of lifeis one of thedifficulties
of the
concept.
Militarysecurityconcernsthe two-levelinterplayof thearmed offensiveand
defensivecapabilitiesof states,and states'perceptionsof each other'sintentions.
Political securityconcerns the organizational stabilityof states, systemsof
government,and the ideologies thatgive themlegitimacy.Economic security
concerns access to the resources,finance and markets necessary to sustain
acceptable levels of welfare and state power. Societal securityconcerns the
abilityof societiesto reproducetheirtraditionalpatternsof language, culture,
association,and religiousand national identityand custom within acceptable
conditionsforevolution. Environmentalsecurityconcernsthe maintenanceof
the local and the planetarybiosphereas the essentialsupportsystemon which
all other human enterprisesdepend. These five sectors do not operate in
isolation from each other. Each defines a focal point within the security
problematique,and a way of orderingpriorities,but all are woven togetherin
a strongweb of linkages.5
During the Cold War, internationalsecuritywas dominated by the highly
militarized and highly polarized ideological confrontationbetween the
divided theindustrializedNorth into theFirst
superpowers.This confrontation
World (the West) and the Second World (the Soviet bloc). Because their
concerns
rivalrywas intense,the dangerof war was real,and political/military
dominated the securityagenda. This political/militaryemphasis was transmittedinto the peripheryby the use of arms transfers
by both superpowersas
a means of exploitingalready existinghostilitieswithinthe Third World as a
vehicleforpursuingtheirown rivalry.In the opening yearsof the twenty-first
centurythereare alreadystrongsignsthatthe securityagenda among the great
powers will be much less dominated, perhaps not dominated at all, by
and as thearmed
issues.The Second World has disintegrated,
political/military
confrontation
between theUnited Statesand theSoviet Union is wound down,
economic, societaland environmentalissuesare pushingtheirway into the top
ranksof the internationalsecurityagenda.
One major questionforthe statesin the peripheryis how theirown security
agenda will be affectedby the new patternsof relationsamong the major
powers. Will they share the shift away from political/militarypriorities
towardsa more non-militarysecurityagenda, or will echoes of theterm'Third
World' continueto demarcatea major divide, anotherworldin which things
are ordered(and disordered)in ways quite different
fromthoseof theadvanced
industrialcountries?
' For a fulldiscussion
international
of thesethemes,see BarryBuzan,People,statesandfear:an agendafor
I99I);
see also Ken
security
studies
in thepost-ColdWarera(HemelHempstead:Harvester-Wheatsheaf,
andinternational
security
(London: Harper-Collins,
I99I).
Booth,ed, New thinking
aboutstrategy

433

BarryBuzan
There are of coursesome massivecontinuitiesin theinternationalpositionof
theex-ThirdWorld (now periphery)thatare largelyunaffected
by the changes
in the top ranksof the greatpowers. The centre-periphery
approach captures
much of what remainsconstantfromthepast and is a usefulframeworkwithin
which to consider the impact of changes in the core on the securityof the
periphery.The identity'Third World' signifiedan oppositionalstanceto the
West and generatedthe distinctiveideologies of Non-Alignment and tiersmondisme.But in the centre-peripheryperspective,the aspirations of the
peripheryare more collaborationistthan confrontational.It is betterto be the
lowest member of the centrethan the highestof the periphery.
Changes in the centre
In order to understandthe securityconsequences of being in the periphery
during the firstdecade of the twenty-first
century,one firstneeds some sense
of thechangesat thecentre.At thisearlystagein thenew era one can withsome
confidencesuggestfour definingfeaturesfor the new patternof great-power
relations.
1. The riseof a multipolar
in place oftheCold War's bipolarone
powerstructure
The term 'superpower' has dominatedthe language of power politicsfor so
many decades thatone is leftflounderingforwofds to describethe new power
structurethatis emerging.The precipitateeconomic and politicaldeclineof the
Soviet Union has clearly removed it from this category, despite its still
formidablemilitarystrength.The decline of the United Stateshas been much
less severe,arguablyleaving it as the last superpower.But the rise of Europe,
particularlytheconsolidationof theEuropean Communityas an economic and
politicalentity,largelyremoves(and in thecase of theSoviet Union inverts)the
spheres of influencethat were one of the key elements in the claim to
superpowerstatus.6It seemstimeto revivetheterm'great power '. Ifone thinks
how this term was used before I945, Russia still qualifies. So do China and
India, which mightbe seen as the contemporaryequivalentsof regional great
powers such as Italy, Austria-Hungaryor the Ottoman Empire before I9I4.
Despite theirpolitical oddities,Japan and the EC are strongcandidates,albeit
stillmore obviously in the economic thanin the militaryand politicalspheres.
The United Statesis undoubtedlythe greatestof the great powers. The term
superpower,however,seemsno longer appropriatein a multipolarworld with
so many independentcentresof power and so few spheresof influence.
If one moves away from the strictrealist (and neo-realist)conception of
power as aggregatedcapabilities(i.e. military,economic and politicalstrength
all together),7and towards the disaggregatedview of power taken by those
6

See BarryBuzan,MortenKelstrup,
PierreLemaitre,ElzbietaTromerand Ole Wever, TheEuropean
order
security
recast:scenariosfor
thepost-ColdWarera(London:Pinter,I990).
KennethN. Waltz, Theory
ofinternational
politics
(Reading,Mass.: Addison-Wesley,
I979),
pp. I29-3I.

434

New patterns
ofglobal security
who thinkmore in termsof interdependence,8
thenglobal multipolaritystands
out even more clearly. The militaryinhibitionsof Japan and the political
loosenessof Europe count forless in relationto theirstandingas major poles of
strengthand stabilityin theglobal politicaleconomy. Althoughnot all six great
powers are withinthe global core, multipolaritysuggestsa centrethatis both
less rigid and less sharply divided within itself than under bipolarity. A
multipolarcentrewill be more complex and more fluid,and may well allow
for the developmentof militarilyhesitantgreatpowers. If militarythreatsare
low, such powers can afford-as Japannow does and as the United Statesdid
beforeI94I-to
resttheirmilitarysecurityon theirabilityto mobilize massive
civil economies.
A multi-centredcore offersmore competing points of contact for the
periphery.At the same time, the shiftfromtwo superpowersto several great
powers should mean both a reduction in the intensityof global political
concernsand a reductionin the resourcesavailable for sustainedintervention.
This in turnpointsto the riseof regionalpolitics.Because the greatpowers are
spread across several regions and do not include a dominatingideological or
power rivalrywithintheirranks,theywill project theirown conflictsinto the
peripherymuch less forcefullyand systematicallythan under the zero-sum
regimeof the Cold War. Because regionsare less constrainedby the impact of
theirconflictson the global scorecardof two rival superpowers,local rivalries
and antagonismswill probablyhave more autonomy.Local greatpowers such
as India, China and perhaps Brazil should also find their regional influence
increased.

2.

A muchlowerdegreeof ideologicaldivisionand rivalry

Complementingthe structurallooseness of the new centreis a much reduced


level of ideological conflict.The twentiethcenturymight well go down in
historyas the era of wars between the greatpowers about industrialideology.
During thisshortcentury,wars unleashedideological rivalriesand ideological
rivalries unleashed wars-both 'hot' and 'cold'. The firstround of war,
startingin I9I4, gave birthto fascistand communiststate challengersto the
liberalcapitalistWest. Aftersome uncertaintyof alignment,the second round
saw the Western and communist powers combining in I94I to eliminate
fascismas a seriousideological player.The thirdround (of cold war) saw a long
period in which the militaryparalysisof nucleardeterrenceput theemphasison
competitionin arms racing, technologicalinnovation,economic growth and
societal attractiveness.This competition ended peacefullyin I989 with the
comprehensivecollapse of the communistchallengein the face of a decisively
superiorWesternperformance.
The defeatof fascismand communismas alternativeideologies foradvanced
industrialsocietyhas been so definitivethatit is hard to imagineeitherof them
8

Buzan, Jones and Little, The logicofanarchy,


section one.

435

BarryBuzan
revivingtheirchallenge.Liberal capitalism,with all itswell-knownfaults,now
commands a broad consensus as the most effectiveand desirable form of
political economy available. The difficultformula of political pluralismplus
marketeconomics has many critics,but no serious rivals. This development
means thatthe centreis less ideologicallydivided withinitselfthanit has been
since the firstspread of industrialization.In conjunction with the shiftto
multipolarity,this further reduces political and military incentives for
competitiveinterventioninto the periphery.

3. The global dominance


of a security
community
amongtheleadingcapitalist
powers
As thealliancestructures
of the Cold War dissolveinto irrelevance- the Soviet
ones much fasterthan the Western-a looming void seems to be appearingat
theheartof theinternationalsecuritysystem.The decliningsalienceof military
threatsamong the great powers makes it unlikelythat thisvoid will be filled
by new alliances, especially if the European union is viewed as a single
internationalactor (even thoughit is stillwell shortof being a singlesovereign
state).Indeed, the main militarystructureof thenew era requiresthe viewer to
lensesforit to come clearlyinto focus,forit is inversein form
put on different
to traditionalalliance structures.
The dominantfeatureof thepost-Cold War era is a security
community
among
the major centresof capitalistpower. This means a group of statesthatdo not
expect, or prepare for, the use of militaryforce in theirrelationswith each
other.9This is a different
and in some ways more profoundquality than the
collectiveexpectationand preparationto use forceagainstsomeone else thatis
the essence of alliance relationships.During the Cold War this security
communitygrew up within,and in itslatterdaysit was maskedby, or disguised
as, the Westernalliance system.The capitalistpowers had good reasonto form
an alliance against the communiststates.But equally importantis that they
developed independentand increasinglydominantreasonsforeliminatingthe
use of militaryforcein theirrelationswith each other.The factthattheywere
able to expunge militaryrivalryfromtheirown relationswas a major factorin
their ability to see off the communist challenge without a 'hot' war. The
communistpowers were conspicuouslyunsuccessfulin establishinga similar
securitycommunitywithintheirown bloc.
The existenceof thiscapitalistsecuritycommunity-in effect,
Europe, North
America, Japan and Australia, standing back to back-gives the Western
powers an immenseadvantagein theglobal politicaleconomy. Because theydo
not have to competewitheach othermilitarily,theycan meet otherchallengers
more easily,whethersinglyor collectively.The relativeease with which the
United Stateswas able to constructa military(and financial)coalition to take
9 Karl Deutsch and S. A. Burrell, Politicalcommunity
and theNorthAtlanticarea (Princeton, NJ:
Princeton UniversityPress, I957).

436

New patterns
ofglobal security
on Iraq shows both the potentialof such a securitystructureand how it might
work to meet otherperipherychallengesto the stabilityof the global political
economy.
The example of the Second Gulf War suggestsa model of concentriccircles
to complementand modifythe raw centre-periphery
idea. In the centrecircle
stood theUnited States,which was willingto lead only iffollowed and to fight
only if given wide support and assistance.In the second circle were others
prepared to fight-some members of the centre (principally Britain and
France), and othersof the periphery(principallyEgypt and Saudi Arabia). In
thethirdcirclewere thosepreparedto pay but not to fight,primarily
Japanand
Germany.In the fourthcirclewere those preparedto supportbut not to fight
or pay. This group was large, and containedthose preparedto vote and speak
in favour of the action, some of whom (such as Denmark) also sentsymbolic
militaryforces.It also includedthe Soviet Union and China as well as a mixture
of centreand peripherystates.The fifthcirclecontainedthosestatessatisfiedto
be neutral,neithersupportingnor opposing theventure,but preparedto accept
UN Security Council resolutions.Within these five circles stood the great
majorityof theinternationalcommunity,and all themajor powers. In thesixth
circle were those prepared to oppose, mainly verbally and by voting. This
containedCuba, Jordan,Yemen, and a numberof Arab states. In the seventh
circle stood those preparedto resist-Iraq.
This model does not offera hard image of the future.It is not a permanent
coalition, nor is it likely to recur. But it does suggest the general nature of
securityrelationsin a centre-dominatedworld, the mechanismsavailable, and
the ability of the centre to isolate aggressorswho threatenthe recognized
political order and the workingsof the global economy.
The capitalistsecuritycommunitythatunderpinnedthis coalition acts as a
major moderator to the new multipolar power structure.One danger of
multipolarity(at least in its pre-I945, pre-nuclearmanifestations)was that a
shiftingbalance of power, driven by a plethora of antagonismsand security
dilemmas,would generateunstablepatternsof alliance and periodiclapsesinto
great-powerwars. But a multipolarsystemin which the threestrongestpowers
are also a strongsecuritycommunityis somethingquite new, and should defuse
or perhapseven eliminatemost of theseold hazards.In the inelegantjargon of
systemstheory,one could describe the new structureof power relationsas
multipolarin the sense thatseveralindependentgreatpowers are in play, but
unipolarized in the sense that thereis a single dominant coalition governing
internationalrelations. It is the single coalition that gives force to the
model and makes the new situationunique.
centre-periphery
4. The strengthening
of international
society
This last definingfeatureof the new centreis the least certainof the four,but
it is a plausible product of the other three. Hedley Bull and Adam Watson
definedinternationalsocietyas:
437

BarryBuzan
a groupof independent
a groupof states(or, moregenerally,
politicalcommunities)
in thesensethatthebehaviourofeachis a necessary
whichnotmerelyforma system,
butalsohaveestablished
factorinthecalculations
oftheothers,
bydialogueandconsent
and recognizetheir
commonrulesand institutions
fortheconductof theirrelations,
in maintaining
commoninterest
thesearrangements.10
The distinctionbetween systemand societyis central.Systemis the more basic
and prior idea, as it is inherentin the significantinteractionamong states.
Societycan be seen as a historicalresponseto theexistenceof a system.As states
recognizethepermanenceand importanceof theirinterdependence,
theybegin
to work out rules for avoiding unwanted conflictsand for facilitatingdesired
exchanges.As Bull argues,internationalsocietyis thusclosely associatedwith
theidea of internationalorder,where ordermeans'an arrangementof social life
such thatit promotescertaingoals or values.91
The foundationof moderninternationalsocietyis themutualrecognitionby
statesof each other'sclaim to sovereignty.This establishesthemas legal equals
and provides the foundation for diplomatic relations. The top end of
contemporaryinternationalsociety is the whole range of institutionsand
regimeswith which groups of statescoordinatetheirbehaviour in pursuitof
common goals. Some of these institutionsand regimes are already nearly
universal-the United Nations, the Law of the Sea regime,the nuclear nonproliferationregime. Others, such as the European Community, have been
more restricted.But the EC, though only regionalin scope, has now become
so deeply institutionalizedthat many are beginningto see it more as a single
actor than as a systemof states. During the Cold War the Western states
establisheda particularlyrichinternationalsocietalnetworkof institutions
and
regimesto facilitatetherelativelyopen economic and societalrelationsthatthey
wished to cultivate.These included the IMF, theWorld Bank, the OECD, the
GATT and theGroup of Seven. As a rule,thedevelopmentofglobalinstitutions
and regimeswas obstructedby the Cold War, almostthe only exceptionbeing
superpowercooperationin the promotion of nuclearnon-proliferation.
With
theendingof the Cold War and of thesystemicdominanceof theWest, it does
not seem unreasonable to expect the extension of the Western networks
towards more universalstanding.Old Marxian argumentsthat the capitalists
were keptunitedonly by theircommon fearof communismseem to have been
overriddenby the global scale and deep interdependenceof earlytwenty-firstcenturycapitalism.The eagernessof theex-Soviet-typesystemstojoin theclub
is a strongpointertowardsconsolidationof Westernregimes,as is thedramatic
upgradingof theUN SecurityCouncil as a focusforglobal consensus-building
and legitimationseen in the Gulf crisis.If thisoccurs,a strongerinternational
society, largely reflectingWestern norms and values, will be a powerful
elementin the securityenvironmentof the periphery.
1

HedleyBull and Adam Watson,eds., Theexpansion


ofinternational
society
(Oxford:OxfordUniversity
Press,I984), p. I; see also Buzan,People,statesandfear,
ch. 4.
" HedleyBull, Theanarchical
society
(London: Macmillan,I977), ch. i.

438

New patternsofglobal security


These four developmentsat the centrewill reshape the way in which the
centredominatesthe periphery.In general,they seem likely to diminishthe
standingand the influenceof the peripherystates.
Implications for the periphery
These massive changes in securityrelationswithin the centrewill have both
directand indirecteffects
on securitywithintheperiphery.There will of course
be many continuities,especially in the locally rooted dynamics of regional
security,whose patternsof amity,enmityand rivalrydo not depend on input
fromthe centre.12But as suggestedabove, many aspectsof relationsbetween
centreand peripherywill change. It is usefulto look at thesechangesin terms
of the five sectorsof securitysketchedabove.
1. Politicalsecurity
Perhaps the most obvious political impact of the end of the Cold War is the
demiseof bothpower bipolarityand ideological rivalryas centralfeaturesof the
centre'spenetrationinto the periphery.One immediateconsequence of thisis
to lower thevalue of peripherycountriesas eitherideological spoilsor strategic
assetsin great-powerrivalry.During the Cold War, Third World alignments
were important symbols of success and failure in the global competition
between the United Statesand the Soviet Union. This factgave Third World
governmentsa usefullever on the divided centre,thoughit also exposed them
to unwanted interventionin theirown domesticinstabilities.In the unfolding
order of the twenty-first
centurythere will be little or no ideological or
strategicincentivefor great powers to compete for Third World allegiance.
This loss of leverage will be accompanied by the loss of Non-alignmentas a
usefulpoliticalplatformfortheperiphery.Non-alignmentwas a reactionto the
Cold War and provided many Third World eliteswith a moral and political
positionfromwhich to play in the game of world politics.But with theending
of the Cold War, thereis no longera divided centreto be Non-aligned against.
Further,many peripherystateshave found the legitimacyof theirone-party
systemsunderminedby the collapse of communism.So long as the communist
statessustainedtheirchallengeto theWest, theyopened up a politicalspace for
authoritarian
Third World governments.The existenceof a Soviet superpower
made centralizedstatecontrola legitimateformof governmentelsewhere,and
forthoseThird World stateseager to take
provided a handy complementarity
up anti-Western,post-colonial postures.With the conceding by the leading
communistpower of the virtuesof pluralismand markets,thispolitical space
has narrowedsharply.Anti-Westernism
now has no great-powersupporterand
no convincingalternativepoliticalmodel. It remainsan open questionwhether
in theunstableand in many
pluralismwill fareany betterthanauthoritarianism
12

See Buzan,People, statesandfear, ch. 5.

439

BarryBuzan
ways unpromisingpoliticalenvironmentof many Third World states.Theory
does not tellus much about the relativevirtuesof democraticversuscommand
approaches to the early stages of state-building.Experience stronglysuggests
that state-buildingis a tricky,difficult,
long-termand oftenviolent business
underany circumstances-especiallyso forpoorly placed and poorly endowed
latecomersunderpressureto conformto normsthathave alreadybeen reached
naturallyby more powerfulstatesin the internationalsystem.
A further
blow to thepoliticalpositionof manyperipherystatescomes from
the fact that the twentiethcenturywas also the main era of decolonization.
Decolonization was a high point in the epic and on-going struggleof the rest
of the world to come to termswith the intrusionof superiorWesternpower.
A more difficultperiod is now in prospect in which the euphoria of
has reasserted
independencehas faded and the realityof continuedinferiority
itself. As the twenty-first
century unfolds, with the West in a dominant
position,it will become fortheperipherystatesthepost-decolonizationera. For
most Afro-Asiancountriesdecolonizationnow lies one or two generationsin
the past and is thereforebeyond the personalexperienceof a large and rapidly
growingproportionof thepopulation.As decolonizationrecedesinto a former
era, becoming old ratherthan recenthistory,the distanceof many periphery
governmentsis increasedfromthe event thatnot only definedtheircountries
but also provided them with a convenient,and sometimesjustified,excuse for
the many failingsin theirpoliticaland economic performance.As decolonization becomes remote,many governmentsin theperipherywill findthemselves
increasinglylabouring under the weight of their often dismal performance
record, without the support of the colonial rationalizationsthat might once
to evade or parrythe
have forgivenit. They will findit increasinglydifficult
risingcontemptof both foreignersand theirown citizens.Only thosefew that
such as Taiwan and South Korea, can
have made it into the semi-periphery,
escape thisfate.
Particularlyin Africaand the Middle East, peripherystatesmay also findit
difficult
to sustainthelegitimacyof thecolonial boundariesthathave so signally
failed to define viable states. The Cold War ran in parallel with the
development of a strongnorm cultivatedin the UN that global boundaries
should remain very largelyfixed in theirpostwar,post-colonialpattern.This
norm has even been reinforcedby the Organization of AfricanUnity, a body
whose membershipcomprisesstateswhose colonial boundariesare among the
most arbitraryin the internationalsystem.As James Mayall has noted, this
attemptto freezethe politicalmap is unprecedented,and 'at least so faras the
territorial
divisionof theworld is concerned,seemsunlikelyto be successful
'.13
Although thereis no clear link between the Cold War and the attemptto fix
boundaries,the ending of the Cold War is opening up boundary questionsin
a rathermajor way. The two Germanieshave been unified-eliminatinga state,
13

James Mayall, Nationalismand international


society(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, I990), p.
56; and JeffreyHerbst, 'Liberalization and the African state system', paper for SSRC conferenceon
foreignpolicy consequences of liberalization,San Diego, CA, Mar. I99I.

440

New patternsofglobal security


reassertinga nationalistpolitical principle, and dissolving the most potent
boundaryof the Cold War. Strongrevisionistpressuresexistwithinthe Soviet
Union and EasternEurope (and especially,but not only, Yugoslavia) eitherto
redrawboundariesor to redefinetheirsignificance.The consolidationof theEC
can also be read as an exercise in changing the significance,though not the
position,of boundaries.
These changesat the centrehave littledirectconsequence forthe periphery,
but their symbolic consequences may be large. It is notable that Saddam
Hussein's attemptto eliminateKuwait and more broadly to unifythe Arab
world was an explicitassaulton thepost-colonialboundaries.Arab nationalism
and Islamic communalismmake a heady anti-Westernpoliticalbrew thatcould
wash away territorialboundaries stronglyassociated with the divisions and
humiliations of colonization. If the territorialjigsaw can be extensively
reshapedin the Firstand Second Worlds, it will become harderto resistthe
pressuresto tryto findmore sensibleand congenial territorialarrangementsin
the ex-Third World. It is not yet clear whether it is the norm of fixed
boundariesthatis under assaultor only the practicein specificlocations.But it
is clear that this norm is vulnerable to the counter-normof national selfon boundary change have been
determination,and thatsome of the restraints
weakened by the ending of the Cold War.
A furtherpossible impact of changes in the centreon the political security
agenda of the peripheryis the pushing of Islam to the frontrank of the
opposition to Westernhegemony. The collapse of communismas the leading
anti-Westernideology seemsto propelIslam into thisrole by default,and many
exponents of Islam will embrace the task with relish. The anti-Western
credentialsof Islam are well establishedand speak to a large and mobilized
politicalconstituency.In partthiscan be seen as a straightclashbetweensecular
and spiritual values, albeit underpinned by an older religious antagonism
between Christendomand Islam."4In part,however,it has to be seen as a kind
of civilizationalresistanceto the hegemonyof the West. Islam is centredin the
only one of the four classical areas of power and civilization that has not
world actorsincethe retreatof the
managed to re-establishitselfas a significant
Westernempires.Both Chinese and Hindu civilizationshave consolidatedlarge
and quite powerful stateswhich give them at least an acceptable position in
internationalsociety.The Middle East-which is the oldest core of civilization
and which has been a major centre of international power for five
millennia-remains divided, fractiousand weak.
Given this combined legacy of historical frustrationand ideological
antagonism,Islam could become the leading carrierof anti-Westernsentiment
in the periphery-though it could just as easily be kept impotent by the
fiercenessof its own numerousinternalsplitsand rivalries.But since the West
now dominatesthe centre,while Islam has a large constituencyin Africaand
Asia, this old divide may neverthelessdefine a major political riftbetween
North and South in the coming decades. If it does, one resultwill be a security
14 See Edward Mortimer, 'Christianity and Islam', International
Affairs67:I

(I99I),

pp.

7-I3.

44I

BarryBuzan
problem for Europe and the Soviet Union/Russia, for both share a huge
territorialboundary with Islam, and in the case of the Soviet Union this
boundary is inside the country.The securityissuesraised may or may not be
militaryones, but they will certainlybe societal-an aspect to be explored
furtherbelow.
2.

Militarysecurity

Developments in the centrecan easily be read as pointing to a lowering of


in theperiphery.A lessideologicallydividedand more multipolar
militarization
centre will have less reason to compete politically to supply arms to the
periphery.The ending of the Cold War reducesthe strategicsalienceof many
militarybases in the periphery,and lowers incentivesto use arms supply as a
way of curryingideological favourwith local governments.The outcomes of
domesticand even regionalpoliticalrivalrieswithintheperipheryshould,other
thingsbeing equal, be of lessinterestto the greatpowers thanpreviously.In the
absence of ideological disputesamong themselves,the greatpowers will have
fewerreasonsto see peripherystatesas assets,and more reasonsto see them as
liabilities.The ending of the Cold War thus largely turns off the political
mechanismthatso effectively
pumped armsinto the Third World all through
the I960s, I970S and I98os. In places where great-power interventionin
regionalconflictswas veryheavy (as in south-eastAsia) or wheretheideological
constructionof the Cold War stronglyunderpinneda local conflict(as in
Southern Africa) the ending of the Cold War points to an easing of local
and a significantmediatoryrole for the greatpowers.
militaryconfrontations
But thisprospectraisesan importantquestion about whetherthe West will
use its new pre-eminenceto neglectthe Third World, or whetherit will seek
to subjectit to strongercollectivesecurityand regional managementregimes.
At the time of writing,thisquestionis an open one. The longer-termoutcome
of the Gulf crisiswill powerfullyaffectwhich directionis taken. If the allied
interventionis eventuallyseen to be a successat a reasonablecost,and does not
give riseto long-termchaos in the region,a precedentwill have been set fora
more managerialand interventionist
global collectivesecurityregime. Under
such conditionsthe sanctityof existingboundaries would be reinforced,and
peripheryleadershipsput on notice that while broad tolerance for internal
nastinesswould continue,effortsto change internationalboundariesby force
would be firmlyresisted.The United Nations SecurityCouncil would become
a clearinghouse and legitimatorfor a global collectivesecurityregime.
But ifthe outcome is messy,costly,and judged a failure,thenthe West may
well take a more isolationistview of the periphery,puttingup the shuttersand
leavingit more or lessto itsown devices.Under theseconditions,local rivalries
and power balances would come into play withouteven the restraintimposed
by the global interventionismof the Cold War. The local roots of many
regionalrivalries,especiallyin South Asia and the Middle East, are so deep that
the ending of the Cold War in the centrewill make littledifference
to them.
442

New patternsofglobalsecurity
A loweringof great-powerconcernand engagementwould by definitiongive
more leverage to local powers to reshape the political environmentof their
regions.
This scenarioof neglect cannot be pushed too far.Among otherthings,an
abiding interestin oil will keep the West engaged in the Middle East. There
must also be a concern that too detached an attitudetowards the periphery
might eventually,perhaps even quickly, generatemilitarythreatsfrom these
countriesto the centre.Both these interestswere at play in the response to
Saddam Hussein. Whether the centre attemptscomprehensiveor selective
interventionin the periphery,two specificmilitarysecurityissuesarise either
way-control of the arms trade, and the strengtheningof the nuclear nonproliferationregime.
The nuclearnon-proliferation
regimehas attractedverywide supportdespite
itsinherentinequalityas a small club of nuclearhaves and a large one of havenots. Inasmuch as one of the key tensionswithin it was the failureof the
superpowersto make much progresstowardstheirown nucleardisarmament,
the ending of the Cold War and the consequentmassivereductionsin strategic
forcesshould point to a strengthening
of the regime. The successor failureof
thisregime will have a big impact both on securitywithinthe peripheryand
on militaryrelationsbetween centre and periphery.Iraq's obvious nuclear
ambitionsunderlinethe salienceof the issue,but at thisjuncturethe fateof the
non-proliferation
regime is unclear.
Several thingsfavoura consolidationof the regimeas the Non-Proliferation
Treatyapproachesits I995 renewalconference.UN organizationsgenerallyare
emergingfromthe Cold War twilightinto sunniertimes.The winding down
of the nucleararmsrace at the centrereduces,thoughby no means eliminates,
the tensionbetween haves and have-nots.In Latin America,the once worriedabout nuclear rivalry between Brazil and Argentina is evolving steadily
towards a regional inspectionregime along the lines of Euratom. In South
Africa,once a key thresholdstate,it seemshighlyunlikelythatthewhiteregime
eitherneeds thereassuranceof nuclearweapons any longer,or wantsto takethe
riskof having to hand controlof them over to a black-led government.Civil
nuclear power remainsin the doldrums,which much reducesan independent
pressureforthespreadof militarilysignificant
civil technology.Even in France,
which has been the most vigorous promoter of civil nuclear power,
technological and economic problems are mounting alarmingly.15 If the
economic complementarity
betweencivil and militarynuclearpower collapses,
leaving the militarysectorunsupportedby a civil one, the costsof maintaining
large-scalemilitarynuclear power will rise.
But there are other developmentsthat put even the existingregime into
jeopardy. In South Asia, both India and Pakistan are on the brink of going
public as nuclear powers, and almost no one doubts that Israel is already a
nuclear-weaponsstate. The fictionof a closed club of five nuclear-weapons
statesthus cannot be maintained,but neitheris it obvious how the change to
15

TheEconomist,
2 Feb.

I99I,

pp. 73-4.

443

BarryBuzan
eight can be incorporatedinto the regime without seeming to reward noncomplianceand open thefloodgatesto otherclaims.Even more seriousin some
ways is the problem of what to do about violatorswithinthe regime. Libya's
leader makes calls for an Arab nuclear weapon which Saddam Hussein was
doing his best to fulfil.It is hard to imagine thatIran would not 'eat grass', as
Pakistan did, in order to match the nuclear capability of its main regional
enemy should Saddam Hussein be able to re-embarkon his previous course.
While Iraq is temporarilydown, Algeria has become a focus of speculationas
the source for an Arab bomb."6 Meanwhile North Korea soldiers on with
suspiciousnuclear activitieswhile continuingto evade its legal obligation to
conclude a safeguardsagreementwith the IAEA. These challengesfromwithin
raiseseriousquestionsabout thelong-termviabilityof theregimein theabsence
of some firmermechanisms for enforcement,either through the Security
Council or unilaterallyin the styleof both the Israeliand Anglo-Americanair
attackson Iraqi nuclear facilities.
On top of theseparticularproblems sitsa more general one arisingfroma
disputebetween non-nuclear-weaponsand nuclear-weaponsstatesover moves
towards a comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty. At the I990 Review
Conference a serious split developed on this issue, with Mexico leading
demands for a strong,fixed-termcommitmentby the nuclear-weaponsstates
to a comprehensivetest-bantreaty,and the United Statesand Britainarguing
the need for continuedundergroundtesting.This disputewas seriousenough
to wreck what would otherwisehave been a productive and positive final
document.If pushedtoo far,it could have seriousconsequencesfortherenewal
of the NPT in 1995.
Greatercontrolof the conventionalarms trade between the centreand the
peripheryis anotherdevelopmentthatmightbe expected fromthe end of the
Cold War, but the likelihood is thattwo powerfulmechanismswill continue
to supporta substantialflow of militarycapabilityinto the periphery.The first
is the armstrade,drivenby an ever-increasing
numberof suppliers,most eager
and some desperateto sell theirproducts.In the fiercecommercialcompetition
of the post-Cold War world, arms exports will remain one of the very few
industrialareas of comparativeadvantage for the Soviet Union and China, as
well as some smallerstatessuch as Czechoslovakia. The implicationsof thiscan
already be seen in China's willingnessduring the I980s to sell almost any
militarytechnology(includingnuclear-capableballisticmissiles)to almost any
buyer.This logic also appliesin lesserdegree to Britain,Franceand the United
States. These three struggle to compete with Japan and Germany in civil
manufactures,but have an easier time in the militarymarket, where old
wartimehangoversgreatlyrestrict
Japaneseand German participation.All five
arms
face
major
producers
shrinkingdomesticdemand as a resultof the end of
the Cold War, and so need exports to sustain their militaryindustries.In
addition,severalindustrializingcountriesincludingBrazil, India, South Korea,
Israeland South Africaincreasinglyhave the means and the will to compete in
16

SundayTimes,28 Apr. I99I.

444

New patternsofglobalsecurity
the arms trade. Competition among suppliers,combined with strongdemand
pull and the sheerdiversityof sourcesof supply,make any systematiccontrol
of the arms trade unlikely.
The second mechanismarisesfromthe unbreakablelinkbetween industrialization and the ability to make weapons. Industrializationis spreading
inexorablyacross the planet,and all but the most extremeGreenswelcome it
as an essentialingredientin the development of human civilization.But the
armsindustryis not separatefromthe civil economy: thinkof how the United
Statestransformed
itselffrombeing a largelycivileconomy to being thearsenal
of democracyin just a few yearsduringthe I940s. In the I99Os, many of the
technologiesfor making weapons are now old. The knowledge and skillsfor
makingpoison gas and machineguns were developed more thana centuryago,
and even nucleartechnologydates back nearlyhalfa century.As technologies
age, theybecome easierto acquire even forlightlyindustrializedcountriessuch
as Iraq.
The overlap between civil and militarytechnologyis especiallyobvious in
the case of the nuclearand chemicalindustries,but also applies to engineering,
vehicles, aircraftand shipbuilding. In all these industries,there is fierce
competitionto export both productsand manufacturingplant. Any country
possessinga fullcivil nuclear power industryhas virtuallyeverythingit needs
to make a nuclearbomb. Any countrythatcan make basic industrialchemicals
can also make poison gas. Any that can make fertilizercan make high
explosives. Whoever can make trucks, bulldozers or airliners can make
armoured cars, tanks and bombers. The concern over Iraq, Libya, Israel,
Pakistan,South Africa,Brazil and other stateshas as much to do with their
industrializaon as with theirdirectimportsof arms, and thereis no way of
capabilityinto the periphery.Any
stopping the spread of industrial-military
attemptto do so would put the goal of arms restraintinto directopposition
with that of economic development.
The combined effectof the arms trade and industrializationmeans that
militarycapabilitywill spread by one mechanismor the other. Attemptsto
as they
block the arms trade will intensifyeffortsat militaryindustrialization,
did in South Africa,so adding to the numberof armssuppliers.The industrial
genie, with its militaryprogeny, is permanentlyout of the bottle. As a
consequence,militarysecuritywill remainan elusive objective posing difficult
policy choices. The ending of the Cold War should resultin some diminution
of the flow of armsforpoliticalmotives,but thereis no reasonto thinkthatit
will eliminatethe problem of militarizationin the periphery.Any regimewith
access to cash will stillhave access to suppliesof modern weapons.
3. Economicsecurity
If economic securityis about access to the resources,finance and markets
necessaryto sustain acceptable levels of welfare and state power, then the
massivepoliticalchanges of the past few yearsmay well make littledifference
445

BarryBuzan
to the economic securityproblems of the periphery.The idea of economic
securityis riddled with contradictionsand paradoxes."7These are indicatedin
the cruel truthcapturedby the aphorism,'The only thingworse than being
exploited is not being exploited'. To the extentthatit has any clear meaning
in relationto peripherycountries,economic securitypoints to the persistent
structuraldisadvantagesof late developmentand a positionin the lower ranks
of wealthand industrialization.
The consequencesof such weaknessrangefrom
inabilityto sustain the basic human needs of the population (as in Sudan,
Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Liberia), through the disruption of fluctuatingand
uncertainearnings from exports of primaryproducts (as in Zambia, Peru,
Nigeria), to inabilityto resistthe policy pressuresof outside institutionsin
returnforneeded suppliesof capital (as in Brazil, Argentina,Tanzania). There
seems no reason to expect any fundamentalchange in the overall problem of
the peripheryin occupying a weak position in a global marketwhose prices,
trade,financeand technicalevolution are all controlledfromthe centre.
The periphery,in otherwords, will remainthe periphery.Some argue that
itspositionwill continueto deterioratebecause of decliningcommodityprices,
greater divergence of interestamong the developing countries,successful
strategiesby the centreto divide and rule, the acute vulnerabilityof the debt
crisis,and the loss of comparative advantage from cheap labour to smart
automationtechnologyin the advanced industrialcountries.18
The politicallooseningand diffusionof power withinthe centremay evolve
into a seriesof regionaleconomic spherescentredon Europe,Japanand North
America. But it is not clear thatbeing transferred
froma global peripheryinto
a regionalone would make much difference
eitherto the structuralpositionor
to the economic securityof most peripherycountries.It mightalso be argued
thateconomic aid will dwindle as the Cold War political motivesthatfuelled
it subsideand as Westerncapital turnsto the redevelopmentof the ex-Soviettype systems.Westernattitudesalready point towards a futurein which the
allocation of aid and investmentis conditional more on the rectitude of
economic policy than on fading notions of strategicvalue. Against this,
however, standtwo new motivesforaid. One is environmentaland the other
societal.The peripherywill increasinglybe able to call on theself-interest
of the
centrein relationto the meetingof global environmentalstandards.They will
also be able to threatenthe centrewith unwanted migrationunless welfare
standardsare maintained and development prospectskept alive. Both these
levers are discussedin more detail below, and togetherthey may well suffice
to maintainor even increasethe flow of economic aid.
It is not impossibleto imagine thatin some partsof the periphery,notably
those where both importedstate structuresand economic developmenthave
failedtotally,theremay evolve a kind of de factoinstitutionalrecolonization,
thoughsome more diplomatictermwill need to be foundto describeit. There
are many potentialcandidatesforthisin Africa,and some in South and South17

18

Buzan, People, statesandfear, ch. 6.


Ravenhill, 'The North-South balance of power', pp. 73I-48.

446

New patternsofglobal security


East Asia, Central America and the Caribbean. Given the waning of postdecolonizationsensitivities
about independence,the harshrealitiesof economic
and political failureand the strengtheningglobal institutionsof a Westerndominated internationalsociety,a subtle returnto 'managed' statusfor the
most hopeless peripherystatesmay well occur. There are hintsof thisin the
internationalschemes for Cambodia and in the influenceof IMF and World
Bank 'advisers' in many places. Bangladesh,forexample, depends on the IMF
and foreign aid for all its development budget and some of its current
Even iftheywere successful,such efforts
could at bestbringthe
consumption.19
worst peripherystatesup to the point at which they could compete in the
internationaleconomy.
4. Societalsecurity
Societal securityis likely to become a much more prominentissue between
centreand periphery,and withinboth, than it has been duringthe Cold War
era. Societal securityis about the threatsand vulnerabilitiesthataffectpatterns
of communal identityand culture. The two issues most prominentlyon its
agenda at the beginning of the twenty-firstcentury in centre-periphery
relationsare migration20and the clash of rival civilizationalidentities.
Migration threatenscommunal identityand cultureby directlyalteringthe
ethnic,culturalreligious and linguisticcomposition of the population. Most
societieshave resultedfromearlierhuman migrationsand already representa
mixture. Many welcome, up to a point, the cultural diversitythat further
migrationbrings.But beyond some point, migrationbecomes a question of
numbers.Too great a foreigninfluxwill threatenthe abilityof the existing
societyto reproduce itselfin the old way, which can easily create a political
constituencyfor immigrationcontrol. Uncontrolled immigrationeventually
swamps the existing culture. This is one way of looking at the European
migrationsfromthesixteenthcenturyonwardsinto North and South America,
Australia,New Zealand and South Africa.It is what Estoniansand Kazaks fear
about Russians,Palestiniansfear about Jews (and vice versa), Baluchs about
Punjabis, Assamese about Bengalis, and so on.
For the past fivecenturiesit has been mostlymigratingEuropeans thathave
posed threats(and not just societal ones) to otherpeoples. A residuumof this
remainsin the culturalimpact of mass tourism.2"But at the beginningof the
twenty-first
centuryincentivesare risingformore permanentmass population
movementsin the other direction,from peripheryto centre.The advanced
industrialculturesof Europe and North Americahave low birthratesand high,
often rising standardsof living. Immediately to their south lie dozens of
peripherycountrieswith high birthrates and low, oftenfallingstandardsof
Mar. I99I, p. 58.
Affairs66:4 (I990),
Jonas Widgren, 'International migration and regional stability', International
749-66; Francois Heisbourg, 'Population movements in post-Cold War Europe', Survival 33:I

19 The Economist,2
20

21

(I99I),

pp.

pp.

3I-43.

For a graphic and penetratingaccount of this phenomenon see Pico Iyer, Video nightin Kathmandu...
East (London: Black Swan, I989).
fromthe not-so-far
and otherreports

447

BarryBuzan
living. Substantialimmigrantcommunitiesfromthe South alreadyexistin the
North. Transportationis not a significant
barrier.The economic incentivesfor
large numbersof young people to move in search of work are high, and the
marketsof the centrehave a demand forcheap labour. As the Vietnameseboat
people demonstrated,even a substantialriskof deathor an unpleasantreception
are weak deterrentsto determinedeconomic migrants.High incentivesto
migrateare sustainedby the fadingof hopes thatpoliticalindependencewould
bring development and prosperity.In a few places these hopes have been
fulfilled,but most face a bleak futurein which they seem likely to fall ever
furtherbehind the still rapidly evolving political economies of the capitalist
centre.Some even facefallingbehindthedismalstandardsof theirown present.
An acute migration problem between societies can hardly avoid raising
barriersand tensions between them. In defending itselfagainst unwanted
human influx,a countryhas not only to constructlegal and physicalbarriersto
fromthe societywhose members
entry,but also to emphasizeitsdifferentiation
it seeks to exclude. Questions of statusand race are impossibleto avoid. The
treatmentof migrantsas a kind of criminal class creates easy ground for
antagonismbetween the societieson both sides.
The migrationproblem does not exist in isolation.It occurs alongside,and
mingledin with,theclashof rivalcivilizationalidentitiesbetweentheWest and
the societiesof the periphery.Here the threattravelsmostly in the opposite
direction,reflectingthe older order of Western dominance. It is much more
from the centre to the peripherythan the other way around, though the
existenceof immigrantcommunitieswithinthe centredoes mean thatthereis
some real threatfrom peripheryto centre,and a perceived threatof 'fifth
column' terrorism. The clash between civilizational identities is most
conspicuousbetween the West and Islam. As noted above, thisis partlyto do
with secular versus religious values, partly to do with the historicalrivalry
between Christendomand Islam,partlyto do withjealousy of Westernpower,
partlyto do with resentmentsover Western domination of the post-colonial
of theMiddle East,and partlyto do with thebitterness
and
politicalstructuring
humiliation of the invidious comparison between the accomplishmentsof
Islamic and Westerncivilizationduring the last two centuries.
The last point is true as between the West and all peripherysocieties.22By
its conspicuouseconomic and technologicalsuccess,the West makes all others
look bad (i.e. underdeveloped, or backward or poor, or disorganized or
repressive,or uncivilizedor primitive)and so erodestheirstatusand legitimacy.
The tremendousenergy,wealth,inventiveness
and organizationaldynamismof
the West, not to mentionits crassmaterialismand hollow consumerculture,
cannothelp but penetratedeeplyinto weakersocietiesworldwide. As it does so,
it both insertsalien styles,concepts, ideas and aspirations-'Coca-Colaization'-and corruptsor bringsinto questionthe validityand legitimacyof local
customs and identities.In the case of Islam, this threatis compounded by
22

Theodore von Laue, The worldrevolutionof Westernization:thetwentieth


centuryin global perspective
(New York: Oxford University Press, I987).

448

New patternsofglobal security


geographicaladjacency and historicalantagonismand also the overtlypolitical
role thatIslam playsin the lives of itsfollowers.Rivalrywith theWest is made
more potent by the fact that Islam is still itselfa vigorous and expanding
collectiveidentity.
In combination,migrationthreatsand the clash of culturesmake it rather
easy to draw a scenariofora kind of societal cold war between the centreand
at least part of the periphery,and specificallybetween the West and Islam, in
which Europe would be in thefrontline. There is no certaintythatthisscenario
will unfold,and much will depend on the performanceof (and supportgiven
to) moderategovernmentswithinthe Islamic world, but most of the elements
necessaryforit are alreadyin place. Whateverthe finaloutcome of the Second
Gulf War, it will certainlyleave behind it a vast reservoirof heated and easily
mobilized anti-Westernfeeling among the Arab and Islamic masses. The
resultingtensioncannotavoid feedinginto themigrationissue.It will, interalia,
increasefrictionbetween theexistingIslamicimmigrantcommunitiesand their
host societiesand help to legitimizea tougher attitudetowards immigration
controls,which might otherwisebe morallytroublingin liberal societies.
This civilizationalCold War could feed into the massive restructuring
of
relations going on within the centre consequent upon the ending of the
East-West Cold War. It could well help European political integration,by
providinga common foreignpolicy issue on which a strongconsensuswould
be easy to find. To the extent that it was seen as a securityissue, it would
confrontthe European Communitywith a challengewhich both fellwithinits
mandateand which it could handle withoutmuch help fromthe United States.
If therewas a generalheatingup of the boundarybetween 'Christendom' and
Islam, it would strengthenthe Europeanizing tendencieswithin the Soviet
Union and weaken thosefavouringa more isolationist,Slavophile,position.A
societalCold War with Islam would serveto strengthen
the European identity
all round at a crucial time for the process of European union. For all these
reasons and others,theremay well be a substantialconstituencyin the West
prepared not only to support a societal Cold War with Islam, but to adopt
policies thatencourage it.
Such a developmentwould put Turkey into an extremelycentralposition.
Turkey is anyway the naturalinsulatorbetween Europe and the Middle East,
not only geographically but also culturally (non-Arab) and ideologically
(Islamic,but with a strongsecularstatetradition).Its positionon the frontline
of a Europe-Islam Cold War would not be withouthazards,but it would fit
the country'srecenttraditionsand give it a greatlystrengthened
hand to play
in negotiatingits relationshipwith the European Community. A similarkind
of bufferrole is available for Mexico, though between North and Latin
Americatheissueis more purelya migrationone, and much lessa civilizational
Cold War, than is the case between Europe and the Middle East.
I have drawn particularattentionto societal securityproblems between
centreand periphery,but itis importantto note thatsuchissueswill also be very
much on securityagendas withinthe centreand withinthe periphery.Both the
449

BarryBuzan
European integrationproject and the breaking down of the Iron Curtain
between Eastern and Western Europe will unleash considerable migration
insidethe continent.Withintheperiphery,thereare alreadymassmigrationsin
theMiddle East and South Asia in searchof work and away fromconflict(both
illustratedby Iraq). In Bangladesh, the Horn of Africa,and South-EastAsia,
mass movementsare easilystimulatedby famine,war and politicalrepression.
The clash of civilizationalidentitiesis just as strongon the otherside of Islam,
where it abuts Hindu civilization,as between Islam and the West.
5. Environmental
security
Much of the environmentalagenda falls outside the realm of securityand is
more appropriatelyseen as an economic questionabout how thepollutioncosts
of industrialactivityare to be counted, controlled and paid for.23Where
environmentalissuesthreatento overwhelmthe conditionsof human existence
on a large scale, as in the case of countriesvulnerableto extensiveinundation
from modest rises in sea level, then casting such issues in securityterms is
appropriate.The recentfloodingof Bangladesh gives a small foretasteof what
could well be quite literallya risingtide of disaster.There may also be some
advantage in treatingas internationalsecurityissues activitiesthat may cause
substantialchangesin the workingsof the planetaryatmosphere.These might
includethemassproductionof greenhousegasesor chemicalssuchas CFCs that
erode the protectiveozone layer, or exploitativeor polluting activitiesthat
threatento diminishthe supply of oxygen to the atmosphereby killing off
forestsand plankton.
It seems safeto predictthatthiswhole agenda is going to risein importance
as the densityof human occupation of the planetincreases.It is much harderto
assesshow quicklythiswill happen and how intensethe pressureswill become.
If serious climatic changes begin to occur soon, this could easily become a
transcendentissue. Quite a few peripherycountriesare vulnerableto virtual
obliterationby sustaineddrought and desertification
or by risingsea levels.
Their abilityto cope with such changesis small,and the mass migrationsthat
would be triggeredwould quicklyfeedinto the societalissuesdiscussedabove.
Even lessdrasticchangesthatdid not threatenobliterationmightput such stress
on weak statestructures
as to cause politicalbreakdown,adding to thepressures
on boundary maintenance.
Barring such dramatic developments, environmentalissues look set to
become a regular featureof centre-peripherydialogues and tensions. The
holistic quality of the planetaryenvironmentwill provide the centre with
reasonsforwantingto intervenein theperipheryin thename of environmental
security.The peripherywill gain some politicalleverageout of thisinterest,and
will continueto blame theindustrializedcentreforhaving createdthe problem
in the firstplace. This exchange may well staywithinthe politicalframework
23

On the risksin the idea of environmentalsecurity,see Daniel Deudney, 'The case against linking
environmentaldegradation and national security', MillenniumI9:3 (I990), pp. 46i1-76.

450

New patternsofglobal security


of interdependence,below the thresholdof security.But it could also become
entangled with the broader debate about development in such a way as to
triggerseriousconflictsof interest.As othershave pointed out, environmental
issues,particularlycontrolover water supplies,look likelyto generatequite a
bit of local conflictwithinthe periphery.24
*

It is apparentfromthisbriefsurveythat the securityagenda of the periphery


fromthe one
different
countriesin the I99OS and beyond will be significantly
centre
by one
of
a
polarized
we have been used to since I945. The replacement
dominatedby thecapitalistsecuritycommunityseemsalmostcertainto weaken
thepositionof theperipheryin relationto the centre.In thissense,theWest has
triumphedover both communismand tiers-mondisme.
The changes in the centrewill have a substantialimpact on the periphery.
relations-in both directionsThey will redefinenot only centre-periphery
but also relationswithintheperiphery.Some aspectsof thesecurityagenda will
remainfamiliar,albeit with some new twists.This is most obviously likelyin
theeconomic sector,thoughtherewill also be many continuitiesin themilitary
one. Environmentalissues will certainlyincreasein importance,but whether
theywill become a major partof the securityagenda is more questionable.The
biggest changes are most likely to come in the political and societal sectors.
Extensive shiftsboth in prevailing political norms and in the nature of
internationalpolitical interestsseem entirelyplausible. It does not seem too
politicalrelations,
much to say thatalmostthe entirerange of centre-periphery
from boundaries and bases to aid and alignment,is open for redefinition.
Societal concernsalso seem destinedto riseto a positionof prominenceon the
securityagenda that they have not held since beforethe establishmentof the
modern European statesystem.
The change in terminologyfrom 'Third World' to 'periphery' may look
like a promotionfromthirdrankto second, but thisis only a superficialview.
The deeper realityis thatthe centreis now more dominant,and the periphery
more subordinate,than at any time since decolonizationbegan.
24

Ravenhill, 'The North-South balance of power', p. 748; The Economist,i6 Dec. I989, p. 70.

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IAF 67