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Rona (Rhye) Ysais M.A. International Studies, Miriam College September 15, 2010
Redefining Globalization and Power in the 21st Century 1
Redefining Globalization and Power in the 21st Century Kay (2004) examined the modern role of power within a globalized international system and these dynamics was illustrated within the context of international terrorism. He proposed that “globalization has not radically changed fundamental aspects of international relations, but has rather altered means and channels for the exercise of power” (p. 9). Globalization is complex and multifaceted. To provide a comprehensive definition is hardly attainable. There is no one concrete definition that could encapsulate the holistic of the term globalization. Rather, various scholars defined globalization depending on the issue or matter. There are analysts that treat globalization as independent phenomenon ignores the role of globalization as channel for the exercise of power (Kay 2004) Pro-globalization often sees it as catalyst of new idealism of economic openness, political transparency, and global culture. That it provides an advancement opportunity for common human standards. Moreover, to equality as norms and rules are conduits throughout the world. This propinquity is thought to cultivate cooperation and increase security. On the other hand, globalization is a threat in which it is seen as a tool for hegemonic states to exercise economic domination with little regard for human rights and environment. States may seek to defend against the ‘threat’ of globalization as individuals organize to ‘combat’ the perceived dangers of globalization (Kay 2004) Globalization in this article is treated as a neutral force through which power is channelled. Globalization is best understood as the creation of variety of transboundary mechanisms for interactions that affects and reflects the acceleration of economic, political, and security interdependence (Kay 2004). As the effects of globalization increasing felt and experience by the states, specifically in the economic realm, the international structure of globalization become accounted in international relations theory. For instance, the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis proved, close international economic interdependence can increase vulnerability across borders. The crisis stemmed from the banking sector due to imprudent expansion and diversification of domestic financial markets, fuelled by short-term private borrowing (Montes 1998). The outcome became clear to authoritarian regimes who could not sufficiently adapt to the pressures of economic and financial globalization without risking their hold on state power (Kay 2004). Indonesia as one of the countries affected by the crisis, witnessed a major economic pressures for government reform. In China, with its desire to reap relative economic gains via international trade has clashed with its internal human rights record as well with its management of transnational diseases. To a large extent, the study of globalization centres on the economic interdependence and related vulnerabilities and opportunities. However, it was argued that the September 11 terrorist attacked necessitate a hard look at existing analytical frameworks for understanding the relationship between
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globalization and security. If it is difficult to define globalization, it is even more difficult to make a precise conclusion as to how globalization increases or decreases the degree of security (Clark 1999). Assuming security is the pursuit for the absence of threats in an anarchic world, globalization might increase or decrease security outcomes. If security is seen as a particularistic quest of nation-states to provide for their own defence, then globalization also provides both challenges and opportunities. The relationship between globalization and international security is difficult to measure compare with economic globalization in which scholars can measure it through the flows of economic globalization. Security globalization does not necessitate to be defined perfectly – as it has transpired already, we need to accept, understand its effects and underlying relationships. Globalization is a crucial aspect of modern international security because it brings an entirely new set of measurements of international security layered on top of those that dominated global politics in the 20th century. According to Kay (2004), globalization does not represent a transformation of the international system, but it represents an adaptation of the means through which international interactions are exercised, combined with an increase in the number and types of actors. Moreover, globalization is best understood as a technologically facilitated proliferation of the means through which power within the international system is channelled and pursued. The increasingly complex conditions under which international actors exercise power makes globalization a new and essential component of contemporary international security. Major international relations theory (realism, neoliberalism, and constructivism) shares an emphasis on the role of power, despite the fact that each provides different conclusions as to its meaning and consequences. Though, it helps us to understand that the quest for power holds within it the potential for both security and insecurity, also for both war and peace. One of the most fundamental challenges for international relations theory and practice of the 21st century is to understand the new means of exercising power via globalization. Power In the epoch of globalization, “power” has been redefined. Historically, it was measured through or in terms of military capabilities, economic strength, natural resources, and the capacity to transform these assets into the exertion of influence. Power, in the classic sense, is the ability to get someone to do something that they otherwise would not do (Morgenthau, 1978; Keohane & Nye, 2001). The distribution of power has been central to understanding war and peace in security terms. Disparity in power may lead to competitive arms races and wars, and a stable balance of power could prevent war. Traditionally, the central measure of power in the security context is derived from military capabilities – assessed in either offensive or defensive terms (Claude, 1962; Levy, 1983 in Kay 2004; Walt, 1987 in Kay 2004; Glaser and Kaufman, 1998 in Kay 2004; Van Evera, 1999 in Kay 2004). The traditional understanding of power
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views it as a means to an end – though the quest for power can also become an end in and of itself (Kay 2004). Globalization forces states to reconceptualise the meaning of power (Kugler and Frost, 2001 in Kay 2004; Tangredi, 2002 in Kay 2004). For a reason, globalization provides multiple channels of communication. The nature of power has become diffuse to the extent that one person can change global politics. There are three particularly important changes in the nature of power dynamics that are affected by the globalization of the international system: asymmetric power; state power; and the role of people, ideas, and media power (Kay 2004). Meanwhile, threats are also reconceptualise through globalization particularly when non-state actors seek to enhance their power via indiscriminate acts of violence, which is international terrorism. Nation-state has been strengthened through the globalization of terror and resultant fear. Globalization became a tool for the terrorists to put fear throughout the world with their actions, and it becomes a way to counter attack the terrorists. The speed with which images of fear can be transferred into the living rooms of citizens around the world radically distributes power in favour of asymmetric tactics (Kay 2004). In addition, it was also emphasized in the article that the ability to enhance power by cultivating fear is made clear by statistics that show that while people worry about terrorism and states invest in antiterrorism measures, terrorism is actually in global decline. Mueller (2002) in his article said that, the risk of being killed in a terrorist attack is virtually zero for the average citizen. The success at manipulating a global audience with fear helps further terrorist recruitment as individual are co-opted into a sense of empowerment that they feel from making the strong feel vulnerable (Kay 2004).While in the media of globalization, it serves as a force multiplier by carrying the images of fear and destruction that terrorists seek to perpetuate. International relations theories remain and continue to serve as an excellent signpost for assessing the nature of an increasingly globalized world. The power to affect which direction the world will take in the 21st century lies with a new generation of leaders and strategic thinkers who are, themselves, a product of this evolving global era (Kay 2004).
Redefining Globalization and Power in the 21st Century 4
REFERENCES Clark, I. (1999). “Globalization and international relations theory,” in Kay, S. (2004). Globalization, power, and security. Delaware: Peace Research Institute Oslo. Claude, I. (1962). “Power and International Relations,” in Kay, S. (2004). Globalization, power, and security. In Security Dialogue. Vol. 35. No. 1. Delaware: Peace Research Institute Oslo. Retrieved on September 08, 2010 from http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/0403kay.pdf Glaser, C. & Kaufman, C. (1998). “What is the Offense–Defense Balance and How Can We Measure It?” in Kay, S. (2004). Globalization, power, and security. In Security Dialogue. Vol. 35. No. 1. Delaware: Peace Research Institute Oslo. Retrieved on September 08, 2010 from http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/0403kay.pdf Kay, S. (2004). Globalization, power, and security. In Security Dialogue. Vol. 35. No. 1. Delaware: Peace Research Institute Oslo. Retrieved on September 08, 2010 from http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/0403kay.pdf Keohane, R. & Nye, J. (2001). Power and Interdependence, 3rd edn. NY: Addison Wesley Longman. Kugler, R. & Frost, E. (2001). “The Global Century: Globalization and National Security,” in Kay, S. (2004). Globalization, power, and security. In Security Dialogue. Vol. 35. No. 1. Delaware: Peace Research Institute Oslo. Retrieved on September 08, 2010 from http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/0403kay.pdf Levy, J. (1983). “War in the Modern Great Power System,” in Kay, S. (2004). Globalization, power, and security. In Security Dialogue. Vol. 35. No. 1. Delaware: Peace Research Institute Oslo. Retrieved on September 08, 2010 from http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/0403kay.pdf Montes, M. (1998). The currency crisis in Southeast Asia. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Morgenthau, H. (1978). Politics Among Nations, 3rd edn. NY: Knopf. Tangredi, S. (2002). “Globalization and Maritime Power,” in Kay, S. (2004). Globalization, power, and security. In Security Dialogue. Vol. 35. No. 1. Delaware: Peace Research Institute Oslo. Retrieved on September 08, 2010 from http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/0403kay.pdf Van Evera, S. (1999). “Causes of War: Power and the Roots of Conflict,” in Kay, S. (2004). Globalization, power, and security. In Security Dialogue. Vol. 35. No. 1. Delaware: Peace Research Institute Oslo. Retrieved on September 08, 2010 from http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/0403kay.pdf Walt, S. (1987). “The Origins of Alliances,” in Kay, S. (2004). Globalization, power, and security. In Security Dialogue. Vol. 35. No. 1. Delaware: Peace Research Institute Oslo. Retrieved on September 08, 2010 from http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/0403kay.pdf
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