imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

On the Expanded Security Concept

by Lothar Brock Friday, Feb. 17, 2006 at 6:26 AM

As the term social security contributed to undergirding public security against private life risks as a legal claim of individuals visavis society, the new international securiity discourse upgrades civil conflict resolution.


A Mid-Term Review of the New Security Discourse

By Lothar Brock

[This article published in: Wissenschaft und Frieden, 2005-4 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, Prof. Lothar Brock is research leader of the Hesse Peace and Conflict research foundation and chairperson of the EKD (Evangelical Church in Germany) board for development and the environment.]

Since the end of the 1980s, non-military political fields – hunger, poverty, environmental destruction, discrimination and new sicknesses (Aids) have been identified as non-military endangerments to security. The initiative came from civil society. With the help of an `expanded idea of security,’ attention and resources could be mobilized and security policy demilitarized. What was accomplished? Today the `expanded idea of security’ is a standard formula applied from the UN Security Council to the National Security Council of the US. Like the Sachs report on Millennium Development Goals, the high level panel that published a report on UN reform in December 2004 and General secretary Kofi Annan who used this report as a model for his own proposals started from an expanded idea of security. Was this a breakthrough? Undoubtedly. However the reform of the United Nations sought by the General secretary has not helped him much. The success suggested by the general acceptance of an expanded idea of security could prove to be a Pyrhhic victory if military politicians profit more from the expansion of the security concept than advocates of civilian conflict resolution. Whether this fear is justified and what could follow from this will be discussed here.

The past evaluation of the new security discourse is mixed. On one side, an astonishing differentiation of non-military forms of conflict resolution occurs under appeal to an expanded idea of security. Since the beginning of the 1990s, a regular `industry’ has formed for conceptual innovation in the areas of civilian conflict intervention, crisis prevention and peace consolidation. From the beginning, this development has taken place in the close interaction of science, civil society and politics and led to a professionalization of civilian conflict resolution beyond the 1992 agenda for peace of the former UN General secretary Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Building and developing civilian conflict resolution is in no way synonymous with declining military intervention practices. On the contrary, the renewed efforts around civilizing conflict resolution correlate temporally with an expansion of military options. Territorial defense gives way to global military conflict intervention. NATO and the EU add military task forces that can be rapidly deployed at any places of the world. The German army participates in peace missions today with 7,200 soldiers. This development is partly joined with efforts at developing collective peace security through the United Nations according to chapter VII of the UN Charter. This is gratifying. However the expansion of the security concept goes along with an expansion of the idea of defense (Art. 51, UN Charter) and in this way with a `de-tabooing of war.’

The expansion of the security concept is politically ambivalent. It can be used to underscore the demand for civilian conflict resolution and justify an expansion of military security policy externally and restriction of civil rights and freedom internally. This political ambivalence of the term corresponds to its analytical vagueness. This ambivalence hides contradictions and conflicts over goals instead of uncovering them. The rhetorical synchronization of political fields (developmental cooperation, combating Aids, strengthening security and recognizing cultural difference as security policy) replaces an analysis of the connection between economic marginalization, discrimination, state collapse, foreign cultural determination, rise of new sicknesses and violence.

This vagueness of the expanded security concept is one of the reasons for its political ambivalence. Everyone can use it since it can mean anything. The expansion of the security concept is synonymous with expanding the spectrum of threats confronting people. However the escalation of feelings of threat promotes acceptance of military provisions or military encroachments in acute conflicts more than political reliance on protracted civil forms of conflict resolution. Therefore no opportunity exists to acknowledge new threats and the responsibility to protect.


In the early years of peace- and conflict research, the idea of peace was controversial. The distinction between negative and positive peace was central. Negative peace was largely understood as inadequate since it could mean a cemetery peace, a peace of violent pacification and put a fraudulent veneer over structural violence. The all-pervasive militarization of political rule in Latin America in the 1970s was a shattering example. Peace was established there with the help of brutal repression. Consequently, many justified (tacitly) the wars of national liberation as wars to establish a positive peace. However the negative peace also had a positive side in view of the confrontation of the superpowers and the possibility of a nuclear war.

Paradoxically, the security term moved into the foreground of the debates in the 1980s when the danger of a nuclear war receded and the peace discourse was a security discourse. The co0mplete transfer occurred with the end of the East-West conflict. The trick with which this happened without loss of face for the peace movement consisted in recourse to an `expanded security concept’ that offered the advantage of standing for everything desired under a positive peace. The expanded security concept made possible addressing those feelings and needs that were only inadequately grasped with a pejorative undertone in the negative peace. Peace-, environmental, and human rights groups wanted to use these feelings (the uneasiness about violent conflicts and liberation wars) and needs (for security in rapid change) strategically to dispute the high politics agenda and mobilize more public attention and more financial means for goals that earlier were regarded as `low politics’: protection of the environment, enforcement of human rights, abolition of sexual discrimination, recognition of cultural difference and building developmental cooperation.

As introduction of the term `social security’ contributed to undergirding public security against private life risks as a (legal) claim of the individual vis-à-vis society, the new international security discourse has contributed to upgrading civil conflict resolution as a standard. The second great achievement of the new security discourse is doubtlessly making the individual as the object of international security policy the focus of attention of international politics instead of the long dominant fixation on the state. Thinking in categories of national security is beginning to crack through the category of human security.

As appears in Germany, `social security’ exists where it is recognized as a standard of appropriate claims. This is not a security in relation to the forced attempt at a new privatization of provisions mainly `sold’ as a measure for saving social security under changing environmental conditions (globalization). The general acceptance of an expanded security concept hardly offers a reliable bulwark against the temptation of politics to downgrade civil conflict resolution as a follow-up to military intervention and subsume `human security’ under national security. The political importance of `human security’ in the sense of responsibility to protect grows to the extent that it agrees with the national security interests of potential interveners. This appears in connection with the great military events since the end of the East-West conflict, with the Kosovo war and the wars against the Taliban and the Saddam regime in Iraq.


As to the Kosovo war, the demonstrative reference to the security of people was overshadowed by the security of states. The possibilities of civil conflict intervention (for example in the scope of the OSZE mission) were hardly exhausted when NATO decided for military confrontation (with the subsequent consequence of war). The proportionality of military action is controversial since the endangerment of human security increases drastically in war (which really cannot surprise anyone). In addition, the Kosovo war represented entrance into an international law policy that aimed at extending individual state action possibilities in using force against the restrictions of the UN Charter. This politics was displayed over against Afghanistan and Iraq. In both cases, the US appealed to resolutions of the UN Security Council. However this happened in a way that left the use of force to the largely free discretion of the intervening states.

This international law policy as a rule opposed the civil society security discourse. On the other hand, it participated unintentionally in its formation. Faced with numerous violent interstate conflicts and the difficulty of reacting appropriately to this violence, the civil security discourse made use of the vocabulary of `new wars,’ `humanitarian intervention,’ and `just war.’ The emphasis on the `new wars’ helped arouse broad public interest in the violent conflicts in the South and in the former socialist camp. At the same time, it suggested that the old rules of international law cannot and should not be valid against these new wars. The rapid spread of the figure `humanitarian intervention’ could be understood on one hand as an expression of the `power of morality’ (Hasenclever 2000). On the other hand, it meant that two kinds of sovereignty exist over against the states in which the `new wars’ occur – the inviolable sovereignty of liberal democracies that were and are not ready to submit to an obliging collective peace assurance and the limited sovereignty of `failed states’ or rogue states against whom both the intervention prohibition of the UN Charter (Art. 27) and the prohibition of force (Art. 27) are no longer in effect. A comparison presses here with the prisoners in Guantanamo who like rogue states are denied a claim to legal protection.

The speech about “humanitarian intervention” that has subsided supported the international law policy of liberal democracies oriented to freedom of action. This phrase blurred the distinction between collective peace security according to chapter VII of the UN Charter and unilateral or alliance-supported exercise of power. When people are in distress, as the figure of “humanitarian intervention” assumes, that is a sufficient legal foundation for an intervention – if the Security Council as the only authority that can authorize the use of force is or seems to be unable to act.

Blurring distinctions was also blatant in reflection on the “just war.” This doctrine can be cited for both legiimation and criticism of wars. However the conflict whether a war is just or unjust passes by the central point. The concept itself is “unjust” since it is captive to a logic where the individual state is at once a party and (legal-) authority in a dispute. In this sense, the crucial problem is that this approach ultimately reserves to the individual state to decide over the justice or injustice of military action. This concept undermines the idea of collective peace security according to chapter VII of the UN Charter.

The figure of “human security” is not as innocent as it seems. The upgrading of persons as subjects of legitimate security claims over against states relied on the argumentation that there is a responsibility of the international community to protect people from lawless violence. The recognition of this responsibility is an advance in upgrading the individual as an international law subject (especially in the area of human rights). However if observance of international responsibility is not bound to firm rules, the emphasis on the categories of “human security” expands the spectrum of reasons that can be offered for an interventionist policy. In this sense, the danger exists of promoting an international law arbitrariness that lowers the thresholds for military solutions and forces he redevelopment and use of civil preventive action possibilities to the background.” Reference to a need for humanitarian intervention could be a justification or pretext.


To counter this danger, I plead for a narrow security concept, namely security as protection from lawless violence. A narrow security concept allows precise identification of the tasks of security policy. What is central is not the good life in itself but the challenge of enabling people to settle their conflicts without use of force. Limits are set to this task since the capability for nonviolent conflict resolution can never be developed consistently and completely. Therefore the “civilizing process” is not synonymous with overcoming violence but with restraining lawless violence, that is mob justice or taking the law into one’s own hands. On the plane of the United Nations, the general prohibition of force and he command of peaceful enclosure of conflicts (chapter VI, UN Charter) are joined with measures for collective peace security (chapter VII) that include the use of force after exhausting all other means. Two things follow from this: the precedence of civil before military conflict intervention and the binding of military conflict intervention to the rule system of the Charter. With the guarantee of security as protection from lawless violence, the criterion “law” always refers to both the local situation and the way of interfering in this situation. Thus the narrow security concept is reflexive. It includes the self=-perception of security policy as policy constantly in danger of producing new insecurity.

On closer examination, civil conflict resolution involves a narrow security concept, not a broad concept. The idea of civil conflict resolution establishes a primacy of civil over military conflict resolution and the strict bond of military interventions to the rules of the UN system. To that extent, the idea of civil conflict resolutions appeals unnecessarily and recklessly to an expanded security concept. The expanded security concept is unnecessary because it contributes nothing to the normative justification of civil conflict resolution (and much to the confusion of problems). The appeal to a broad security concept is reckless because it annuls the normative tension between civil and military in the figure of a complete security policy. Criticism of violence is inscribed in a security concept understood as protection from lawless (physical) force. This included the distinction between legal and lawless violence since the difference between the two is not pre-given to politics but is influenced by politics (for example, in international law policy). In any case, the mode of using force is always a theme of a narrow security concept.

The German government’s May 2004 action plan is criticized for refusing political priorities in listing 160 measures for civil conflict resolution. It could prove to be a waste of time and effort since it follows the model of the expanded security concept. A narrow security concept or the concentration on a core interest of security policy (protection from lawless violence) could be useful in this regard.

Report this post as:

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy