Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, and Ambassador Gérard Stoudmann
Globalization promotes the interconnection of economies, political systems, cultures, and languages, and therefore has both negative and positive implications. This is certainly the case when discussing stability and security. Through a review of the current literature that deals with measuring levels of stability and security at the state level, it became obvious that there was a lack of connectivity between a number of important facets. For instance, agencies that were conducting measurements of various forms of stability were able to identify and measure contributing factors to stability that they found to be important. If it was the Foundation for International Studies of the University of Malta conducting the measurement, for instance, then it is not surprising to learn that it measured the vulnerability of small island developing states and focused on factors such as exposure to foreign economic conditions, remoteness and insularity, and proneness to disasters.25 Other indices do not illustrate such an obvious connection between those who are conducting the measure and the variables selected; however, it is quite common to see indices that are focused on only a couple of factors. This can most likely be attributed to funding resources and the focus of the program conducting the measurement, or simply due to a lack of time and access to information.
This is also the case when assessing security at the state level. Quite often, indices share commonalities between the types of variables used and the methods employed. Furthermore, some indices measure variables that can simultaneously contribute to studies of security and stability. Despite these parallels, measurements do differ. For example, the International Institute for Strategic Studies has compiled an armed-conflict database that looks at a number of different types of conflict and the political status of the conflicts themselves.26 While this will have implications for stability as well, it is more indicative of the security level of a state and potential sources of instability for a region. Indices of this nature also look at security in new frontiers, such as the Eisenhower Institute, which has provided an index measuring the security level of space.27 This index assesses variables such as commercial space, protection of space and the space environment, as well as the possibility of space-based strike weapons. All of these elements contribute to an annual assessment that looks at the status of space security, as well as developments in space security based on primary, open-source research.28
There have been numerous attempts, with varying degrees of success, to identify criteria that can be used to measure the stability of states. The indices developed using such criteria are not as comprehensive as they could be, instead providing only partial assessments of state stability by focusing on a limited number of relevant dimensions. Therefore, we propose a stability matrix that provides a more thorough and comprehensive assessment of the dynamic factors that impact on stability at any given time. The authors’ aim was to develop a diagnostic tool that will enable analysts, policy makers, and practitioners to more effectively quantify state stability and to assess the nature of regional stability and its impact on the international system.
By providing a more complete study of stability and its factors, one is able to make distinct recommendations at the state level on how states should move forward to make themselves and their regions more stable. A measurement of this kind can identify areas of potential weakness in a state system and identify potential sources of conflict before they occur. It provides an important tool for policy makers particularly when dealing with neighbors within a region where stability is not easily maintained.
There have been numerous projects that have attempted to measure levels of state security, whether from the human, societal, or governmental perspective. None of these projects has been able to accurately measure both the level of individual and community security within a given state and the security of that state’s government structures. This chapter therefore proposes a matrix that would provide a means for measuring the level of security of a state and of the people who reside within it. The matrix utilizes those factors and variables that have been provided by existing matrices and also includes variables that are deemed important in literature and studies of security at all levels. While each of the existing matrices provides effective measurements for the elements assessed, our matrix will allow for the inclusion of many factors contributing to security to be analyzed under one matrix, thus providing a more complete and accurate assessment of the overall security level of a state.