Edited by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan
The role of the UN and its agencies should be strengthened in the coming months in order to better facilitate the decisive and efficient resolution of transnational conflicts. The UN needs to be empowered by its member states to meet the challenges of the 21st century effectively. In political developments, the way in which the US continues to handle the disintegrating situation in Iraq will dominate security agendas and the decisions made by policy makers. The impact of globalizing democracy and the way in which policy develops around these themes can have looming security implications. The fight against global poverty and corruption at the political level indicates that this will have positive outcomes in the near- to longterm future. The increased cooperation between states in working toward fostering political security and stability within the international system will lead states in the direction of sound policy decisions. By doing so, shared security probabilities increase and as security dependencies amplify on the political scale, so will securities in subsequent other dimensions.
Herd determines that the way in which the EU and the US have politicized and reacted to both the Mittal Steel issue and the ports issue, respectively, indicates that there will not be a bright future for either entity. An increase in protectionist measures as demonstrated in these instances will isolate their economies, and, as Herd concludes, globalization based on a liberal international order will consequently be damaged. This is also the case in Europe. He concludes here as well that isolating tendencies in the global marketplace are not conducive to the development of economic interdependence, which can provide opportunity for further economic growth.
(e) Military Security: Lessons and Trends
While Anthony Cordesman concludes that the global system is not handling the effects of globalization in the most efficient manner, it is certainly not a probability that the entire international system will slip into a state of chaos. Rather, he agrees with the assessment that globalization and its impact on security and stability largely rests with the states themselves and their willingness and ability to work together in key areas in order to help the international system evolve and to introduce legislation that guides it toward a more stable future. He argues that there is only one way to do this, and that is to identify and implement a strong, clear, and concise strategic policy toward dealing with the threats as they develop in the modern, globalizing world. This is largely dependent on how states recover from the Cold War understanding of security and how they move forward as a unit to protect themselves and handle threats in the most efficient way possible.
With the continued military deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military capabilities of the world’s superpower continue to be stretched. A review of the latest Quadrennial Defense Review of the US Department of Defense published in February of 2006 indicates that US forces must evolve “from a threat-based posture to one which is capability and effects-based, recognising that armed forces must be able to cope with threats emanating from ‘dispersed non-state networks’ rather than from the traditional military forces or an adversarial nation-state.”11 For the US in particular, it is important that the current military forces develop “a more flexible and adaptable force that will give policymakers more options to engage in full-spectrum operations, ranging from high-intensity warfare to disaster relief and peace support operations.”12 This shift accounts for the way in which security threats are now developing. Military powers are working toward further cooperative efforts that put emphasis on partnerships and the development of strategic capabilities within NATO and other institutions. Military preparedness can no longer account for the entire security of a nation and therefore efforts in other areas of development and cooperation are reaching new levels of importance.
The learning process will prove itself in the long term. States must define their interests on a transnational level, which is not something that can easily be achieved or understood by all national governments. The idea of the melting away of the nation state and its related system will not happen overnight, and reform of the national and transnational strategies certainly will not be easy. Nevertheless, this progression will become an essential tool as threats become more imminent.