«Globalization and National Security» - Great Essay Sample

«Globalization and National Security»

In the contemporary world, there is an increasing connection of nations, some of which are located far away from each other. This phenomenon has been termed as globalization. In a particular way it has destroyed some of the traditional tenets of the nation-states such as, for example, the territoriality as people in different countries are not only able to communicate with each other, but they are also interdependent on each other. However, due to interdependence between different nations of the world, globalization has also had a severe impact on the national security of many nations. This essay seeks to explore how globalization has affected the resilience of national security. The paper is divided into three parts. The first briefly explains what globalization is, the second deals with the issue of national security, while the third explores the connection between globalization and national security resilience.


The notion of globalization is not new. It refers to the interconnection, interaction, and integration of different states, governments, and people of different nations. For centuries, people have been visiting other nations in search for trade opportunities and have been creating networks of routes such as the Silk Road. For hundreds of years, corporations have also had branches in faraway countries or invested in them. However, although different countries and nationalities were joined earlier by trade and other means, the interconnection of the past eras is not comparable with the one of the modern era. It is because of the fact that in the modern period, there has been an exponential increase in the communication, media, and transport technology. Moreover, the interconnection of the modern economic systems as well as the increase in the number and scope of multinational corporations and international intergovernmental organizations is observed. The liberalization of most of the major economies in the world has aided in this process, since ideologies and ideas can flow across national borders. Although globalization remains a deeply controversial issue, its effect on many aspects of the modern nation-states such as national security is profound.

National Security

The term national security is manifestly an ambiguous one. In a broad meaning, the term refers to the concept that the governmental structures of any nation state have an obligation to protect the state and its citizens from all threats both internal and external. However, the term is mostly used to mean the protection of the state from external threats and interferences. Because of the intricate nature of the world political system, sometimes the concept of national security also includes not only a particular nation-state but also its close allies. The concept, in its broad sense, includes aspects such as the military might of the nation, its economic security and other elements such as the energy security of the country. Although the concept is old, at least in the sense of the defence of a nation-state's interests, there has been an exponential increase in both the usage and the application of this term in the national and international political and legal language in the period between and after the two world wars. The interconnection of many nation states and the apparent concurrence of the national security objectives of some states, as well as the manifestation of divergences, and, thus, hostility of others have made this concept more relevant in the contemporary world.

Effects of Globalization on National Security

The connection of globalization and national security is contradictory. On the one hand, forces of globalization have contributed to productive changes such as the introduction of scientific and technological innovations that have improved communication between nation-states.  In this way, it has helped many nations in the world to agree on their national security objectives and, thus, reduce the likelihood of a military confrontation between them. Consequently, the growth of globalization has led to an increase in multilateral democratic processes, which aim at solving many issues that might lead to confrontation between states, and thus has managed to find a solution to international security issues in a way that ensures the national security of all countries. Globalization, as a major force in the integration of the word, offers a new dimension for the national security, based on cooperation rather than confrontation. Due to this fact, the concept of cooperative security seems to be popular nowadays. It goes further than just having military alliances, which guarantee the security of its members, as, for example, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) does, and suggests having organizations that work towards the world peace. It guarantees the national security of many nations in terms of the traditional national security threats i.e. other nation states. It also seems that after the Second World War the defence of the national territory is not the only legitimate objective of the national security forces. Since their duty extends to protecting regional and global peace, cooperation ensures that states will not use offensive weapons against each other. Thus, military force is the last method a country should resort to, because it should use other non-military means to settle national security issues.

During World War II, the role of the leading nations as the providers or guarantors of national security to their allies abroad was crucial. Thus, the globalization of national security has emerged during that era. Because of the competition between the US and the USSR for global control, power, and influence, the states had to involve themselves in war outside their territories. At this time, the biggest threat to the US national security was the USSR. Nevertheless, with the increase of globalization after the disintegration of the USSR and the advent of the US-led unipolar world, most of the present national security threats remained. With the rising scope of the globalization, a variety of threats to national security have become more serious in both their intensity and number. The spread of increasingly advanced science and technology, combined with the increasing number of world economic interactions, is a significant contributor to the issues that cause some of these problems.

The Threat of Non-State Subjects

One of the most dangerous issues about globalization and national security is that as the world becomes more connected and the traditional threats to national security continue to influence it, other not related to nation states phenomena arise as new threats. An example of it is the attack on the World Trade Centre, performed on September 11, 2001. Being one of the worst attacks on the U.S mainland, both regarding its severity and number of casualties, it was notable because it was not organized by another nation-state or a state member, but by a non-state subject, who claimed to have no allegiance to any of the countries. The increase in the threats, imposed by non-state individuals on the national security, has only been possible due to the proliferation of their means, which were introduced by globalization. Through informational technology extremist religious and sometimes political ideologies can spread to areas far away from their origin. The recent case of the Orlando shootings is another example of it. The notable fact is that the shooting was performed by a United States citizen, who claimed allegiance to Islamic State, a terror organization that has roots in the Middle East.

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Increase of Mass Destruction Weapons

Another issue that has greatly undermined the national security in result of globalization is the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The contemporary national security planners have to take into consideration the number of states that have weapons, which can obliterate entire regions in a few of hours. During the Second World War, only one nation, the U.S., had nuclear weapons, however, the number of nation-states, who claim or are suspected to have nuclear weapons, is more than ten by now. Some of those nations such as Pakistan and North Korea have instable regimes. It is not only a threat to the national security of the U.S, but also to its neighbours and the entire world. Furthermore, although there are international treaties that ban the storage, use, or transfer of chemical and biological weapons, it is suspected that several nations keep such weapons for tactical reasons. Moreover, some of the ingredients that non-state representatives such as terrorists can use to manufacture some of the chemical weapons are readily available on the Internet. It has raised concerns that the use of WMD can be possible not only for states, while fighting with their enemies, but also for terrorists. From this perspective, it is clear that the nations are under a significant threat of the WMD, especially when taking terrorists into account. The proliferation of such weapons is a result of the globalization of knowledge, information, and technology.

Cyber Security

Another aspect that threatens the resilience of the national security in relation to globalization is the issue of cyber security. A few decades ago, cyber security would not be considered worth paying attention to when doing national security planning. However, the continued globalization of computer and information technology, combined with the increasing reliance on computers for most aspects of commerce, raised a problem of security for many people in developed nations. One of the most frightening aspects of the cyber space is its similarity to terrorism, because it is not limited to the traditional nation-state individuals. Moreover, due to the interconnection of computer systems, the phenomenon of cyber warfare has a huge scope. In cyber warfare, the belligerents have the ability to disable essential serves of each other. These serves may include electricity generation and supply, websites of essential departments, hospital and water systems, and others. Moreover, the weakness of the cyber security can lead to the stealing of classified defence data that can contain serious national security information. Jeffery Carr has further explained that the ability of a country to wage a cyber war with another country is not based on its relative military strength as most nations now have militaries that are network-centric and are connected to the Internet. For instance, the disabling of the air defence system, which happened in 1998, when the US hacked Serbian air defence system, can have significant repercussions for the defence of a country.

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The Spread of Transnational Organized Crime

Another aspect that is prominent in regards to national security and globalization is the aspect of the transnational organized crime. With the improvement of communication and transport technologies, transnational organized crime has also expanded exponentially in its size, latitude, and influence. Transnational crime causes threats to the national security of the U.S in several ways. In some cases, it has won over the government structures and individuals in government to its side, including the security organs of some countries. It has led to the situation, when there are states, in which leaders have criminal motives and, thus, impose a security threat to the U.S interests both inside and outside the country. Another aspect of transnational organized crime is that it is the source of money for organizations or individuals that support insurgencies in various countries. An example of it is the Liberian and Sierra Leone civil wars, which were financed mainly through the illicit mining and selling of diamonds in the West African countries. In the South American continent there have also been several insurgency wars that have been funded with proceeds from drug sales by cartels. These revolts lead to the destabilization of the entire regions and threaten not only the national security of those countries, where they occur but also impose a threat to the U.S interests and national security. Furthermore, these criminal organizations also engage in human and narco-trafficking on the U.S territory.

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Weakening of National Security

There are also arguments that the globalization has also led to the weakening of the national security in many states of the world. This is premised on the fact that as globalization increases, the core functions of the nation-states tend to reduce in importance. Before the end of the Second World War, it was usual for countries to engage in wars that aimed at the perseveration of their national interests. With the increase of globalization, there was a smaller number of wars between major military powers of the world. The reason for this is that as the modern states become more commercially interlinked, there is less ground for wars between these nations. Another reason for this is that as trade, knowledge, and ideologies spread among nations, the states, which participate in trade, prefer to avoid any military confrontations due to the potential of suffering heavy social and economic losses in the event of war. Consequently, it has led to the weakening in the resilience of the national security.

However, it seems that the interconnection of global economies is itself a national security threat. The recent global economic crises in 2008 demonstrated how dangerous interconnection of the world economy can be. The economic interdependence of the U.S on some of the major world powers raises concerns about the possibility of economic or financial sabotage, which is a threat to the national security. The U.S energy dependence on the Middle East is an example of this case. If those nations were to refuse to sell oil to the U.S, the repercussions to the U.S economy would be profound. Moreover, although the U.S and China seem to be political antagonists, their economies are increasingly related to each other. This is one of the most notable facets of the economic globalization. Many commentators have noted that China's debt to the U.S can serve as an economic weapon in hands of the U.S, which is a dual threat to the U.S national security. Moreover, the development of Chinese technology and industry, including the latest weaponry, as well as investment in the U.S companies and the fact that many of Chinese conglomerates are either state-owned or are controlled by a state in one way or another imposes a threat to the US national security.

The Problem of Interventionism

Globally, there have been less direct conflicts between the major nations. There has been an increase in interventionism and neo-interventionism in terms of national security. Globalization implies that conflicts and instability in diverse parts of the world are seen by national security strategic planners as a threat to the national security of the U.S. An increase of the borderless nation-states has led to the internalization of many domestic issues. According to some national security theorists it leads to the necessity of interventionism. It produces a great challenge to the internationally agreed principle of sovereign equality. It also happens when some nations in the West sponsor non-governmental organizations in order to correlate their policies with the policy and security objectives of the U.S and its allies. It especially manifests itself due to the economic interdependence, as the U.S can use sanctions in order to help to enforce U.S national security policies. The examples are North Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran that have undergone economic sanctions, imposed by the US for acquiring or trying to acquire nuclear weapons that could threaten the US national security or that of America's allies.

Moreover, globalization has proved that most nations now have to take into account the events occurring outside their states, or even outside the nation's immediate neighbourhood. United Nations report noted that the ongoing concerns over the national security should be taken into consideration by nation-states and that the security is greatly influenced by external factors. These issues are multidimensional and range from financial and information wars to political engineering, which involves the use of such factors as financial might of a nation, its military might, and its diplomatic clout.

The emergence of relatively new threats of a multinational nature weakens the position of any given state as the sole provider of the national security. That is why nations are forced to work in collaboration, when addressing these threats, as they are not typical to a one particular state. An example of it is terrorism and drug trafficking. It leads to the formation of partnerships among nations, which invariably weakens the concept of the national security, limited to the territorial borders of a country. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also found themselves indirectly involved into national security through delivering humanitarian aid. The interaction of these different elements results in a rather fluid concept of what constitutes the national security.

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The Influence of Narco-Trafficking on National Security

The globalization of narco-trafficking has also brought challenges to the national security. One of these outstanding challenges is represented in the form of narcoterrorism.  The term narcoterrorism was first used by Peru president in describing the attacks of drug cartels upon his nation's anti-narcotics police. Then the term was spread and is now used to denote various activities that revolve around drug-trafficking on a wider scale. These activities may include assassinations, extortions, rape, death threats, and, on the extreme end, attempts to overthrow governments.  Terroristic activities in Mexico and other Latin nations have exerted immense pressure on the U.S national security.

Military experts and political analysts from different countries and international bodies often allude to a strong link between drug trafficking and terrorism. A former executive director of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes, Antonio Maria Costa, once stated that fighting drug trafficking was synonymous to fighting terrorism. This statement points to the interconnection between narco-trafficking and the threats to national security. In 2009, the commander of the US European Command (USEUCOM), Admiral James Stavridis, described an increasingly dangerous connection between illegal drug trafficking and Islamic radical terrorism. Stavridis may have been implying the fact that the routes, used by drug traffickers, may also serve as travel paths for terrorists. Additionally, narcotics induce violence, which may be an explanation for the aggressive behaviour, manifested by terrorists.



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