International Relations - Security International Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Finally, Paris introduces the concept of a matrix-based approach designed to include both military and non-military threats to nation states to address the traditional focus of security threats to the entire spectrum of potential threats to nations from external origin, internal conflict, as well as from nonviolent threats of a more chronic nature that affect individuals rather than whole societies.

Applying International Relations and Security Principles to an Imprecise Concept:

Paris is correct in his observation that the concept of human security is an extremely broad notion that comprises individual components of widely varied significance. Likewise, it is true that different approaches to the issue and the definitions offered by various theorists are mutually contradictory and that even within any single framework, subjective application and arbitrary distinctions render any conclusions susceptible to corruption and diversion for the purposes of justifying internal policies and expenditures of public resources as well as international actions under the all-inclusive definition of security concerns.

In that regard, the criticisms suggested by Paris may have particular contemporary relevance in connection with the manner in which the Bush administration justified the proposed and continuing U.S. involvement in Iraq. Similarly, the simultaneous failure of the federal government to adequately address domestic threats to human security such as the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina lend credence to his observations about the susceptibility of vague definitions to partisan interests.

However, Paris seems to have complicated the issue unnecessarily. To illustrate by analogy, human health much like human security is a broad, inclusive concept that includes everything from chronic low-level disease management and acute minor discomforts to deadly disease and acute medical emergencies. Nevertheless, the field of modern healthcare has established protocols for dealing effectively with all the issues that fall within the very general concept of health without diminishing its ability to address particular health threats in proportion to their relative importance.

Likewise, the field of human security may indeed encompasses all the individual components identified by national definitions and scholarly research. A comprehensive theory of human security threats will include both military and non-military threats to nations, acute violent and non-violent threats to communities and individuals, and even chronic social concerns affecting the quality and dignity of human life. Much like the example of healthcare, the field of human security must simply differentiate every different type of potential threat and then allocate appropriate resources to each in approximate proportion to its potential for affecting human security. Ultimately, defining specific approaches to specific human security threats is no more problematic than doing the same with respect to specific human health threats. Ironically, the analysis posing the question about "hot air" may therefore, be characterized in much the same way.

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