In a brief homage to neo-Marxism, critical theory highlights the way in which human security, typically in the hands of leaders, can be used as a global tool to secure economic and political issues, and to justify pre-emptive intervention when the balance is in question (Cox 1992). Being such a broad approach, and taking into account population geography, economics, history, feminist studies, multi-cultural sociology, etc., the theory is more of a commitment to the manner in which international relations issues can be solved amiably. In fact, it is the potential for changes that multiculturalism holds that frames the most reasonable approach to critical security (Bridge and Stevens 2001). For example, the dominant tendencies in global relations have three principal parts: 1) the global political economy, 2) an individualized inter-state system, and 3) the biosphere or global ecosystem. It is just recently that scholars and politicians alike have realized the complete interdependency of these three key factors on any policy or future for humankind. Because of the move towards globalization, individual state economies are no longer static and in a vacuum. and, while state hegemony may have some relevance to individual cultural patterns, the success of the EU has proven that state boundaries are often more harmful than helpful. The idea of a one-world approach, then, takes into account that no single part of the global environment can act without a cause and effect to the rest of the planet. How powerful this thrust is in terms of the realization that cooperation is more cost effective than conflict, and that solutions are best viewed globally rather than by individual "units" (Cox 1992, pp. 161-3).
The question then becomes, which approach best explains the elements of international security? and, as most complex problems, the answer is variable. Explaining international relations until World War I, then between World War I and the Cold War, and then post-Cold War and globalization require different definitions of the appropriate manner in which to define the key elements of international security. In a post-9/11 world, many scholars believe there is a juxtaposition between defensive and offensive strategies, particularly in the way that states band together to respond to conflict, or to protect multinational interests. The "realpolitik" of the 21st century has become a conflict primarily of ideals (the War on Terror), rather than the conflict of state induced goals. and, because of the intertwined nature of modern states, a global sense of cooperation against terror, for instance, is in the best interests of all states and their ability to continue to enjoy economic and political security, as well as protection for their population at home and abroad (Dannreuther, pp. 173-5).
In a sense, in a multicultural world there is now a plurality of actors. The size of a state's army is no longer the basis for their economic success or their ability to relate to other nations. Instead, the legitimacy of cooperation now comes from the ability of the group to find behaviors and actions that have the most positive consequences both long-term and at the least cost. War is expensive, it destroys lives, infrastructures, and while sometimes it jolts a lagging economy and improves some technologies, the benefits to a lasting peace using a balance approach to critical security seems the most reasonable option for the early 21st century (Neumann and Waever 1997).
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When Thomas Hobbes described the life of man in wartime as "nasty, brutish, and short," he was speaking more about the manner in which the majority of the population lived in 16th and 17th century Europe. Life was quite different during this time for 90% of the populace; there was a small merchant/middle class, an even smaller aristocratic class, and a large peasant and poor class. This, too, was the world of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and one cannot but comment briefly on the contemporary world of the time and the way what they saw in society influenced their thinking and philosophical writings.
For more on the opposed views of humanity and states, see: Magee, B. 2001, the Great Philosophers: An Introduction to Western Philosophy. Oxford University Press; Manent, P. et.al. 1996, an Intellectual History of Liberalism. Princeton University Press; Martinich, a.P. 1992, the Two Gods of Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes on Religion and Politics. Cambridge University Press;Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Translated by Donald a. Cress 1992, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. Hackett Publications;Tuck, R. 1982, Natural Rights Theories: Their Origin and Development. Cambridge University Press.
There are numerous scholarly references to economics being the primary cause of international conflict. Views of this hold that all conflict is rooted in either the protection of assets or the desire for additional assets. War is the result of not finding a way to glean those assets without conflict; and finding a propagandistic excuse to justify the conflict. See, for example:…