Global Security, Why and What For (Part 1)

This post looks to address some concerns from previous comments. It answers one of concerns – that of “why would anyone join” answering further concerns will come in part two, and outlines for various functions of a GSO will be explored in later parts.

Global Security is a complex topic. Who should get involved, in what situations should there be action, and why should individual states be interested in joining a global security organization (GSO) anyway? There are all valid concerns and must be addressed prior to even laying out the framework for such an organization. We’ll start with state interest in such an organization in order to establish why one should be enacted in the first place.

We now know from experience in history (viz. the second Iraqi war and Russia’s actions in Georgia) that unilateral action tends to be extremely unpopular and that the states that engage in such behavior tend to be short-handed on both resources and legitimacy. Wars, occupations, policing actions, and peacekeeping operations attain a much higher level of legitimacy when the blessing of the world at large lies on the mission. States seeking to promote global security should therefore be interested in receiving this blessing if they wish to enact their own policy goals on a global level. A GSO would promote the legitimacy of any action taken by a state so long as the majority of GSO members supported the iniative. While we know this is not an easy thing to attain (just look at the UN security council during the Cold War), we also know it is possible.

World powers such as the US, aspiring powers such as China, India, and Russia, and industrialized powers such as Germany should have an interest in joining a GSO. They all have compatible policy goals in several areas such as nuclear non-proliferation, curbing global terrorism, and promoting the development of safe markets domestically and abroad. While the means to attain these goals are not always the same between states, the end goals usually are compatible. One of the largest fears, to serve as an example, is the spread of nuclear weapons. Russia has thousands of unsecured nuclear weapons which are considered high value targets by terrorist organizations or rouge states seeking to acquire nuclear technology. In the interest of securing these warheads, a GSO might prove to be a boon, working to provide extra man-power and materials in order to either destroy or secure the warheads. A potential point of conflict here is if Russia would allow foreigners access to these sites as they may be considered nationally sensitive areas. A potential fix to this problem would be to have Russian picked or led teams move to each of these sites with Russian security removing or securing sensitive targets while foreign forces secure the general areas.

Larger states may also have an interest in joining a GSO in the area of intelligence sharing. While sources and data are often national secrets, states with far-flung security concerns could benefit greatly from increased inter-state intelligence sharing. If the DHS had access to intel analysis from Russian, German, Japanese, Chinese, and Israeli sources, a more complete picture of the security landscape can result, increasing the success rate of critical missions. It is understandable that individual state would have issues sharing their intelligence, and, at the risk or sounding contrite, I have to say “get over it”. In order to foster a better international security system than is currently in place with NATO, the proposed CSTO, and other security organizations, intelligence sharing is a must. It may take some time to come up with a system which would allow this with a minimum of problems inherent in the intelligence game, but the general outline is this: within the GSO body, there is a specific agency that deals with intelligence. Lets call it GISA – the Global Intelligence Security Agency. This agency would be in charge of compiling all of the intelligence submitted from member states and producing a clear picture of the global intelligence and security landscape. This type of submission based intelligence system allows for member states to submit information they think helpful and contain information deemed to sensitive to share. Of course, this system may be prone to crashing and burning from a lack of willing participants, but it is a start to be explored later.

Smaller states present another issue in a GSO body. Historically smaller states have been under-represented and their concerns passed over. Why would any smaller state want to join a GSO? Two reasons: The first is the access to a security umbrella, which will be mandated to provide assistance when requested. Small states are not known for their stable socio-economic situations. Government access to a security umbrella can significantly assist in stabilizing historically unstable regions. At a request from a member-state, the GSO will deploy forces and materials deemed sufficient and necessary to solve the problem presented by the member government. In order to avoid issues such as totalitarian regimes or military juntas from joining and requesting the GSO to participate in human rights violations, the GSO will have selective membership criteria that must be met for states to join and maintain membership within the GSO body. Security umbrellas would be an extraordinary asset to democratic (for example) governments, which are experiencing internal or external threats to democratic stability. The second reason would be advanced technological access. Small states do not have the resources to spend on research and development that larger and more industrialized states do. Providing access to advanced infrastructure and defense technologies, systems which are already in place between individual states, would allow for faster and smoother economic development in smaller states. The proposal here would be to create a repository of expertise and materials which smaller states can access. The repository would be something of a yellow-pages for experts in various fields and infrastructure materials. How this program would work will also be explored later.

These two sections begin to address why states, both large and small would have an interest in joining a GSO. The next section (part two, if you will) will define what the word security entails for the GSO, and look to explore what the GSO would cover, in what ways, and why it would have a mandate to intervene or assist in global security issues.

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One Response to Global Security, Why and What For (Part 1)

  1. Mike says:

    One large problem I see with a unified intelligence and security organization is that states have a vested interest in withholding intelligence from other states. Even if their interests are identical to 95% of that of their fellow member states, that 5% is enough to warrant some level of intelligence trade in order to further their own agenda. I agree that a unified military/security organization would be beneficial (prudent) for a lot of states. But an intelligence agency by definition must be state oriented. Would you agree?

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