Understanding New Security Threats

This textbook examines non-traditional forms of security and expands the notion of security to include non-state actors and non-human actors.

Globalization is both an integrative and fragmenting process; it increases the border-less nature of international relations and has transformed security issues in many ways. This volume proposes an expansive and inclusive view of non-traditional forms of security that go beyond traditionally recognized issues of threats to state and national territory, and beyond sovereignty, territorial disputes, and military-diplomatic affairs.

                                                                                    The book rests on the following basic premises:

  • traditional state-centered threats remain a concern – examples include nuclear proliferation; espionage; territorial challenges; and persistent regional tensions;
  • old and new threats combine, interact, and create interlocking puzzles ― another feature of wicked problems and wicked messes;
  • because of the global erosion of borders across countries, regions, and continents, the traditional distinction between external and internal security has become blurred – new developments of unconventional insecurity, such as climate change, interact in ways that frustrate traditional conceptual definitions, conceptual maps, and national policies;
  • unconventional security challenges will likely shape our future – indeed, while such concerns have traditionally been seen as “low politics” or “soft” issues, they are now increasingly recognized as “hard security” challenges in the 21st century;
  • many of the so-called “new” threats detailed here rare in fact very old: diseases, gender violence, food insecurity, under-development and crime are all traditional security threats, but deeply modified today by globalization.

All the chapters presented here offer local, regional, and global examples and engage with the various theoretical approaches to help readers see the bigger picture. Remedies and solutions are also suggested to these problems. At the end of each chapter, discussion questions help readers understand the key points and facilitate class discussion.

This book will be of great interest to students of international security studies, human security, global politics and International Relations.

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