- 1 Putnam, R., ‘Diplomacy and domestic politics: the logic of two-level games’, International Organiza (...)
- 2 Rosenau, J., Turbulences in World Politics: A Theory of Change and Continuity, Princeton, Princeton (...)
1 Thinking about security has long been dominated by state-centric theories which conceive of the state as the only actor of international relations, while internal sociological or economic explanations were regarded as irrelevant or secondary at best. However, the end of the Cold War and the development of new theories of International Relations have opened the way for the use of new concepts in security studies and the redefinition of the state, its role and that of non-state actors. In his theory of “two-level games”1, Robert Putnam argued that home politics can have an influence on international affairs, and conversely international pressure can be used by a government to pursue domestic goals. Thus, the difference between home politics and foreign affairs tends to be erased. Furthermore, the end of the neo-realist definition of the state led to question the definition of ‘public policies’ to take into account various actors that act and interact at various levels, including the international level. In 1990, James Rosenau argued in his book Turbulences in World Politics2 that new actors and transnational networks compete with the state and circumvent it. The state would thus be left with responsibilities only over traditional prerogative areas such as security and defence of national interests. However, a move away from a state-centric definition of public policies as well as international relations has given rise to a new definition of governance that includes foreign and defence policy. This paper seeks to explore security policy in the context of this redefinition of public policies and the role of the state.
2 Relations between states have considerably increased and states’ interests now include more than the mere defence of its territory and interests. The need for a concept of ‘security governance’ will thus be explored.
3 In a second part, the rise of “new wars”, and the role of domestic actors as well as international organisations will be studied in order to assess the way they altered traditional ways of making and implementing foreign and defence policy decisions.
4 Yet, the rise of new actors as well as the internationalisation of the army does not imply that the state has completely lost control of its forces. The process of decision in both the EU and NATO remains intergovernmental, and the government remains the ultimate political decision-maker in foreign and defence policy. The reasons that push governments to engage in sovereignty pooling will be discussed in order to show that security governance cannot completely shadow the role of government, which tries to navigate between domestic and international constraints and opportunities.
- 3 Morgenthau, H., Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, New York, Alfred A. Knopf (...)
- 4 Ibid.: 21.
5 The dominant theory of International Relations until the end of the Cold War had been “realism”. Following Hans Morgenthau3, theorists from the “realist” tradition analyse international relations only within the frame of the Westphalian system, that is to say the system that was born in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia that ended the Thirty Years’ War and acknowledged state sovereignty. Realism can be defined by three main tenets: first, it is a state-centric theory, that is to say that states are the main and only important actors in world politics. Second, the state, acting through its government, is considered as a unitary and rational actor that pursues national interests and calculates the costs and benefits of possible policies so as to choose the policy that will maximise its interests. Third, realists assume states seek power, most often military power, both as a means and as an end in itself. As Morgenthau put it: “A political policy seeks either to keep power, to increase power, or to demonstrate power?”4 However, realism does not consider the existence of other actors on the international scene. British foreign policy thinking and practice during the Cold War were heavily influenced by realism. The national interest was paramount in the actions undertaken by successive governments, and leaders made constant reference to the role of the UK as a great power alongside the United States and the USSR.
- 5 Keohane, R.O., Nye, J. S., (eds) Transnational Relations and World Politics, Cambridge, Harvard Uni (...)
6 Other theories of international relations, such as the ‘neoliberal’ theory, which owes a lot to the work of Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye5, have challenged the realist assumption that states are the only actors in international politics. On the contrary, Keohane and Nye insist on the existence of non-state actors in world politics.
- 6 Ruggie, J., G., ‘Continuity and Transformation in the World Polity: Toward a Neorealist Synthesis’, (...)
- 7 Bevir, M., Hall, I., ‘The rise of security governance’, in Bevir, M., Daddow O., Hall, I., (eds) In (...)
7 Yet as John Ruggie underlined it in his article ‘Continuity and Transformation in the World Polity’6, realists and neorealists are not able to think change. On the contrary, neorealists believe that the national interest in terms of security is unvarying and defined by power. As for liberals, especially liberal intergovernmentalists, they believe states share interests, which leads to a multilateral cooperation. But interests themselves do not change. Thus, neither of these two major theories have been able to predict or explain the end of the Cold War, nor have they been able to think the new issues that appeared on the international scene or provide guidance for new policies.7
- 8 Wendt, A., Social Theory of International Politics, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999.
- 9 Cox, R., ‘Social forces, states and world orders: Beyond international relations theory’, in Cox, R (...)
8 New theories emerged after the end of the Cold War in order to deal with the new international context. These theories are less state-centric than realist or liberal theories. Constructivists in particular, following Alexander Wendt’s theses in Social Theory of International Politics8, consider that a state’s interests are linked with its identity and interstate relations. Critical theorists and postmodernists (or poststructuralists) focus on the deconstruction of political discourses that inform decisions taken in the field of foreign and defence policy. Robert Cox, one of the first critical theorists in International Relations, questions institutions and social relations, their origins and their possible evolutions.9
9 These new theories responded to the new security threats and allowed to take into account the evolution of the role of the state and new actors in foreign and defence policies.
10 In an article on ‘The governance of European security’, Mark Webber, Stuart Croft, Jolyon Howorth, Terry Terriff and Elke Krahmann identify five features in the definition of security governance:
- 10 Webber, M., Croft, S., Howorth, J., Terriff, T., Krahmann, E., ‘The governance of European security (...)
Heterarchy ; the interaction of a large number of actors, both public and private; institutionalisation that is both formal and informal; relations between actors that are ideational in character, structured by norms and understandings as much as by formal regulations, and, finally, collective purpose.10
11 The model of a vertical hierarchy and concentrated powers at the summit of a pyramidal chain of command was replaced by another, horizontal distribution of powers, based on transnational links and involving non-state actors in various policies, including sovereign issues such as defence.
12 As Elke Krahmann underlined it in an article published in 2003 :
- 11 Krahmann, E., ‘Conceptualizing Security Governance’, Cooperation and Conflict, 2003, 38 (1): 6.
The states retain a central role in international security. However, governments seem increasingly willing to rely on the cooperation and resources of non-state actors, such as private security companies, non-governmental organisations and international organisations.11
- 12 Webber, M., Croft, S., Howorth, J., Terriff, T., Krahmann, E., ‘The governance of European…’, op. c (...)
13 The participation of non-state actors in foreign and defence policy as in other public sectors is a consequence of new views of the state and its security. The neoliberal model of the state has been developing rapidly in the last two decades and states now engage a large range of service providers in the field of security. Charities, environmental and human rights organisations and think-tanks now play a role in the making and monitoring of security policies. Besides, in the case of Britain, as in most Western European countries, the armaments industry has been privatised and the armed forces professionalised, which marks a shift from national autonomy to new forms of public-private partnership.12
- 13 Ibid.: 7.
- 14 Risse-Kappen, T., ‘Ideas Do Not Float Freely: Transnational Coalitions, Domestic Structures, and th (...)
- 15 Keohane, R.O., ‘International Institutions: Two Approaches’, International Studies Quarterly, 1988, (...)
14 Besides, governance theorists insist on the role of ideas or norms in the definition of governance. Indeed, as governance does not depend on vertical authority or compulsion, security practices depend on the beliefs of actors and their will to act in a way that respects set norms and values13. Yet, as Thomas Risse-Kappen put it: “ideas do not float freely”14 and material structures such as international organisations play a role in sharing and coordinating ideas as well as dictating norms of behaviour to member-states.15
15 Thus, traditional theories of International Relations have proved ill-adapted to analyse the changing role of the state after the end of the Cold War. Although states remain important actors of their own security, other non-state actors play an active role in shaping foreign and defence policy, giving rise to a new concept of security governance. To consider the relevance of security governance in the UK, contemporary British foreign and defence policy shall be analysed to see how it diverges from a strictly national security policy.
- 16 Kaldor, M., New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1999.
16 In a book entitled New and Old Wars16 where she takes the example of the wars in Nagorno-Karabakh and Bosnia, Mary Kaldor explains that new forms of war have appeared since the world entered the age of globalisation in the 1980s. According to Kaldor:
- 17 Kaldor, M., New and Old Wars, op. cit.: .2.
The new wars involve a blurring of the distinctions between war (usually defined as violence between states or organised political groups for political motives), organised crime (violence undertaken by privately organised groups for private purposes, usually financial gain) and large-scale violations of human rights (violence undertaken by states or politically organised groups against individuals). […] [These wars] involve a myriad of transnational connections, so that the distinction between internal and external, between aggression (attacks from abroad) and repression (attacks from inside the country), or even between local and global, are difficult to sustain.17
17 As Tony Blair famously put it in 1999 in his Chicago speech on the “Doctrine of International Community”:
- 18 Blair, T., speech, Economic Club, Chicago, 22 April 1999.
We are witnessing the beginnings of a new doctrine of international community […] national interest is to a significant extent governed by international collaboration.18
18 In his speech, Blair declared that what he called “isolationism”, that is to say that practice of non-intervention in the internal affairs or conflicts of other countries, had become impossible because of globalisation:
We are all internationalists now, whether we like it or not. We cannot refuse to participate in global markets if we want to prosper. We cannot ignore new political ideas in other countries if we want to innovate. We cannot turn our backs on conflicts and the violation of human rights within other countries if we want still to be secure.19
19 Thus, according to Blair, a state’s interests are defined in connexion with other members of the international community.
20 As Blair later put it, in a speech he made in 2004, the end of the Cold War has seen the rise of
- 20 Blair, T., speech, Sedgefield, 5 March 2004.
[…] a different philosophy in international relations from a traditional one that has held sway since the treaty of Westphalia in 1648; namely that a country’s internal affairs are for it and you don’t interfere unless it threatens you, or breaches a treaty, or triggers an obligation of alliance.20
- 21 ICISS, The Responsibility to Protect, Ottawa, International Development Research Centre, 2001.
- 22 United Nations, 2005 World Summit Outcome, A/60/L.1, New York, United Nation General Assembly, 20 S (...)
21 What these quotations underline is a major change in the perception of threats and risks on the national territory. The new threat picture includes instability and internal conflicts, notably human rights violations, to which the international community has a duty to answer. The Chicago speech was delivered during the war in Kosovo, and aimed to justify the British intervention against Serbia on a moral ground. The intervention in Kosovo gave rise to many debates about the meaning of sovereignty and the principle of non-interference. These debates led the UN to adopt the new concept of ‘responsibility to protect’ in 2005. The concept was born in the 2001 report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty21, and was later adopted by the UN General Assembly at the 2005 World Summit. The Responsibility to Protect (sometimes abbreviated RtoP or R2P) entails a new definition of state sovereignty which includes a duty to protect citizens from “genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”22 The UN was given the responsibility to use appropriate means in order to help states protect their citizens and take action in case they do not. Although this new concept did not put an end to the debate over the legitimacy of humanitarian interventions, it was explicitly used in UNSC resolution 1970 that denounced Gaddafi’s brutal attacks against civilians in Libya and led to the adoption of UNSC resolution 1973 that authorised a military intervention in which Britain played a major role alongside France. British involvement in humanitarian interventions shows a new definition of state sovereignty and security, Blair and Cameron sharing a sense that they had a right to intervene in other states’ affairs in order to guarantee security. The new challenges to state security also include the fight against terrorism, as well as against “failed states” often accused of harbouring terrorists, as was the case in Afghanistan.
22 Humanitarian intervention – as well as the fight against terrorism – require a new kind of strategic thinking and planning and capacities of intervention that correspond to the new definition of security and new type of warfare. Indeed, the defensive conception of security that prevailed until the end of the Cold War is not adapted to the new strategic context and the swift reactions needed in new wars. The change in British strategic thinking and planning took place at the same time as major changes in the role of NATO and the EU.
23 The study of “new wars” has shown that uses of military power take place far from the British national territory and that interventions aim neither to defend nationals nor to conquer territories. The focus on international stability and human rights also had an impact on the role of International Organisations and the way they became major actors of regional and international security.
24 As far as foreign policy is concerned, the EU has turned into a major regional actor through the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which aims to tie countries immediately bordering the EU to the Union by offering financial assistance in exchange for commitments to government reform, economic and trade or human rights reform. The Commission also launched the European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR) which aims to provide support for the promotion of democracy and human rights in non-EU countries. Furthermore, since the Lisbon Treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009, the EU has had a High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who is the EU foreign affairs chief in conducting the common foreign and security policy as well as the Vice-President of the European Commission and President of the Foreign Affairs Council. The High Representative can rely on the support of the EEAS, the European External Action Service, which has 139 delegations and offices around the world.
25Besides, EU member-states have chosen to coordinate their foreign and security policy through the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) launched at Maastricht in 1992 and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), which became the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) with the Treaty of Lisbon. The treaty established a new institutional framework to strengthen the EU as a global political player and allowed it to deploy missions and operations more effectively, thus becoming a serious partner of NATO and the UN.
- 23 See also Webber, M., Croft, S., Howorth, J., Terriff, T., Krahmann, E., ‘The governance of European (...)
26 NATO also had to find a new role after the end of the Cold War. Its aim had been to provide security for Western European countries. Yet after the threat from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact disappeared, NATO has become an actor in conflicts outside its historical zone. The aim of the organisation also changed and NATO’s interventions in Kosovo or Afghanistan proved that it has become a global player with an agenda of its own rather than a mere instrument for the collective security of its member-states.23
27 Thus, International Organisations of which the UK is a member-state have developed a role that goes beyond the mere coordination of national policies. Both NATO and the EU have agendas of their own and states are losing the monopoly over diplomacy and the use of force. Yet the empirical study of British foreign and defence policy also shows the resilience of the state, which remains the dominant actor and the main agent of security policy in the governance structure.
28 In Britain, foreign policy is still formally under the Royal Prerogative, that is to say
- 24 Venn Dicey, A., Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, 1885 and 8th edition, 191 (...)
the residue of discretionary or arbitrary authority, which at any given time is legally left in the hands of the Crown […], whether such power, be in fact exercised by the King himself or by his Ministers.24
29 Thus, the Royal Prerogative refers to fields in which decision taken by the government (for today the prerogative resides with the government) do not depend on parliamentary approval. No official list of powers associated with the Royal Prerogative exists, yet many foreign or security policy decisions are made by the government and debates in the House of Commons (let alone the House of Lords) have little or no influence. The House of Commons and the House of Lords spend little time debating the subject, because few laws are necessary but also because, most of the time, a consensus exists between parties. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Secretary of State for Justice Jack Straw tried to modify the balance between government and citizens by forging
- 25 Ministry of Justice, The Governance of Britain, Cm 7170, London, HMSO, July 2007, p.5.
a new relationship between government and citizen, and begin the journey towards a new constitutional settlement – a settlement that entrusts Parliament and the people with more power.25
- 26 Ministry of Justice, The Governance of Britain – Constitutional Renewal, Cm7342-1, London, HMSO, 20 (...)
30 A white paper entitled The Governance of Britain – Constitutional Renewal26 and the bill which accompanied it (Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill) wanted to transfer the responsibility to declare war and deploy troops to the Parliament. Yet this measure was not part of the 2010 Act which nonetheless adopted most of the other proposed reforms, which shows the growing weight of Parliament in fields of law that used to belong to the Royal Prerogative.
31 The growing involvement of non-state actors in foreign and defence policy cannot be denied. Public opinion was crucial in Blair’s decision to participate in the intervention against Milosevic in Kosovo. A few years later, the demonstrations and growing popular discontent against Blair’s decision to send troops to Iraq was followed by a crisis of public confidence in the Labour government which almost cost Blair the 2005 general election. Yet the general public acceptance of measures taken by the government in the fight against terrorism or more recently during the war in Libya, shows that non-governmental actors still have a limited influence on foreign and security policy decisions.
- 27 Webber, M., Croft, S., Howorth, J., Terriff, T., Krahmann, E., ‘The governance of European…’, op. c (...)
- 28 Ministry of Defence, ‘Hammond reconfirms commitment to defence privatisation’, January 6, 2014. htt (...)
32 The part-privatisation of the British Defence Evaluation and Research Agency in July 2001 has been quoted as an example of the end of national autonomy in security affairs and of the rise of private actors in the sector27. Most of the staff and facilities of the Agency were transferred to the new commercial firm called QinetiQ. QinetiQ has since then become one of the major defence contractors in the UK, together with other private defence contractors which had been privatised under Thatcher, such as BAE Systems or Rolls Royce, to give but two examples. The aim of privatisation is to open up defence procurement to competitive pressures and produce economies to the defence budget. However, the British government continues to hold a ‘Golden Share’ in these companies to protect the UK’s security and defence interests, which means that it retains control over any potential takeover. The current Conservative government planned to privatise Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the procurement and support organisation of the MoD, which Defence Secretary Philip Hammond wanted to transform into a GoCo (government-owned, contractor-operated organisation). Opposition from unions, which worried about possible job cuts, as well as lack of interest in the plan from potential buyers, forced the government to drop the plan, even though Hammond declared that the Conservative government is still determined to privatise defence procurement28, possibly after the next general election though.
33 However, the British government is still very reluctant to employ Private Military Companies. Aegis Defence Services, a British PMC, was founded by British Major General Graham Binns and has its headquarters in London, and flourished during the war in Iraq thanks to contracts with the US Defense Department. Indeed, the US is much less reluctant to use contractors than the UK. However, it is conceivable that the amount of money spent on PMCs will grow in the UK, which so far has failed to regulate the sector.
34 Thus, the study of decision-making in foreign and defence policy and of the role of private contractors has shown that even though the government may be losing its monopoly, it remains the dominant actor. British membership of NATO and the EU did not alter the government’s prerogative over foreign and defence policy either, as will be shown in the next section.
- 29 Ministry of Defence, The Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter, Cm 5566 vol. 1, London, HMSO, 200 (...)
35 The British government’s decision to reinforce the European Security and Defence Policy at the Franco-British summit held in Saint-Malo on 4 December 1998 aimed to develop an ‘autonomous military capacity’ in the EU. The 1998 Strategic Defence Review, which was updated in 2002, insisted on the improvement of the EU military capability ‘so that forces can operate in more demanding environments’29. It was in Britain’s interest to be able to rely on a more able and more modern European military that would come as a complement to NATO. Besides, as Britain had not joined EMU, the CFSP provided another area where it could exert influence and lead. By participating in CFSP and more particularly in ESDP, the UK has been able to influence, and indeed control its development, by defending the intergovernmental mode of decision for instance. Even though Britain insisted on the priority given to NATO as its main defence alliance, building the ESDP allowed it not to rely exclusively on the USA for its security and that of the continent. Thus, it could be argued that the British participation in the ESDP is a means for the UK to gain more influence on the international scene and promote the national interest in Europe.
36 Besides, the role of multilateralism has become crucial in case of military interventions, not only because Britain’s ability to project force abroad has decreased. Indeed, humanitarian interventions and the fight against terrorism have been fought by international organisations or ad hoc coalitions which provide legitimacy for using force. Blair’s failure to obtain a mandate from the UN to legitimate the war in Iraq and the fact that NATO did not get involved as it had in Afghanistan, has been met by demonstrations and opposition from domestic actors (NGOs, charities, churches, media) which questioned the legality and the legitimacy of the war. This explains the Franco-British effort to obtain a UNSC resolution, that is to say a mandate to use force against Gaddafi. The UNSC mandate provided legality for the intervention; it also provided support internationally, with other states joining the coalition, and legitimacy at home.
37 Thus, multilateralism can be analysed as a means for the British government to gain influence on the international scene as well as to guarantee the legitimacy of interventions, in the eyes of the international community and of the public and other domestic actors.
38 This paper has showed that the meaning of “security” has changed after the end of the Cold War, bringing a necessary evolution in the analysis of international relations. The realist conception of the Westphalian State as a unitary and rational actor that pursues national interests and seeks to maximise its power has been replaced by other approaches that include other factors and other actors in foreign and defence policy thinking.
- 30 Wheeler, N., J., Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society, Oxford, Oxfo (...)
39 Humanitarian interventions and the fight against terrorism have been identified as two examples of the “new wars” that have been fought since the beginning of the 1990s. Today, Britain’s security policy goals are not limited to the defence of its territory against attacks on its sovereignty and integrity but they include interventions in foreign countries in order to “save strangers”30 and create a stable and peaceful international environment. This change in the meaning of ‘security’ and the new policies that ensued took place in an overall redefinition of the relationship between the state and private actors. The media and various domestic pressure groups have also gained considerable political weight in the last decades. Besides, the role of International Organisations of which the UK is a member-state has changed with the development of specific political agendas for these organisations. Thus, it was argued that the state has lost its monopoly over its security policy.
40 However, the study of “security governance” has also demonstrated that the British government remains the main actor in foreign and defence policy. International Organizations remain intergovernmental and their role is mainly to provide legality and legitimacy as well as support for member-states’ coordinate actions. Besides, decisions are made at the government level and other actors either remain under its control (in the case of PMCs) or have limited power (in the case of pressure groups or even Parliament). What the study of the rise of “security governance” has demonstrated is that the state has to learn new ways of producing security but that the national interest is still the main focus of foreign and defence policy.