Acta Universitatis Danubius. Relationes Internationales, Vol 9, No 2 (2016)

The Security between National and International

Țuțu Pișleag1

Abstract: This paper brings arguments to support the idea that, along with the new challenges in the actual global context, it appears the necessity of learning and understanding the vectors of national security. We express our point of view about the future of security studies in which the dimensions of interest are analyzed in a broader spectrum.

Keywords: national security; security; security vector; actors

In the current context of globalization the national security needs coincide in many views with the international security, even if this operational concept is not universally shared. Globalization can be considered as being a tool for achieving a consensus on international security. From the functional perspective, “globalization can be characterized by a series of economic phenomena that include liberalization and deregulation of markets, privatization of assets, withdrawal of state functions (especially social assistance), diffusion of technology, transnational distribution of manufacturing production (direct foreign investments) and integration of capital markets.” (Reich, December, 1998) In the future, the international security through its security policy dimension must face challenges caused by historical and political legacies, the establishment of the responsible actor in the international security and the capacities to strengthen the international institutions.

The new developments at international level show that the current security environment involve several actors, nation-states, nongovernmental organizations, mega-corporations, international organizations etc. Regarding the international organizations, they only diversify the instruments of action and set up a more complex international system by increasing the number of actors and their problems related to new sources of conflict (migration, resources crisis, implications of access to information and technology etc.), the multiplication of means to create war. In such a context the divergent interests is a perception that globalism could be challenged. It can be appreciated that globalization has its own price expressed in unpredictability and vulnerability, and the interdependencies generate more and more threats.

In the theory and practice of international relations it is more frequently used the “phrases of international security, global security, continental security, regional security, sub-regional security, national security, equal security, collective security, common security, etc. expressed on the basis of power relations” (David, 2008, p. 67), however amid the diversification of threats, multiplication of actors, concerns for identifying strategies and optimization solutions.

In the specialized literature it “is considered that the so-called classical approach of security overlaps with the realist vision on security, its glory days were during the Cold War, but its influence on international relations is longer, beginning with the establishment of the first formations of the states”. (Lașan, 2010) Traditionally, the concept of security was associated with military security, defense and balance of forces internationally in terms of military power. In this sense, we can even affirm that the “basic assumption of the traditional view where the security is fundamentally linked with the military dimensions of interactions between nation states.”

In this sense, the state is the most important, sometimes the only actor in international relations, which alone can ensure the security of citizens both nationally and internationally, and its primary concern is insuring security. In order to ensure security, states are always trying to maximize their power in an environment considered anarchic, the anarchy that characterizes the structure of the international environment. The anarchy resulting from the observation that while internally there is a leadership, the legitimacy and the monopoly of using force internally is owned by the state, at international level these features are not found. Alongside these traditional security environmental features have mentioned also certain consequences of the anarchic international environment in which states act alone in this brutal international environment, and the peace is not possible, but only a balance of power, and in an anarchic environment it cannot be implemented the collective security.

Despite the longevity of this classic vision upon the international security, something has changed in the international environment with the end of the Cold War, something so significant that it caused a total rethinking of the concept of security. With the end of the confrontation of the Cold War between two great global powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, in 1989, the classical vision upon security is increasingly challenged and replaced eventually with a modern vision upon security.

If we accept the fact that the security issues are among the oldest problems that exist in the world, we can say with certainty that “the definition of this concept depended and depends not only on the analyzed era, but also on the actors considered to be important, even more important on person issuing this definition.” (Lașan, 2010) The approach of defining the concept of “security” is more difficult nowadays, given the many dimensions of security and diversification hazards and security threats in the world today.

In the specialized literature we see a strong focus on security dimensions by researchers, especially on non-military dimensions of security. It can thus be referred to as the following dimensions of security: military and the political dimension, economic, social, cultural dimension, environmental dimension, societal dimension. The military dimension relates “to the mutual interplay between offensive and defensive military capabilities of the states and their perceptions of the intentions of the other.” The treats of a military nature occupies “traditionally, the central position in the national security. The military action endangers all state components: the physical basis (territory) can be occupied (partially or totally) or impaired as ecosystem, the institutional structure can be dismembered, the idea of the state may be undermined”.2

The most important issue of the military domain currently facing humanity is the terrorism. The political dimension of security concerns “the relationship between the state and its citizens, and international relations of the State.” It aims at the organizational stability of the social order and it defines those non-military threats. In a certain way, the whole security is political, as all the vulnerabilities, risks and threats are defined politically. It is a certainty that the current global context is “profoundly political and psychological.” The political security concerns threats to the legitimacy or recognition or of political units or the fundamental features (political structure, state institutions, etc.). In this case, we speak of threats towards:

  • Internal legitimacy of political unity, which relates primarily to the ideology and other ideas or themes that define the state of incorporation;

  • the external legitimacy, international recognition”.3

The political dimension can be analyzed on two levels: internal one on governance and external on related to the international security and international law.

The economic dimension of security is identified with “access to basic resources and infrastructure necessary to ensure an acceptable level of prosperity and power of the citizen and the State” and it has a special significance because it largely determines the military power of a state. The economic security of security concerns “the economy's ability to cope with external and domestic shocks. The main external threats are: the global economic crisis; economic embargoes; uneven economic development. The values of economic security can be: the market economy; competition; economic freedom; private property, etc.”4

From the social point of view, “security involves protecting collective identity, the specific national and national cohesion”.

The cultural dimension is “the prevention of the cultural pollution of the environment with subculture elements or cultural intrusion.” Identity, religion, ethnicity are quite common causes of international conflict, especially national, especially in areas of Africa. The environmental dimension has become in the post-Cold War one of the most important dimensions of security, and it could even consider that the environmental issues are probably the most complex because of the effects and because of the impossibility of finding simple solutions and individual for solving such problems. Moreover, sometimes it becomes obvious that some environmental problems are linked and very often these dangers and problems are not strictly environmental, but they are closely related to other dimensions of security.

The environmental problems highlight the most powerful transnational nature of the threats and dangers that the humanity is facing. Among the most serious environmental problems that threaten the worldwide safety include: pollution, global warming, depletion of natural resources, destruction of forests.

As for the United Nations, the forum of all member states is significant to analyze the threats to security identified by it in the official documents. Thus, in the UN Report entitled “A more secure world - our common responsibility” there are listed the following threats on the international security: the international terrorism; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; interethnic and interreligious conflicts; organized crime networks; environmental problems; dangerous widening development gaps between North and South.

The concept of international security was “tantamount to the use of force between nations, with special emphasis on the role of great powers. This reflects the view that the international security involved the territorial integrity”.5

We must bear in mind that “the traditional notions of security focused on the use of force between the great powers during the Cold War, and after its end it had to be reformulated so as to reflect the changing nature of conflict”6 in what today is the “new security agenda, the new security manifestations and the new game rules of the security policy7”: individual security; security social group, of the community, of the nation, of the national or ethnic entity organized (social security); State security or of the nation (in American terminology - National Security); the security for the region, not necessarily one based on proximity – the regional security; security for society of nations, international society - security; global security. Although “there is only one source of authority, the international relations are reasonably ordered for the aim of mutual regulations and constraints resulting from a mutual interest in survival and coexistence.” (Jackson-Preece, 2011, p. 19)

Currently, the international security in the current context “becomes the expression of building new international relations, amended in turn by the globalization phenomenon” (David, 2008, p. 67) or the fragmentation, and it identifies with “the protection of everything that affects the very foundations of states and international security organizations”. (David, 2008, p. 67) Thus, the international security is structured in the levels of state, regional and global security.

Today, the national security “is so important so that countries are defending through their integration into supranational or international organizations” (de la Dehesa, 2007, p. 156) and globalization would only produce important changes in the way the state operates, and it is understood together with the relation of determining the economic regionalism on the regional security.

Currently, the international security is more closely linked with the theory and practice of globalization, and implicitly with the national security as the globalization “certainly reflects increases in degrees of intensity and extension of interdependence - an increase in its density.” (Keohane & Nye, 2009, p. 302) In the current global context, the concept of power “remains the most important variable in shaping the international relations”8 as power is manifested through new forms and it is exercised through new channels. It can be said that “globalization is rather a means by which new manifestations of power are exercised.”9

In the process of globalization, cooperation between states is increasingly tight, presented both as a necessity and as a beneficial effect. These measures are generated also by the current challenges that are increasingly evident, due to the increasing interdependence of nations. These can be summarized to terrorism, extremism, separatism, corruption, organized crime networks, regional conflicts, environmental disasters etc., acquiring more and more a global feature, and affecting the national and international stability and security.


The globalization in the current coordinates become the strongest and the most influential “constructor” of the international security environment, even if this influence is sometimes regarded as contradictory. In our opinion, increasing the mutual political, economic and social dependencies between the states lead to international security environment improvement, in that it develops new political approach to the international organizations. We consider that all these relations of “interdependence are often carried out in networks of rules, norms and procedures which regulate the behavior and control the effects - and they are influenced by these networks.” (Keohane & Nye, 2009, p. 64) It takes, in our opinion, the rethinking of security policy and conflict on the new coordinates of national security interests as a result of the manifestation capacity of non-state actors, ad hoc groups or even individuals to compete the nation-state. We consider here the cyber component of the conflict that requires creating benefits and projecting the influence in cyberspace.


David, A.V. (2008). Doctrine, politici și strategii de securitate/Doctrines, policies and security strategies. Bucharest: Editura Fundației România de Mâine.

de la Dehesa, G. (2007). Învingători și învinși în globalizare/Winners and losers in globalization. Bucharest: Historia.

Jackson-Preece, J. (2011). Security in international relations. London: University of London International Programmes.

Keohane, R.O. & Nye, J.S. (2009). Putere și interdependență/Power and interdependence. Iasi: Polirom.

Lașan, N. (2010). Securitatea: concepte în societatea contemporană/Security: concepts in contemporary society. Revista de Administraţie Publică şi Politici Sociale An II, No. 4(5)/Review of Public Administration and Social Policy Year II, No. 4 (5).

Reich, S. (December, 1998). What is globatization? Four Possible Answers. Working Paper #261.

Online Sources chapters/c1. SAGE Publications,

1 Professor, PhD, Faculty of Communication and International Relations, “Danubius” University of Galati, Romania, Address: 3 Galati Blvd., Galati 800654, Romania, Tel.: +40.372.361.102, Fax: +40.372.361.290, Corresponding author:

AUDRI, Vol. 9, no 2/2016, pp. 69-75




5 Liz St. Jean, The Changing Nature of “International Security”: The Need for an Integrated Definition

6 Liz St. Jean, The Changing Nature of “International Security”: The Need for an Integrated Definition

7 Bertel Heurlin and Kristensen, International Security, International relations, Vol. II,

8 Sean Kay, Globalization, Power, and Security, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH, USA 2004 PRIO, SAGE Publications,

9 Ibidem.


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