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"If The State Becomes A Major Source Of Threat To Its Citizens, Does It Thereby Undermine The Prime Justification For Its Existence"
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The constitution as put forward by Hobbes is a social contract between the people and the state that legitimizes the government in place. Once the contract is broken, it is only necessary to overthrow the existing government and install one that would serve citizen interests (Booth, 2007). Some questions that need answering are; what is security? For whom? What are the security issues? It is important to understand these questions to be able to evaluate whether the state which is supposed to protect security has become itself a source of insecurity to its citizens and whether it should lose its mandate to govern or lose its justification for its existence. In order to achieve this, the paper will be divided into three sections. The first section will discuss what security is. The second section will discuss whose security it should be for, is it the state or individual and implications on legitimacy of state. This will involve considering different views from realists, constructivists, critical studies, feminism, peace research and the Copenhagen school of thought. It will argue that security is socially constructed thus means different things to different people. This in turn affects how people understand the role of the state to be and whether it is legitimate. The last section will be the conclusion. International security studies is a discipline that has evolved over the years dealing with security issues in a global arena. It depends on the definition put forward regarding security since various theorists have not been able to come up with a uniform definition. According to Buzan (1983) a legitimate state is one that meets the needs and wishes of its citizens including security, conflict resolution, economic development and peace. It is not uncommon to hear governments implying that they are doing certain things such as curtailing people’s freedom for state security reasons. Williams (2012:3) asserts that individuals are “killed, starved, tortured, raped, impoverished, denied education and healthcare all in the name of security.” This is especially so in war torn countries such as Syria (Paul, 1990). So what is security and who determines what security issues are? According to Booth (1997: 104-119) security is a derivative concept and as such its understanding derives from political outlook and philosophical worldview. For example, for ethico-political view security could include everything and anything depending on policy agenda while for analysts, use of empirical evidence frames issues such as diseases as global security issues. Williams (2012:5) defines security as “alleviation of threats to cherished values.” It is therefore, based on emancipation though justice and human rights. Security can also be positive or negative; negative security implies absence of threat whereas positive security implies “making things possible” (p.6). For Buzan and Hansen (2009: 9) security is about “political themes such as state, authority, legitimacy, politics and sovereignty.” The next question that needs understanding is whose security? Different theorists have different opinions regarding the referent object or for whom security is meant to be. For realists, the state is the referent object (Buzan & Hansen, 2009). Issues of security are thus aimed at addressing the internal and external threats to the state. It then implies that ensuring the
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