Global Security Upheaval: Armed Nonstate Groups Usurping State Stability Functions

Global Security Upheaval: Armed Nonstate Groups Usurping State Stability Functions

Global Security Upheaval: Armed Nonstate Groups Usurping State Stability Functions

Global Security Upheaval: Armed Nonstate Groups Usurping State Stability Functions

Synopsis

This book calls into question the commonly held contentions that central governments are the most important or even the sole sources of a nation's stability, and that subnational and transnational nonstate forces are a major source of global instability.

By assessing recent real-world trends, Mandel reveals that areas exist where it makes little sense to rely on state governments for stability, and that attempts to bolster such governments to promote stability often prove futile. He demonstrates how armed nonstate groups can sometimes provide local stability better than states, and how power-sharing arrangements between states and armed nonstate groups may sometimes be viable. He concludes that these trends in the international setting call for major shifts in our understanding of what constitutes stable governance-proposing that we adopt a fluid "emergent actor" approach. And he calls for significant deviation from standard policy responses to the opportunities and dangers posed by nontraditional sources of national authority.

Excerpt

This study challenges the prevailing understanding of how security provision works within the contemporary international system. Conventional thinking about international stability rests on five main assumptions: (1) states and intergovernmental organizations are “the dominant locus of authority in global society,” as “territorial state sovereignty is the natural and right form of political organization that delineates and produces world order”; (2) armed nonstate groups are illegitimate “spoilers,” disrupting security and triggering political disorder and violent conflict; (3) the mass public consistently demands state government protection; (4) private bodies can enhance security only if they do not rely on the threat or use of violence, as with transnational market-based or humanitarian organizations; and (5) if a state is not providing stability, “a strategy of strengthening and expanding governmental capacity would be a sensible response to the governance deficit.” Both scholars and policy makers have relied on these tried-and-true premises for centuries.

Since the end of the Cold War in 1989, central state governments have typically been considered the most important or even the sole sources of stability, and subnational and transnational nonstate forces have been identified as a major source of global instability, facilitating ominous disruptive flows of people, goods, and services that have moved readily across international boundaries. Although these claims have some validity, both contentions appear to be too sweeping. in a world where it is possible to identify the devolution of authority from the state to armed nonstate groups, these mainstream security beliefs merit reexamination.

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