Globalization and the Triggering of Crises
His Excellency Karl Erjavec
Minister of Defense of Slovenia
POTENTIAL FACTORS OF GLOBAL INSECURITY
Today’s challenges, risks and threats differ both in quantity and quality from the conventional or traditional challenges, risks and threats we have known throughout the twentieth century. Major changes in the security environment coupled with the emergence of new threats to the post Cold-War security have made our societies more vulnerable. Reforms of a political, economic, or social nature carry with them considerable security implications for the stability of each individual nation or even larger regions. Political instability and economic transitions within individual states as well as the asymmetric development of forces occur at the same time as decreased political tensions and improved relations between states. Thus, both the degree of these relations and the extent of the competition influence global insecurity. It is always difficult to guarantee democracy in international relations. In some regions, unresolved ethnic, religious, territorial or other conflicts sometimes escalate into armed conflicts and local wars. Therefore, as security threats become increasingly overt, complex and difficult to predict, their effects can be felt beyond national borders.
Given the expanding gap between rich and poor nations, relations between Northern and Southern parts of the globe are becoming mankind’s major challenge. This question of civilization is closely related to the security domain. Stagnation and economic underdevelopment are the source of numerous crises that threaten the security of the affected states and their neighbors.
During the last decade of the twentieth century, globalization and a new technological revolution have been the two fundamental changes that have transformed the economy and our way of life. This unexpected globalization and the possible triggering of crises constitute serious security challenges. Changes in globalization and threats that cannot be foreseen require continuing efforts on the part of states to improve their domestic and external security; they also require a collaboration of their existing international systems of security, defense, and economy.
International migrations are a complex problem that strongly influences the economic and political security of all states. Most states are indeed part of the global migratory system, i.e., the migratory policies of one country affect other countries and consequently need to be integrated and harmonized; they also require the effective collaboration of all states.
The opening of borders to states with unstable regimes has reinforced organized crime, drug production and trafficking, economic criminality and, more and more, trafficking in human beings and human organs. Financial means obtained in this way are terrorist organizations’ greatest source of financing. We are witnessing the rise of organized crime and the strong implementation of international criminal networks. In order to fight organized crime, the international community must control migrations, watch its external borders and use effective means against illegal immigration.
Terrorism reinforced by fundamentalism, along with the frustrations and poverty of a large part of the world population, constitute one of the most dangerous phenomenons today. As societies get to be more and more aggregated, complex and economically dependent, they represent potential objectives that can be targeted by terrorist groups. Terrorist organizations’ constant growth, increasing influence and power, are an international threat. This is why security today requires that all security forces able to function in a unified way within a state and within the international space lead a coordinated and common fight. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological and nuclear) represents a stronger and more dangerous threat than during the Cold War period. A rising number of states and non-state actors possess the means to develop certain types of weapons of mass destruction. The possible use of these types of weapons by terrorists is certainly the greatest world threat. Even efforts by the international community are unable to prevent terrorist attacks coming from totalitarian regime states or states that do not abide by the international order. Although the international community seeks to regulate and control the development of weapons of mass destruction through accords and conventions, its success is only partial. It is therefore time to move the focus of international efforts: Growing reservations toward greater regulation must give way to the fact that states and non-state subjects can no longer encourage the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Despite their specific problems and limits, international organizations (UN, OSCE, EU, NATO) will remain for the future factors of international life in general and, more specifically, will play a decisive role in the stabilization of the international security environment. At the dawn of this new century, EU and NATO enlargements strongly contributed to the improvement of security on the old continent. Thus, global, international and regional organizations will become fora for developing states, giving them a chance to get together and resolve problems in a regional, if not global environment.
EUROPE AND SLOVENIA
Europe has always been affected by changes in other continents. This is why, even though Europe is mostly oriented towards its own development, it must also be aware of globalization. The enlargement of the EU and NATO has increased the zone of stability. Other states in the Western Balkans must get closer to the EU and NATO despite the risks of serious crises or conflicts in these territories. A “European perspective” will also bring stability and continuity to this part of Europe. The European Union must understand that its role in the world will be to increase its engagement outside Europe.
Slovenia knows that a stable international environment is one of the “sine qua non” conditions for the development and reinforcement of economic, cultural, political and friendship links between nations. For this reason, it wishes to participate in the creation of conditions that will promote the healthy and stable development of all states. Situated at the edge of South East Europe’s unstable territory, Slovenia enjoys a Mediterranean position that it intends to reinforce in the long term. We also take a keen interest in participating in the stabilization of the territories that will remain outside the borders of an enlarged Europe. The security and stability of these territories are key elements for the creation of political, military and economic links with these states and the goal of developing communications, trade or preventing threats to Slovenia’s national interests. In addition, whenever possible, Slovenia contributes actively to the preservation of peace, security and stability in other key parts of the world that are in crisis.
As the security environment keeps changing throughout the world, Slovenia’s membership in the North Atlantic Defense Committee means that it enjoys one of the highest forms of state securities. Today, with the help of the most influential states in the world, we are directly in charge of our own security and of that of the Alliance’s members. The main mission of our allies’ military capabilities is indeed to preserve peace, territorial integrity, and the independence and security of its members. Within the NATO framework, however, we address the threats, dangers and modern world challenges globally; this is why the Alliance must become an even more global factor in the preservation and defense of international peace, security and stability. The positive results obtained by the enlargement of the EU and NATO led to increased stability, security, peace and collaboration within these states; it also contributed to foster trust between these states, reduce differences, and exclude the use of force in the resolution of conflicts.
Europe’s future on the European continent is linked to the enlargement of NATO and the EU. However, preserving the stability of the European security architecture remains directly linked to the successful and continuing evolution of South East European states toward democratization. These processes cannot take place in isolation and require the direct support of the EU and NATO. It is up to us, to the existing and future national security policies, and to the European external and common security policies, to create security conditions conducive to eliminating tensions, potential conflicts and crises between states, particularly through the use of political instruments. In this way, states will do more than contributing to peace: They will create and fortify peace.