Stability, War and Human Security in the 21st Century: Addendum to Desai

Shannon Beebe and I wrote The Ultimate Weapon is No Weapon: Human Security and the New Rules of War and Peace primarily for an American audience. We wanted to show that the way we do international security has to change in the 21st century. Our basic proposition is that we need to replace the national security policy aimed at defending states from foreign military attack with human security policies aimed at keeping people safe at home
and abroad. Traditional armed forces need to be replaced with a new set of human security services composed of both military and civilian personnel designed to contribute to global efforts to address a range of lifethreatening dangers, especially violence. In particular, we argue that, while military forces are still needed, they would be used in quite different ways from traditional war fighting. They would be more like police – dampening down violence rather than trying to win. To be sure, as Meghnad Desai says, they would give priority to the protection of civilians but their role would be broader than that – stabilisation rather than trying to defeat an enemy. After all, even in traditional conflicts, noncombatant immunity is supposed to be respected.

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