A Tale To Tell & Remember

I'm very much inspired by the words of Thomas L. Friedman in his book "The World Is Flat" which renders about the influence of bloggers in this new age. I want to keep the highest integrity and honesty in posting my words to the world. This blog act as a testimony to my alacrity of sharing information with the borderless world. Hope we can share a high regards of veracity and chivalry with this blog because that's why it is here. So help me God!

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Sunday, 30 November 2008

Security, Food Subsidies, and the behaviour of the Malaysian consumer.

[Salam all, in my article this time I will explain the significant correlation between three issues i.e. securities, food subsidies and the behaviour of the Malaysian consumers - how the development of security issues post-Cold War period would determined how world wide consumer behave including Malaysian consumer thus precipitating a needed change in the way the government in this context - KPDNHEP in dealing with food subsides (flour, sugar) in the future to come.]

 

1.     During the Cold War period, security issues were looked at merely in the context of military issues, particularly the U.S. vs U.S.S.R. context. But after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and after the whole world saw of how Communism and Socialist economy ravages the Eastern European and Russia economy, security were defined more into a detail perspective. As such came the term called as human security. According to Human Development Report, there are seven specifics elements that constitute human security which are:-

 

i)                economic security (freedom from poverty);

ii)               food security (access to food);

iii)              health security (protection from disease and provision of health care);

iv)              environmental security (protection from pollution and resource depletion);

v)               personal security (physical safety from torture, war, and criminal attacks);

vi)              community security (survival and cultural identity); and

vii)            Political security (freedom from oppression).


2.     Having stated the seven above elements that constitute human security, I will only touch on two issues which are economic security and food security. Economic health is an extricable part of national security. It is prerequisite to the pursuit of national security – both in internal and external dimensions. It provides the means to neutralize some of the domestic sources of conflict, makes the state less vulnerable to external pressure and penetration, and makes possible the allocation necessary resources to counter internal and external threat.

 

3.     This is relevant to the developing states such as Malaysia, where a deteriorating or stagnating economy and distortion in income distribution can give rise to exacerbate already existing domestic conflicts and thus threaten the very idea of the state. As such the government of Malaysia after gaining its independence has embark on numerous social projects of providing its citizen with nutritional food, optimal healthcare and economic opportunities to mend oneself from an extreme or an abject poverty.

 

4.     Among the introduced social projects were 1) the distribution of toilet bowls to the urban and rural peoples of Malaysia, spearheaded by the Ministry of Health aimed to inculcate hygienic habits and to deter/ prevent endemic such as cholera, TB, etc (just to name two); 2) the introduction of food subsides on certain food items such as flour and sugar as a nutritional programmes spearheaded also by the Ministry of Health in cooperation with the Ministry of Industrial and Commerce. These two programmes were launched and planned by the Economic Planning Unit under the auspices of its then Minister Tan Sri Ghazali Shafie after consulting the former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak and his Chief Secretary of State in 1970.


5.     To cut short, the New Economic Policy and the National Development Plan had proved to be a success in bringing up the well being of the Malaysian citizens as a whole. From having a 40% (1969) of its citizens in an abject poverty group, the percentage had decrease enormously to 1.4% in 2008. As such, the transition of abject poverty to a relative poverty among the Malaysian citizens can be seen everywhere from individual own property, narrow gap of gini coefficient, and the well being of the Malaysian consumer as a whole. As such, the definition of security were also re-defined into a more complex issues from the rights of a community to the rights of a minority group to the rights of an individual to own an assets, to procure, to compete and to questions issues that matters. One of these issues is food security.

 

6.     I did mentioned above of how our government had spend millions of ringgit to distribute free toilet bowls and taught the urban and rural citizens of Malaysia on how to use it properly. Before the programmes, most of the Malaysian citizens would resort in a traditional ways in answering nature calls and this had made them vulnerable to endemic diseases. After much success, such programmes has been stopped due to the increase and mounting cost (try to imagine how much toilets bowls would cost the government in the current market) and also the cost of manpower to teach every citizens to use toilet bowls properly. Such things were an alien today and we would also laugh on such idea that the government need to subsidize its people to shit properly. But that is how the situation before. Forgive me to portray such example, but that subsidizing programmes even though how nauseating to you all is the perfect example for me to relate on the issues of food subsidies that the government is spending today.

 

7.     The toilet bowls subsidies have stopped but the food subsidies are continuing. Even though the abject poverty of the Malaysian people has decreased enormously from 40% to 1.4%, the government out of its ignorance still continued subsidizing its people disregard of its citizens’ per capita income, gini coefficient, or its incidence of poverty. Even though the definitions of poverty have changed from abject/ extreme to a relative poverty, hundreds millions of ringgit are still spent today to cater the food subsidies.

 

8.     Figures of Real per capita GNP that is considered an important indicator of the standard of living, since income provides the basis that allows people to sustain themselves and their families, while the distribution of income reflects equity and balanced development were not a point of reference for the government in its subsidizing programmes. The real per capita GNP doubled from RM3,120 (RM3,734 in nominal terms) in 1980 to RM6,130 (RM12,051 in nominal terms) in 1997 as a result of the high economic growth. It showed clearly that most of the Malaysian can fend for themselves and do not rely anymore on the government subsidies except that 1.4% of its abject poverty groups. But the amount of government subsidies that were planned still figured for the rest of its 26 million citizens.

 

9.     We know that with the effect of the globalize world, the market economics have become the norms in virtually every country in the world, including Malaysian which educating its consumers to ask for a better and perfect products. For a market to keep producing perfect products for the consumer, a cost is needed for products innovations and safety test. As such the government will end up bankrupt to keep subsidizing its growing citizens with its growing demands and its growing standards for its consumed food. Even though, millions and millions of Malaysian new consumers and producers were able to buy or sell their goods and services – as an individual or companies – and were able to collaborate with more people in more places on more things with greater ease for less money than ever before, the Malaysian government still subsidizing its people with food that their own people can procure.

 

10.    Amid the path that the Malaysian consumer is walking with their own version of economic well being – a car, a house, and air conditioner, a cell phone, a microwave, a toaster, a computer, and an i-Pod – the Malaysian government still subsidized its people with food on the table. With the increase of the consumer demand standards asking for better and quality food, try to imagined how much the government had to subsidized its people with the right flour and flour only – not to include sugar, rice or health care/ free hospitals. As such this government would go bankrupt in 2020. So much of the great vision of self-sustaining economy.

 

11.    Based on the points I stated above, I asked for a review in the government food subsidies that should fend off only for those 1.4% of abject poverty group and not the whole 26 million peoples of Malaysia. The right way to deal with the food subsidies is to float the price of these items based on the current markets and the introduction of food stamps for the 1.4% abject poverty group and this food stamps should be obtain only at the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat. Currently, Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat is handling an abject poverty group with its social safety nets such as a personal allowances for those that is living below poverty line (RM 700 a month or USD 1.00 a day). This is the right group that should be getting the food subsidies. As such, the government can decrease the amount of its un-needed spending for the rich, and the rich/ “haves” fend for themselves. At least, the “haves” consumers would feel ashamed of themselves whenever thinking that they are getting free food on their tables’ everyday with the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat food stamps printed on their food receipts.

 

To be continue…. 

Saturday, 29 November 2008

UMNO

30 November 2008 - UMNO is in a state of FUBAR. I blame it all on Abdullah and his son in law. UMNO seems like it is going to lose the 13th election. The UMNO leaders is in a state of denial and resorting to bigotry politics and self-centred mission. Malaysian is moving up a notch in non-communal politics and UMNO is in a state of denial. I don't think the in waiting Prime Minister could do much about it even though he is a very smart fella. It is too late already - at least that is my current thinking.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Consumer behaviour - spending in crisis

Here are some of thoughts that were playing in my mind when we are talking about the current downturn in the domestic economies to be precise on the Malaysian consumer spending. Perhaps a little bit of my info with you all that will give you the clear picture where we are heading if the current negative ripple effects of the Financial Crisis are not being handle properly.

 

To be honest I have a friend from my school days in Kajang High School who is currently working in TESCO Kajang as one if its employee. I still remember his statement about the way people are spending today through his own observation - in TESCO Kajang - "Teddy, you can clearly see that their bodies (the consumers) is there but their mind is somewhere else thinking while they were strolling their trollies down the ailes". That is how bad the crisis is changing the way our consumer is thinking and spending. They turned like zombies whenever come the need for them to spend.

 

When you discuss about consumer spending and growth, the enemy is not only the inflation per se, but also deflation. Our consumer do realize that how the current crisis drives the policy makers nuts to introduce numerous counter measures to encourage consumers spending by deflating every materials on the markets shelf. If such a move were done in harsh measures, the consumers will get smart in realizing that the longer they'll wait, the better off they are, so there is no reason to rush. This is what we are seeing today in every hypermarkets where there is basically no drives for Christmas spending - and we know that during Christmas the "haves" usually went out in spending riots. And we know from most of our observation that how Pareto law play an important part as a deciding factor for the consumer to buy coveted items such as Gucci, Armani, Adidas (just to name three), and these products drives growth and profits for future economic cycle.

 

One of the stark observations nowadays - how the dark prospect of looming layoffs and tightening credit has crushed consumer confidence to the lowest levels. As such, our consumers even though with the mighty purchasing power that they possessed were very particular and discerning in using their money/ purchasing power to buy goods. That is when the CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES is vital to coalesce the consumer into smart spending. Spending is needed and is very vital for our economy which is driven most by the consumer spending (try to see how many stall, stores and warehouses in your areas - not to mention that only in Malaysia foodstall is opened 24 hours a day). When there is no spending, there will be no investment, and when there is no investment, there would be no growth or economic cycle. One of the most important factors where policy makers always neglect or overlooked is that market economies needs confidence and optimism for it to grow. You do not invest if the prospect of your future investment is dark, which means you do not innovate or work on any ideas that can bring about growth or profits. With profits comes capital, and with capital comes entrepreneurships and businesses.

 

We saw that in this upcoming two or three months and maybe the first quarter of 2009, most of the domestic consumers will prohibit themselves from spending. They would lose any passion for owning any consumer products. As such, hypermarkets and most of the business store would try to trim down their inventory to the levels it will only generate enough capital for it to pay their electric or water bills and that capital will not be used for future investment or business innovation. If inventory is decreased, most of the collateral growth will halt to a freeze and many of the suppliers, craftsment and even those that were selling nasi lemak every morning will feel this pinch. Business innovation here means not only the R&D of the new products will be stopped but also the stoppages of domestic recruitment of personnel that were the main engine for ones business entities growth. Unemployment would rise and government need to spend for to built the un-needed social safety nets.

 

Inflation and deflation need to be handled delicately. We need to contemplate both consequences and options for it to be stable. If we concentrate more on the build up of the new demands, I think that would enlarge the economic cake and create an opportunities for equity participation especially to those that lost their jobs due to the financial crisis. This crisis if handled properly and well, will only last up to two years. But if we introduce counter-measures to growth then the next 10 years to come we will only see Malaysian struggling to pay debts. Concentrate on the new demands that would drive the consumer crazy to spend and the business sectors run riots for new investment. For an example, if i-phone can be brought up to Malaysia with all of the menu options it has (GPS, Internet browser etc), I believe consumer spending would be interesting again.

 

to be continue...

 

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Impasse

I - Towering Malay

 

18 November 2008 - I went to a seminar on Intellectual Property (IP) Monetization today at PWTC, KL. It was a good seminar (and tomorrow will be the last day) on how to commercialize knowledge into a profitable product. I don't want to talk much on the seminar but to digress to one of the speakers. Mr. Zaid Hamzah a former lawyers and Director of Microsoft for Intellectual Property and currently serving in Telekom Malaysia as Chief Regulatory, Legal and Compliance Officer. The 49 year old man is one helluva towering Malay and he catches my attention today. 

 

My own personal experience of dealing with this guy was when he helped the agency that I served into formulating a very important policy for business sectors and ever since he has been a very good advocator in giving free advices not only to us but also others policymakers. He speaks in a very soft voice but very firm and in-depth of the topics that he is aware of. Not only a very humble person (if we compared to his degree of excellence) but also professional in detailing the issues. He is indeed a towering Malay and we need a lot like him.

 

II - Auto industry

 

I spoke with one of my colleague on the problems of the current auto industry in the United States. He did mention that General Motors and Ford Motor Company keep producing bad products/ car/ vehicle for consumer markets and at the rate they are doing, they will certainly going to deplete their funds for an insignificant gains. I do believe that the way for the future of the auto industry is heading for a small engine technology. 

 

To get one (small engine) a very high investment/ capital is needed. But I think the future small engine will be sold well and marketed not in terms of the accessories that formed the whole engine or the quality of steel that need to produce it, but the price will relies on the knowledge to create one. Such is the capitalistic nature of consumer markets that will drive the innovation for “creative destruction” and it certainly will promise a bright future for mankind itself. Not to mention the green revolution factors that is currently happening in the whole world.

 

III - Obama

 

I certainly understand if the African American hasn't stopped celebrating Obama's recent Presidential victory. But the idea of keep on saying that Obama was the first African Americans after 200 years of racial discrimination is certainly not going to help much with the man vision for change. Let's not forget that if it's not because of the white voters that also believed in his change, he wouldn't be the 44th U.S. President come this January.

 

I think it would be wise for the African Americans to stop celebrating Obama's victory as their victory only. It sickens the whole populations of American peoples including me (Asian) that also believed in his idea of change.


IV - Arts

 

It is very important for us to treasure arts, for arts is when a man understands about himself, others and his surroundings. Arts come first before action and any ideas of surmounting certain challenges. For a man to keep on working like there are no windows of breaks will certainly bring the demise of him. Not to mention the ideas of works but no play will only wears off the creative thoughts that he possessed and this creativity is needed to help him devise a way to settling up an occurring problems. As we are aware that creativity comes after one man knows his own arts. 

 

Arts surpassed any barriers of human creation. Arts surmounted the iron curtain that enclosed U.S.S.R. and East European Nations like we saw when Russian loves and do listened to the Beatles even though Communist ideas inculcated that Capitalist music only destroys the good behaviour of mankind. Steve Jobs were hippies before he creates the first computer. Halle Berry was the first African American who won Oscar before Obama won the U.S. Election and Jesse Owens proved that with his arts of sprinting he defied Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party by winning four Gold Medals in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

 

What I am saying here, if you understand arts then you will be able to carry your life well in this world. 

 

Sunday, 16 November 2008

New highway for Kelantanese

17 November 2008 - I bet this is one of the best news coming in from the future administration of Malaysia come March 2009. There will be a new highway to be built connecting Bentong, Pahang to Kuala Krai, Kelantan crossing of course the Gua Musang town. Kelantanese should pray that this project will go on as scheduled in March 2009 and we are waiting for the Prime Minister in waiting Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak to announce it anytime soon. Let there be a highway for Kelantan. God bless those that involved in pushing the idea into a reality.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Eurozone officially enters recession

 14 November 2008 - I respect the decision made by the European leaders to declare and official state of recession and I wish them all the luck in the world (and the will need it for certain). We the Asian countries need the Eurozones for our future trade and we hope this recession period wouldn't be too long to destroy the bonds and the chain of trades developed by the Asian countries with the European nations during the previous 20 years of Euro introduction. Good luck and God bless to you all. 

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Beautiful encounter

13 November 2008 - We were waiting outside the exam hall for our last paper for this semester. Then I notice a beautiful young lady standing in front of us also waiting for her exam paper at the same hall just staring at us. She has a beautiful perfect body, an apple smooth skin, beautiful fair face and sexy pink lips like all the pretty ladies that dreamt by all man like us.

 

Nivio took the first move by moving closer to her and he did ask her what’s the time at that moment. All of a sudden I burst into laughter with all our friends nearby also laughing upon seeing Nivio using the ancient method of wooing a young lady which I myself thought that method were already extinct. It was a beautiful encounter and for a second I forgot the entire troubled world that we are facing now. For a second I was a student again. For a second...

Monday, 10 November 2008

Perseverance

Preseverance of the blessed

Updated:-

11 November 2008 - I just came back from the Central Bank briefing on the current economic situation - the effect of the global financial crisis. Central Bank tends to differ with my opinions that according to their officials our fundamentals are very strong. According to Central Bank, there are four prong actions taken by the world governments to stem in the negative effects of the global meltdown. They are:-


  • Monetary policy
  • Fiscal stimulus
  • Bank bailouts
  • Crisis prevention measures (i.e. banning of short selling, preventing FDIs' pullout, just to name two)


According to the CB officials, even though we had problems with our palm oil and rubber international demands, but the domestic banks are not affected by the U.S. banking problems which this advantages will ensure banks to continue introducing loan products to the domestic consumer. I hope they are right because I'm not amazed by the briefing given when on the reality basis I saw our consumer had stopped spending like pre-sub prime crisis.


10 November 2008 - I'm still sceptic of the world's effort to free oneself from the ailing global economy. The worlds' governments are currently busy to introduce stimulus packages just to keep the economy kicking via the good old day’s fund that can be found by the publics' pension funds. If you ask me whether that is the right thing to do, I think there aren’t much option left by our policy makers to create an environment of optimistic market despite the stark reality of global meltdown i.e. the losing up of daily jobs.


How far and how long can we stand ignorant is one thing to handle within ourselves when all the big companies such as DHL and Ford/ General Motors had announced their inability to surmount this ripples effects of the worlds financial waves. I'm predicting that if the new elected U.S. administration decided to punish those that were responsible for this mess in the States then small countries like Malaysia had no options but to use these available capitals for a massive infrastructure programmed that will stem the slowdown of the domestic economies at least for three years.


We need to identify infrastructure projects that will benefit the publics in a massive scale as this will create an optimistic feeling at least in real estate business – real estate is a huge factor for an optimistic investment market. Remember our current fundamentals (rubber and palm oil) basically aren’t selling in the worlds' trade. But we were still blessed by these citizens' savings and huge pension funds. Can we still persevere during this hard time is left to the right fiscal policy implemented by the policy makers. Good luck and God bless to all of you. 

 

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Impasse

9 November 2008 - We had a great lunch today at de'Canter, Damansara discussing about current development that is happening in the United States. It seems that we had a consensus by thinking that with Obama, changes due seems to be imminent, not to an extent the overhaul of the United States foreign policy, but the approach that American government would take in leading the world. If they were looking for the right time to lead, then this is it. The stark observation that we saw after the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, everyone in the whole world wants to be (or envy) the Americans of their mature and open democracy. 

 

Obama would be preoccupied first to mend back the whole financial structures that were left in shambles by the financial crisis. He need to rectify this problems before any other priorities that he had promised during the presidential campaign. If this crisis were not the centre of the U.S. administration, then there would be no progress for other area i.e. foreign policy, scientific development that was promised by the new administration. This is not just about the survivability of the American empire, but the whole world.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Hope

7 November 2008 - I do hope Mr. Paul Volcker will play an active role in the main stream economics during Obama's presidency - not to an extent as a replacement to Henry Paulson, but as a crisis manager in the current financial turmoil we are facing today. Mr. Volcker can deliver and mend back the financial problems to the previous period of strong fiscal growth and financial viability as the man is well known in the past to be the punisher of the "reckless gamblers" when he increased taxes during the artificial booming period of 1980s and he himself knows pretty well when is the right time to check and stem the bubble growth of capitalism. He is a savvy capitalist and I do hope that Obama will bring back Mr. Volcker to the centre of economics high politics!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Change

5 November 2008 - It's very hard not to feel the change Obama brought to the world as a whole just now. As Malaysian, I love to see similar changes happened in Malaysia's politics where in the future to come there would be no more bigotry racial politics, or an UMNO elite that would unilaterally defined the Malaysian way of life for self-centered politics or anything like using a religion as a pretext to be in power even though one self is incapable of holding high office. Let's hope that such changes do come within our lifetime such as Obama changing America today. Let's hope that this beacon of hope set alight by the American peoples does set the world bright including Malaysia. Vive la liberte!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Strategic Culture in analyzing security in the post-Cold War

[Explain the relevance of strategic culture in analyzing security in the post-Cold War]

By: Ahmad Syah Ejaz Bin Hj. Ismail

 

Introduction

 

            In deciding the outcome of war, one must also took into account the aspect of various elements in precipitating an enemy action. This element varies differently from various aspect and cultures. Mankind had studied warfare through cultural approaches as fundamentals in determining the future outcome of a war. Cultural approaches to these strategic studies have existed in a range of forms for hundreds of years and these literatures on strategic studies have been written by classical scholars such as Thucydides, Sun Tzu and Clausewitz.

 

            The reasons why it is important for International Relations scholars to study Strategic Culture was that it will provides the basis for an academic enterprise aimed at developing cumulative knowledge about strategic culture itself and of all types and as a means for discerning trends relevant to the varied cultural contexts that one nations are likely to encounter. In another words, this knowledge of Strategic Culture is to provide the policy makers the fundamentals information about approaches, [1]“ways of war”, and strategic doctrine of a particular nations or leaders and how an actor could behave in crisis situations. Moreover if it were adopted in analyzing securities issues in the Third World Nations, it can be used to determine the role of state elites or “leaders” in shaping its security issues such as threats and circumstances which will lead to change.

 

            A strategic cultural analysis can therefore assist in considering how to respond to developments like the post-Cold War period by exploring different pathways by which new types of threats arises and devise a range of intervention strategies to suit the particular circumstances

 

Definition

 

            In the past the concept of strategic culture has been applied in a variety of ways and to a range of countries (e.g. Japan, Germany), regions (e.g. Scandinavia, Pacific Ocean) and security institutions (e.g. NATO) in order to examine the main aspects of their security policies. It has been the case that by applying the notion of strategic culture to certain case studies scholars tries to explain continuity and change in national security policies. In addition, academics involved in the study of strategic culture attempt to create a framework which can give answers as to why certain policy options (and not others) are pursued by states[2].

 

            The most recent works which coined the concepts of Strategic Culture was in the 1970s, when an American political scientist by the name [3]Jack Snyder explains the strategy of the Soviet Union which concludes that the Soviets did not behave according to the rational choice theory. Through the Rand Corporation report – The Soviet Strategic Culture: Implication for Limited Nuclear Options, Snyder defined Strategic Culture as “the sum total of ideas, conditioned emotional responses, and patterns of habitual behaviour that members of a national Strategic Community have acquired through instruction or imitation”[4].

 

            However after the failure of US scientist to predicts world leaders behaviour by adopting the Strategic Culture fundamentals based on rational-actor paradigms and game theoretical modelling in analysing superpower relations, a number of scholars came to the conclusion that each country had its own way to interpret, analyse and react to international events[5]. This brought the question of a state/ national culture back to the agenda and created a new wave of literature which focused on the development of a new tool of analysis, notably that of strategic culture.

 

            The definition of strategic culture acknowledges that strategic culture is a product of a range of circumstances such as geography, history and narratives that shape collective identity, but one which also allows it a role in enabling and constraining decisions about security[6]. [7]Three distinct areas where strategic culture can contribute to policy making are: 1) in analysis of threats; 2) in considering the cultural context where conflict is underway; and 3) in negotiations aimed at inducing a peaceful relation.

 

            In this paper, I will discuss the importance of strategic culture at inducing a peaceful relation among nations and between state elites and its peoples in the post-Cold War period and how the fundamentals of strategic culture which varies from one country to another will determine the behaviour of the uni-polar world that is dominated by the United States in changing the political order of the post-Cold War period.

 

Strategic Culture in analyzing security in the post-Cold War

 

            Securities studies during the Cold War focused almost exclusively on military defence and deterrence, particularly the East-West conflict[8]. According to David Baldwin, during the Cold War, security studies were composed mostly of scholars interested in military statecraft. But with the end of the Cold War and the military standoff between the superpowers, scholars have challenged the assumptions underlying security studies[9]. Thoughts on the points which only emphasized the protecting of state sovereignty and territorial integrity from an external military threat have been attacked for being to narrow and need a revision at the expense of other areas. These areas posed as a new elements as in the studies of strategic culture as fundamentals of the security problems.

 

            Barry Buzan through his renowned works People, States and Fear broadened the scope of security to encompass, in addition to the military dimension such as economics, the environment and society. The assumptions of Realism that had underpinned the national security debates of the Cold War have been subjected to re-evaluation[10]. Essentially, this deepening entails moving away from the state as the sole focus of security, or referent object, and embracing among others individuals and identity as possible alternative referents.

 

            As the Cold War and bipolar structures of the post-war international systems began to unravel during the late 1980s, there were grounds for thinking that security was developing into the preferred concept for dealing with high politics in the emerging post-Cold War international systems[11].

 

            For an examples personal beliefs and characteristics that have shaped state policies in the past include the spiritual beliefs of leaders, their perceptions of themselves and their opponents, concepts of personal or national honour, intellectual rigidity or adaptability, respect for others or the lack thereof, deceitfulness or openness, risk acceptance or tolerance, aggressiveness or caution, and maliciousness or sympathy[12]. An individual element alone was wide enough to be used as fundamentals elements in determining and precipitating a certain act by a leader in a particular issue concerning security studies in the post-Cold War period.

 

            According to Ken Booth, security comes from freeing (emancipation) of people from constraints. These constraints can be structural which are the way the international system operates as well as constraints created by the elite in power[13]. The question of which actors within a state have the power to determine what constitutes a security questions is one addressed by the Copenhagen School. The Copenhagen School that introduced society as a referent object (societal security) to complement the state and it is also the one which addressed the question of what is and is not a security issues, and this work has become known as securitization[14].

 

            The securitization refers to a two stage process that makes an issue a security issue. First, an actor (usually the elite) has to couch the issue as an existential threat and later emphasized the issues to the audience until they accept it as a security issues. After the end of the Cold War, it is common the securitization concept arises from a motion by the state elite or the government which is privileged to securitize a certain issues. For an example terrorism issues which beleaguered the Indonesian government after the terrorist attack on [15]October 12, 2002 in Bali, President Suharto then adopted a draconian law to suppress it which this action were backed up by the Indonesian people after Suharto’s interpretation of the events. As such this will lead the audiences (Indonesian people) to recognize terrorism as a threat and requires and extraordinary measures from the elite (Suharto regime) to counter it.

 

            In the post-Cold War period, the field of security studies has undergone some important changes. In addition to broadening security to encompass economics, the environment, and society, it has also deepened to ask what unit (the individual, the state, and the international system) is to be secured. This has raised the prospects that security comes not from power or order, but from emancipation[16]. For an example when we discussed about human security which was defined by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as safety from chronic threats as hunger, disease, and repression. This also includes protection from sudden harmful disruptions on the patterns of daily life whether in homes, in jobs or in community[17]. As such any efforts to liberate a particular individual which were beleaguered by poverty is considered an emancipation efforts from threats that will provide an individual security by the government in power.

             

            The security studies literature that seeks a broadening and deepening of security studies in the post-Cold War era is therefore much more relevant to the third world that its strategic predecessor, and vice versa. This statement is in parallel with the belief that strategic culture will be defined in progressive models that seeks a stable equilibrium in the post-Cold War period and will contribute most to the efforts of nation buildings which will later influenced the determination of state security issues. During the Cold War, most of the security studies have assumed a Eurocentric view of the international systems. Security was seen through the lens of the two superpowers which were the United States and the USSR. This then lead them to seek a global alliance with the new developing nations and any interest shown in particular region was determined by the impact of the global balance of power. But in the post Cold War, with the non existence of the dual power, securities issues were then seen in the perspective of a nation building and its development. Hence Amitav Acharya’s conclusion that “the end of the Cold War should serve as a catalyst for the coming of age of Third World security studies”. Security is thus equated with maintaining order.

 

            The new paradigm change on the issues of security in the post-Cold War period also will effects how the dominant power of the American government to perceive new threats which will arises and this will effects the security issues of the other nations. For the United States, the new threats will fall into [18]four broad categories:

 

     Threats posed by nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, including dangers associated with the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons as well as those associated with the large stocks of these weapons that remain in the former Soviet Union;

 

     Regional threats, posed primarily by the threat of large-scale aggression by major regional powers with interests antithetical to the United States, but also by the potential for smaller, often internal, conflicts based on ethnic or religious animosities, state-sponsored terrorism, or subversion of friendly governments;

 

     Threats to democracy and reform, in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere; and

 

                       Economic threats to the United States security, which could result if they fail to build a strong, competitive and growing economy.

 

            The end of the Cold War produced an even greater temptation to recast the international environment in America’s image. In the post Cold War, the United States is the only remaining superpower with the capacity to intervene in every part of the globe[19]. American government will identify “new security challenges” to include the “proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the growth of ethnic nationalism and extremism, international terrorism, and crime and drug trafficking”[20].

 

            It may well be that access to weapons of mass destruction is greater now than during the Cold War. Some analysts make a strong case for an increased post-Cold War terrorist threat, classifying groups with ethnic, religious or millennium (apocalyptic) motivations for seeking to acquire and use chemical, biological, radiological or possibly nuclear weapons to inflict mass casualties and disruptions[21]. Where the Cold War rested on East-West military and ideological rivalry, the initial post-Cold War optimism posited more collective and cooperative security arrangements and an opportunity for new security thinking.

 

            In the post-Cold War, the economic well being of a nation’s citizens posed a fundamental objective of a modern state. The economic well being value can be subsumed by the core value of political independence which allows the state to choose its own political and socioeconomic system without external constraints, at least in theory[22]. A viable economic health is an extricable part of national security in the post-Cold War. It provides the means to neutralize some of the domestic sources of conflict, makes the state less vulnerable to external pressure and penetration, and make possible the allocation of necessary resources to counter internal and external threats.[23]

 

            The elusive quality of economic security becomes apparent immediately after the collapsed of the Communist idea when ones try to apply the idea to the dominant mode of economic organization in the system: capitalism[24]. According to Barry Buzan, the collapse of the Cold War strengthens the predominance of welfare over warfare motives for economic nationalism, a development particularly to be welcomed in the case of the Soviet Union and with considerable scope in the United States[25].

 

            [26]Henry Kissinger says it best when he emphasized the new roles of American dominance where the fulfilment of America’s ideals will have to be sought in the patience accumulation of partial successes. The certitudes of physical threat and hostile ideology characteristics of the Cold War are gone. The convictions needed to master the emerging world order are more abstract (and needed a strategic culture approach).

           

Conclusion

 

            The events of September 11 and the subsequent war on terrorism have prompted renewed attention to the role of culture in shaping state (and non-state) behaviours. It may indeed be possible looking at the current changes in political graph; there may be a need to develop scope conditions within which strategic culture could have a stronger impact on security policy.

 

            In the post-Cold War, the strategic cultural dilemmas define new directions for foreign policy and demand the reconstruction of historical narratives. These changes will include and abrupt and fairly dramatic reorientations of security policy behaviour that would appear to be possible and strategic cultural models must be more reflective of the conditions that draw out such changes.

 

            While Snyder had made a strong case for the influence of strategic culture in Soviet nuclear policy, the post-Cold War period had present a strong case for broader aspects of studies that share a strong bonds of culture, societal values, religion, ideologies, economic cooperation and etc. These elements were broad enough to include a non-state actor which operates across territorial boundaries where identities may be formed in the realm of cyberspace which still can influenced state/ non-state behaviour that might posed a latent threat to security issues.

 

            In the post-Cold War, the studies of Strategic Culture would be defined in a new roles or also known as progressive models which will operates on the basis of assumptions about the sources, influences, and implications of identity that have a high potentials in being a policy tools especially in regards of state security. Strategic culture would be defined in a model that speaks to concern in key policy and major powers would tailor their security policies to accommodate the cultural differences among the nations that were trading with them. This can be explained through the progressive models that explore external-internal linkages and their impact on discrete, strategic choices which will represent avenue for theoretical advancement[27].

 

References:


1.                  Muthiah Alagappa, The National Security of Developing States, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysia, 1987;

2.                  Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy, Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 1994;

3.                  John Baylis, et all, Strategy in the Contemporary World – An Introduction to Strategic Studies, Oxford University Press, 2005;

4.                  Barry Buzan, People, States & Fear, Pearson Longman, 1991;

5.                  Lawrence Sondhaus, Strategic Culture and Ways of War, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2004; and

6.                  Alan Collins, Security and Southeast Asia, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies – ISEAS, 2003.



[1] Darryl Howlett, 2005.

[2] Margaras, 2004.

[3] Lawrence Sondhaus, Strategic Culture and Ways of War, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2004, p. 10.

[4] Ibid. p. 12.

[5] Margaras, 2004.

[6] Darryl Howlett, 2006.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Alan Collins, Security and Southeast Asia, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies – ISEAS, 2003, p. 2.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Alan Collins, 2003, p. 3.

[11] Barry Buzan, People, States & Fear, Pearson Longman, 1991, p. 13-14.

[12] John Baylis, et all, Strategy in the Contemporary World – An Introduction to Strategic Studies, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 175.

[13] Alan Collins, 2003, p. 3.

[14] Ibid. p. 5.

[15] Ibid. p. 6.

[16] Ibid. p. 7.

[17] Alan Collins, 2003, p. 4.

[18] Les Aspin, Secretary of Defense, 1993.

[19] Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy, Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 1994, p. 805.

[20] Rebecca Johnson, 2005.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Muthiah Alagappa, The National Security of Developing States, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysia, 1987, p. 2.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Barry Buzan, 1991, p. 235.

[25] Ibid. p. 262.

[26] Henry Kissinger, 1994, p. 836.

[27] Jeffery S. Lantis, 2006.

Faces of Tun Teddy

Faces of Tun Teddy