How the U.S. Underestimates Subaltern’s Securitization Strategy – Geopolitics
The United States’ universal strategy is riddled with fundamental inconsistencies. The security propensity of the United States is indicative of its Eastern bent, whereby the security concerns of “others” are easily eliminated, while self-security concerns prevail.
The concept of security cannot be subject to a one-size-fits-all mechanism, and this will come at the expense of countries that face varying levels of security threats, and responses must be designed accordingly. Security is culture-dependent, the one-size-fits-all version of security fervently promoted by the United States is not effective in allaying the deep-rooted security anxieties and anxieties of Third World countries.
Third World countries are plagued by innumerable structural and systemic chaos. Supplanting the Western legal-legal model in the subalterns will not be effective, as the legal system in postcolonial spaces has undergone a disjointed evolution, often at odds with structural and cultural factors. Although the pomp of universal ethos and ideas seems appealing, systemic and structural factors are far from conducive to the flourishing and crystallization of these Western ideals.
As such, securitization in the subordinate remains a difficult situation. This is especially true as subaltern nations cannot dictate legal boundaries and set new ethical parameters, but instead remain subject to Western security conventions. In subaltern spaces riddled with structural anarchy and laboriously slow judicial processes, the government must resort to approaches that are not justified by Western legal standards.
But this raises the question of who sets the parameters of legal, judicial and human rights “universals”?
Take, for example, Bangladesh, which is plagued by domestic instability and the threat of drugs and terrorism, further exacerbated by slow legal proceedings that impede prompt action. This offers the evil elements of society to indulge in lawlessness and structural lawlessness in society persists due to the lack of exemplary procedures.
As such, the RAB has played a commendable role in combating the threat of drugs and terrorism and injecting peace into the justice system. Nevertheless, the United States imposed sanctions on the RAB based on erroneous “universals”. This may well be called the “tyranny of universals,” which ignores the anxiety and security strategies of subaltern postcolonial spaces.
The Ukraine crisis also presents a classic illustration of the understatement of subordinates’ security concerns. The extension of the NATO umbrella – a military alliance that is motivated by the fight against Russia – in the post-Soviet space, a region that is an integral part of Russian identity, had raised security concerns in Russia, and the ensuing invasion can be explained through this lens. As such, underestimating Russian security concerns and pushing the limits of Russia’s strategic patience – the United States and its allies, however, blamed the war on Russian expansionist motives, while that it was Russia’s defensive interests that motivated the hostile response.
It must be recognized that institutions around the world do not follow a uniform pattern of evolution, which is why various securitization strategies are designed to deal with the concerns of peripheral countries.
However, who gave the United States the discretion to rule on universal law and order based on its criteria?
Such arbitrary imposition of Western models often allows Western hegemony to take root. The United States must recognize the sobering truth that security issues in subaltern spaces deviate from its standards. The “domestic security strategy” of the United States, following the terrorist attacks of “September 11” and which still persists, is hardly recommendable for conscientious observers. The United States has designed Muslims as a “threat”, which can be liquidated at will at the slightest suspicion. Furthermore, the specter of McCarthyism is rooted in the United States, where dissent is violently crushed by coercive tactics.
This raises obvious questions as to why US security concerns are legitimized, while Chinese or Bangladeshi security concerns are invariably labeled a human rights violation.
Such glaring inconsistencies in universal and globalized US security standards call into question the consistency of US claims to global custody. Although the United States validates its security dilemma and legitimizes deplorable actions aimed at safeguarding security, the United States underestimates the security concerns of other nations.
[Photo by Scrumshus, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]
*Sam Harris obtained an M.Sc. with distinction from Leiden University, specializing in the governance of radicalism, extremism and terrorism. Her area of interest lies at the intersection of religious identity and politics in the South Asian region. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author..
[gptHow the U.S. Underestimates Subaltern’s Securitization Strategy – Geopolitics