An essay

I thought I’d now post an essay I wrote for Russian security policy -course. I decided to write it in English ’cause I figured it would benefit me more (also it would then count towards this ALMS-course so haha). But, without further ado, here it is:


According to Arnold Wolfers’ 1952 article titled “National security as an ambiguous Symbol”, many people who believe national security should be the priority of a nation, are afraid of external threats on their country. That would somewhat still be fit in contemporary Russia because of Russians’ view of state. Nations tend to create protection and security through the use of power. That is, I think, especially the case in Russia, which is a really large and powerful country in the worlds retrospectrum. Their president, Vladimir Putin, exercises his sole power many times using sometimes even quite controversial means, such as threatening or implying “terms and conditions” to other countries. He uses these means to gain leverage, and on many occasions, he uses this leverage, at least on the surface, to enhance the security policies of Russia.

One of such mediums, putting all reliance on armaments and alliances, is viewed by many to be better than pursuing total neutrality. Compare this view, widely used in Russian politics, i.e. to the one used here in Finland, and you’ll notice the major difference between these means – even though Russia’s means have for sure softened a bit from the days of the Cold War. Finland is a truly neutral country, partly because of its history and geopolitical position on the map, while Russia can be seen in a vastly different light in the world politics. So, Wolfers’ almost 70 years old article is quite competent in this light.

Still, security as a symbol, if used incorrectly, can create more doubt than there should be. Adding to the possible doubt over what security is, is the idea of security being still just a mean towards some bigger goal or end. Protection and preservation of national core values have been thought to be such ends themselves. I think that thought fits in neatly to contemporary Russia and its security policy – especially considering their current foreign policy, in which, for example, NATO and EU are seen as not-so-welcome institutions, and as the biggest threats to Russian security and nation. Security is also a value comparable to power and wealth. Together, and separately, these things are important to international affairs. What’s notable though, is that putting all focus on security is a big burden on a nation’s economy, an idea presented In Wolfers’ article, that is still relevant. It is argued by the fact that the more a nation contributes its recourses to security, the less assets are available for other areas. Russia’s economy is in a slight downfall, which might be explained in part by their conservative and anti-EU antics, and their contemporary security policies.


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