International Security

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    • 00:00


    • 00:11

      DAVID J. GALBREATH: International securityis a broad concept that introduces securityin a very broad perspective.We understand international as a relationship between states,between communities, between societies, between individualssuch as leaders, for instance.What I'm particularly interested in,my own area of international security

    • 00:32

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: and the way that I profess or teach to students,is really about how security is understoodfrom everything to individual, say, public safety, to reallythe arms trade, to conflict, to modern and emergent warfare.And I think it's the relationshipbetween the individual politics of securityand kind of the international politics of security

    • 00:54

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: where international security really comes in and helps usbe able to really engage with some very interesting topics.International institutions have a big roleto play in international security, in many casesbecause it helps us define what international security is.

    • 01:16

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: So the way that states, the way that political leaders investin international institutions, and the way that they frameinternational security problems tellsus something about the way that international securityis seen as the solutions that are able to match the problem.And international institutions becomesomething of a center or a conduit

    • 01:38

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: by which those frames are articulated.International security has been around reallysince the beginning of knowledge as we know it.And if we go back even to something like Plato,or Socrates before Plato, and Aristotle,

    • 01:60

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: technology has been fundamental to the waythat international security is understood and is framed.It is communicated not only between spaces,but across generations or across time in the same waythat even now we see technology being increasingly importantin the way that we think about international security,

    • 02:20

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: the way that we see it in 24-hour news, the waythat we see it in social media, and the way that we'reable to have conversations across generations,across space, so across space and across time.Social media has impacted the field of international security

    • 02:41

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: specifically within the context of bringing,say, academics closer to practitioners and usersof international security.So a good example would be something like the waythat we think about Afghanistan, the way that we thinkabout Syria, the way that we even think about Egypt,or the events that happened in Tunisia and afterwards.

    • 03:05

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: Social media is not only a way for local voicesto be heard beyond the local community,but it's a way for us to have somethingmuch more of a global conversation about that.And that, in a sense, is very important for understandinghow we think about international security.Whether it disrupts the way that we

    • 03:27

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: think about international security, I think,is a bigger question.International security has changed followingthe end of the Cold War primarilyby disrupting what we consider to bethe key agency of insecurity.

    • 03:47

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: And the key agencies of insecuritywould have been traditionally states.And following the end of the Cold War,we imagined that it's not necessarily states thatare the problem in international security,even though that we can see in the case of Russiatoday that's not always the case.But in the way that we saw ethnic conflict

    • 04:07

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: in the former Yugoslavia, the waythat we saw the rise of global jihadism,the way that we've been able to seedemocratic or liberalizing movements,the way that we've been able to seeanti-poverty or anti-austerity movements in Latin Americaand Spain and Italy and Greece.So the way that security has been

    • 04:31

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: placed on different levels or different agentswithin the international system or world politicshas really been the key change.The critical turn in international securityhas really followed the lines of something

    • 04:52

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: that was happening in the '60s and '70s around social theory,about the way that we understood identity, the way that weunderstood causation, the way that we understood politicsitself.And the way that that's been appliedto international security has becomemuch more geared towards not necessarily explaining

    • 05:16

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: why international security happens,but really trying to uncover the power relationships thatexist within the way that we eventalk about international security,the way that political leaders talkabout international security, the types of securitiesthat we see as more important than others.And it really tries to problematize or bring those

    • 05:38

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: to the fore and don't treat them as black boxes.And I think that's what critical security studies doesfor the larger body of international securityor the larger body of international security scholarsis that it forces the rest of us to un-boxthose assumptions or those agentsthat we consider to be most important.

    • 06:05

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: The key challenges to international securityas we imagine is going to evolve over time or emerge over timereally has something to do with the waythat we think about politics, the waythat we think about politics across space,the way that it's applied to different typesof technologies.And what I'm thinking here is not just the technologies

    • 06:26

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: of, say, social media or mobile phones, but reallythe technologies of politics itself,about the way that we think about elections, the waythat we think about policy-makingand the way that we even think about warfare, for instance.And so giving an indication of how international security isgoing to change in relation to emergent warfare, I think,

    • 06:47

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: is a good example or an enlightening examplein the way that you can see that the waythat individual command and commandprocedures within militaries themselvesare being increasingly pushed down to the battlefield.And so individual units, individual commanders,

    • 07:09

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: are having much more say about the rolethat they play on the battlefield.And that's a big difference to the waythat we've understood war in the past.And you could imagine that war as a social phenomenon,other social phenomenons of international relationsand of international security are alsogoing to experience this same change in powerdynamics, the change in the way that we make decisions

    • 07:32

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: across networks, across nodes, across individuals.And I think that's very interesting and exciting.Big data has a particular role in the waythat states try to interpret international security.It's going to have an impact on the way

    • 07:53

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: that academics try to interpret international security too.But in particular, states such as in the UK,something like GCHQ, or the NSA in the United States,or the equivalent in Beijing, or something like this,they're going to seek a way in which

    • 08:14

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: to try to interpret not necessarily individual actions,but really patterns of actions.And this is really an extension of somethingthat was very popular in the 1920sall the way up to the 1950s, whichwas a cybernetics movement in the way that society worked.

    • 08:34

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: If you can understand society as just data points,then it's much easier, supposedly,to be able to understand how international security is goingto play out and how that relates to individual nationalinterests.

    • 08:54

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: Theory is fundamental to international security.And I would argue that theory is fundamental to every areaof studies.But international security really relies on theoryin order to be able to explain what type of securitiesthat we consider to be important.So really, they frame certain types of priorities.

    • 09:15

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: How do we prioritize what we thinkis important in the international system?And what do we consider to be the most important threatsand the risks of those threats in international security?In something like, say, traditional realist theoryand how it applies to international security

    • 09:35

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: tells that it's really concerned with power.So we should really be looking for patterns of power,that we should be looking for possible signs of offenseand defense, and we should be lookingfor the state behind the action.Where other theories of international relationslook for much more so in the case of something

    • 09:56

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: like patterns of cooperation, patterns of friendship,patterns of alliances.And I think that really in the way that that goes all the waydown to something like critical theorysays that it gives us a sense of assumptions,tangible assumptions, that we're able to share with one another.

    • 10:17

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: And I think that that's where the social value of theorycomes into the study of international security.Theories of international securityhave limitations in as far as theories always do.Theories are always a way in whichto try to simplify reality.

    • 10:40

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: And so even theories of complexityin international security are a way for usto assume some kind of generalitywithin the international system that suggests to us that itmay not always work.But it gives us an opportunity to try

    • 11:02

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: to explain the biggest part of the universethat we can explain.And there are always going to be limits to theory.But even more importantly, theories are themselvessocially constructed.So in that case, they are naturally going to be flawed.They're going to be limited.They're going to be time-dependent.

    • 11:23

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: And so as we move between our [INAUDIBLE],as we move between different power dynamics,if we move between different actors, mostdefinitely the theories are going to follow with them.International security has always been important to mein as much as I've always been fascinated with current events.

    • 11:46

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: I've always been interested in history.I've always been interested in the waythat those are represented within literature,in popular fiction, in popular culture, and things like this.So for me, it was something natural fromeven before I went to college or went to university.And really, why this has been something

    • 12:07

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: that has dominated what I've looked atis that in coming from Memphis, Tennessee, whichis my hometown, international politics is reallyin the sense that we imagine that domestic politics reallydominates, say, the South, or Memphis, or American politics.

    • 12:28

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: It really suggests that, in fact,that that really has an international quality.And that when we think about peace and conflict,peace and security, when we think about the waythat that is connected to everythingfrom international trade to international conflict,we see it in our own individual politics,that we have individual politics of international security.

    • 12:51

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: And I think that's what I've always been struck by,even though maybe I wasn't able to articulate itlike that in the past.One of the benefits of having a strong theoretical backgroundas an undergraduate student is that you

    • 13:12

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: have a very broad breadth of theorists.And for me, everything goes back to Plato's "Republic."And in fact, everything that we talk about in relationto international security, about power, about justice,about peace, about reconciliation,

    • 13:32

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: around community building, can be found in Plato's "Republic."And really, everything from that was recorded,or so-called recorded, conversationsof Socrates and his co-thinkers is somethingthat we see in everything from St. Thomas Aquinas,to Machiavelli, to Kant, or to Hobbes and to Kant,

    • 13:57

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: all the way up until Morgenthau, and Watts, and Mearsheimerand so on.I think the most interesting areas thatare happening at this moment are particularly relatedto feminist security studies.Feminist security studies, in the way

    • 14:17

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: that it is able to turn international security upsidedown-- in many ways there's not a lotto say about how we think about power, howwe think about war, how we even think about peace-buildingor peacekeeping.But what's particularly interestingis that feminist security studies is

    • 14:37

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: more than about emancipation.It's more than about traditional feminism.But it's about understanding about howgender and feminist theory fits within the waythat we even conceptualize security.And so I would say that there's some fantastic research goingon at the moment in feminist security studiesand some fantastic scholars.And I think that this is going to grow into something that

    • 14:58

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: is quite important in changing the way that we thinkabout international security.The areas that I think that are more important to meare definitely the way that we think about--so I would say something like critical securitystudies, like feminist security studies, is important.But I think there's something that feminist securitystudies does is it brings something like a philosophy

    • 15:19

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: back into the study of international security.And for me, that's what's most important.And the way that I think about the relationshipbetween something like emergent warfare and technology, whichis where I'm going with my researchnow, for me it's the philosophical underpinningsin the way that we think about time and space,

    • 15:39

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: the way that we think about agency, about the selfand the body, the way that we thinkabout decision-making and the body, such as Descartes.That's a classic way of trying to understand society,politics, and in some way, through the rationalist turn

    • 16:02

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: of the 20th century, we lost touch with.And I think that that's increasinglycoming to terms with the way that international security isbeing thought of or the changing natureof international security as a field.

    • 16:26

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: International security is a fieldthat naturally runs along different fault lines tryingto figure out what securities are mostimportant, whether it's human security,or whether it's something like global security,and everything in between.Who's involved in terms of who are the key actors in driving

    • 16:46

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: international security, debates in how international securityshould be understood, debates in how we bring about peace,the debates between essentially the two mostimportant aspects of our existence,which is essentially, how do we alleviate poverty while

    • 17:06

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: at the same time maintaining a stable international system?And the compromises that we make in trying to make those twothings happen.And I think that that's the great thingabout the study of international securityis that it allows everything from the student

    • 17:27

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: to the professor at a university to have a really keen debate asto almost a three-dimensional nexus thatis international security.In much the same way that you thinkabout a building with different entrances,

    • 17:48

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: international security is very interesting in that waythat you can enter into it from these different sides thatallows you to think about international securityas we all understand what international security isand that we all understand what kind of issuesthat it revolves around.But we're able to have these different ideas about why it

    • 18:11

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: revolves the way that it does.International security, like any other areaof social science or social theory,relies on a strong, rigorous methodology,

    • 18:31

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: whether that is qualitative, or whether that'smore theoretical, or whether that's quantitative.I think that international securityhas a very strong record in showinghow it fits in with these both positivist methods of datacollection and data analysis and also

    • 18:53

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: the post-structuralist understandings of the waythat you can have-- how do you employee rigorous analysiswhile at the same time distrusting your data?Which essentially is what the post-structuralist argumentis about.

    • 19:14

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: And I think in both cases, international securityand the scholars in international securityhave done a great job of being able to employeerigorous methods in being able to impact everythingfrom, say, peace studies, to conflict analysis,to war studies.

    • 19:38

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: Mixed methods are an important part of international security,and it's an important part of social science as a whole.Mixed methods allows the qualitative dataand the quantitative data to really speak to one another.And it's an opportunity to, whether or notyou formulate that within somethinglike a game-theoretic model or whether or not

    • 20:01

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: you're just using it to tell different sides of the story,is a fantastic way of being able to uncovermany of the black boxes of international security.But perhaps even more importantly than that,it's a way to communicate to different partsof the international security community.

    • 20:26

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: The ability to have an impact on policymakersor key decision-makers is always different or difficultbecause we live in different worlds.We live in either the policy-making world, wherethe jobs are very time-poor.They're very data-consuming.

    • 20:47

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: And the qualities of what it means to be a decision-makerdon't necessarily make always the best decision-makersabout international security.So therefore, the ability to then take somethinglike the academic analysis of international security

    • 21:07

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: and see where theory meets practice,or so the praxis of international security,is one of the things that I thinkuniversities and other higher-education institutionsreally struggle with, and in the same waythat policymakers really strugglewith being able to use the data and use the analysis that

    • 21:30

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: comes from these institutions, these academics, that clearlymake it their life to become experts in these fields.Where I see the biggest relationshipbetween the study of international securityand the doers of international securityare really around the way that we understand things

    • 21:52

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: like power, the way that we understand state action,the way that we understand bargaining, the way that weunderstand negotiation, say, in peace negotiations.I think that it's really these things that kind of floatto the top of this discussion.And you can see even within the context of something

    • 22:14

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: like Henry Kissinger and the way that he'swritten about policy-making, you cansee that what he's particularly interested in,and others like him like Stephen Walt,for instance, what they're particularly interested inis being able to explain power.Because clearly power is the most,for them, the most important elementof international security, of being able to make sure

    • 22:34

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: the international security conformsto the rules that fit your own national interests best.And so I think that that's what policymakerswould be most receptive to.But the thing is is that what I wouldsay is that that's an overwhelminglyUS-centric, but even more than that,it's an overwhelmingly Western-centric about the way

    • 22:57

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: that policy-making uses academic thought.And I think that if we look across the board,if we look at policymakers around the world,and after all, it's the study of international security, then,in fact, this praxis really variesat different levels as to how much academic insight

    • 23:18

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: and analysis can have an impact on the waythat policymakers engage with international securitythemselves.I can see two documentaries that wouldbe most important in understandingcontemporary international security.

    • 23:40

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: The first, I would say, is Fog of War,which has former US Secretary of Defense John McNamara, whois able to say something about the complexitiesof international security when it comes to beinga decision-maker that's really at the coal face of having

    • 24:02

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: to make decisions about real-world events.The second I would recommend is Restrepo.Because the documentary Restrepo really shows you,again, the coal face of what it meansto do international security in as much as Restrepois about the unit, about interpersonal relationshipsbetween soldiers, and about perhaps

    • 24:24

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: a misguided adventure into the Korengal Valley.But it's also an indication about the waythat it reflects strategy and the waythat it reflects international security backonto the decision-makers.The book that I would recommend is Mary Dudziak's bookon War Time.And I think War Time is a great analysis of the way

    • 24:48

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: that so-called peacetime and so-called wartimecontinually get wrapped around each otherin order to tell us everything about what it meansto be a citizen to the way that we should go to war,prepare for peace.The biggest challenges to studying international security

    • 25:10

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: for students is going to be around the pitfalls of howpolitical science and international relations maponto the study of international security.Political science and international relationsalready has a set of theories about the waythat the world works.And I think what's particularly interesting

    • 25:32

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: about international security is that notalways do international theories or international relationstheories, not always are they the best theoriesto explaining different types of securityand different levels of international security.And I think being able to match the right theorieswith the right questions, or the right problemsand the right questions, is going

    • 25:53

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: to be one of the key struggles or key areas of concernof a student.And I think really having an ideaabout the way that that relationshipworks is going to be really a moment of success for students.

    • 26:13

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: My own area of research has been largelyaround international organizations, arms control,and how decision-makers can negotiate and bargain aroundparticular common security areas,

    • 26:33

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: everything from, say, MANPADS, whichare hand-held surface-to-air missiles, whichan agreement in 2006 that I was involvedin within the OSCE, the Organization for Securityand Cooperation in Europe and in Vienna, to the way that wethink about the development of new types of technologies,

    • 26:56

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: say, around nuclear technologies,around biochemical technologies.And biochemical technologies is somethingthat I've been particularly interested in most recently,and that is an area that is emergent.It's an area that's changing.And policymakers are now under some type of conditionthat they need to be able to match

    • 27:17

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: the change of scientific or technological development.And the question then becomes, do these policies,do these processes of, say, arms control in this case,are they able to keep pace with these changes?

    • 27:40

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: I think the area that international security wouldgreatly benefit from is having much more of an understandingof the way that political culture and society influencesthe way that we think about international security.The way that we think about the enemy, the waythat we think about enemy combatants,

    • 28:01

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: the way that we think about foreign places,the way that we think about home,all these things are not necessarily writtenacross international relations and international securitythat we can just, in some way, divine.In fact, they are socially constructed.And I think having a better idea about the waythat this link between the local politics

    • 28:22

      DAVID J. GALBREATH [continued]: to the international politics is goingto have a big impact on the way that we thinkabout international security.And that's where I would like to see international security go.[MUSIC PLAYING]

International Security

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Prof. David Galbreath discusses the field of international security, its theories, and its practices.

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International Security

Prof. David Galbreath discusses the field of international security, its theories, and its practices.

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