Security Communities

Around the world, states came together to prevent war and to promote peace after World War II. States globally realized that they all have a mutual interest in the preservation of international society. The idea of security communities, which was made famous by a 1957 study by Karl Deutsch and associates, was formed in response to the political milieu. Deutsch et al. defined a security community as a group of people that have become integrated to a point that the member states that reside in it will not use military means to resolve disputes. Security communities are united by a shared ambition to work towards maintaining peace and all member states have an expectation that others will come to their aid in times of crisis. The Western security community primarily includes the EU states and the U.S. President Donald Trump’s nationalistic focus has fundamentally shifted the function of the Western Security community. This has increased the level of political divisiveness within security and economic relationships globally.

President Trump has reneged on many international agreements and bilateral/multilateral partnerships. For instance, President Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, the Paris agreement on climate change, and has significantly weakened the United States’ trade relationship with Germany. Trump no longer shares a common view with leaders from the Western world as to how to set up a secure and safe world. Instead, President Trump has decided that all of the United States’ military resources should be devoted to maintaining security within the country’s national boundaries. However, this security policy position has ‘bad’ ramifications for security and peace within the Western world.

A security community promotes the dissemination of peaceful values and norms across the world. They provide a forum for states to share and build peaceful norms about what actions, identities, and strategic interests are acceptable. As well, they provide states with a basis to share social, cultural, and political identities. Security communities also allow states to build trust with each other to strengthen economic and security ties, which helps to reduce the likelihood that states will go to war with one another if a dispute arises. They encourage states to enter into a discussion when a dispute arises instead of resorting to military combat. They challenge the notion that security threats only exist within a states’ territorial boundaries. They have challenged the realist security framework to argue that peace is more than the absence of war and that the world needs to also address non-traditional security threats.

With that said, President Trump has gone against the fundamental principles, norms, and beliefs of security communities. Trump’s security policy has a strong nationalistic identity that ultimately focuses on the national boundaries of the U.S. Trump’s actions have diminished the United States’ support and trust that they have with many Western powers. The U.S. has the most omnipotent military force in the world, as such, they have the greatest likelihood of winning a potential military battle. However, the advent of security communities has helped states to realize that peace is more than the absence of war. Trump’s inward looking security policy, which has a strong military focus neglects other security issues, such as climate change and feminism that relies on states to collaborate. States in the Western World no longer have the same platform to promote peace and to condemn military violence. Instead, President Trump’s actions have reduced the trust that states have for one another globally, which had been gradually strengthened following WWII. Trump has diminished the capacity of the Western world to derive a peaceful solution during times of inter-state conflict.

Lucas Mirani