Saturday, April 27, 2019

Regional Security Complex Theory

Well, let's discuss about some analytical strengths and loopholes in the Regional Security Complex (RSC) theory today. Here I will reflect upon what makes the RSC theory unique in analysing the ripple effects of insecurity and what makes it too ambitious.

In their landmark book Regions and Powers, Buzan and Wæver postulate that security challenges are clustered more within a region (a ‘security complex’), and thus the degree of security interdependence is more intense between the actors inside such complexes, than it is between the actors inside and outside a complex.[1] Despite a few earlier studies about such regional security constellations,[2] the duo’s work remains seminal in empirically explaining security complexes. The RSC theory assumes that actors in a specific region share or partially share a definition of threat, or construct each other as threats thereby forming patterns of durable security interdependence.[3] Beyond military and political security, interdependence may be elevated to economic, environmental and cyber security issues.[4]

Buzan and Wæver discuss four variables that characterise an RSC: boundaries, anarchic structure (without a common sovereign), polarity (distribution of power) and social construction (patterns of amity or enmity).[5] Political units in a region securitise or desecuritise issues based on individual criteria and assessment. If enmity is prominent, fear, rivalry and mutual perceptions of threat create interdependence. Such a complex is then called a ‘conflict formation’, at the negative end of the continuum. If amity is prominent, states identify common threats, coalesce to contain them and share peaceful relations. Such a complex is called a ‘security community’, at the positive end of the continuum. At the midpoint lies a ‘security regime’ where states treat each other as potential threats, but negotiate to reduce security dilemmas among them.[6] The figure below displays a three-way model of RSCs along two axes, in which both intensity of trust and degree of peacefulness have negative values (conflict formation), positive values (security community), and mixed values (security regime). 
Created by: Safal Ghimire

Three variables help determine positions of rising powers within regional complexes: regional structure (level and distribution of material capabilities to affect security), regional power roles (leadership, custodianship and protection) and regional power orientation (status quo and cooperation).[7] Depending upon the presence of powers, RSCs may be unipolar (South America), bipolar (East Asia), multipolar (Europe) or apolar (Horn of Africa).[8] Absence of regional powers at some places make RSCs underdeveloped and great powers override intra-regional security in such vacuums (condition of overlay).[9] Sometimes a great power links multiple complexes together producing a looser 'supercomplex'.[10] For example, in a reflective article a decade after the proposition of RSC theory, Buzan notes that an Asian supercomplex is gradually evident, hinging on the rise of China that links the East and South Asian complexes.[11]

The process of RSC creation is obscure and its contours are fluid. In the long run, such complexes may maintain a status quo or undergo some evolution, including external transformation (expansion or contraction of the boundary) and internal transformation (changes in polarity and social construction).[12] However, how an unstructured region (pre-complex) ripens into a proto-complex and later to an RSC is under-theorised.[13] Few studies, such as Frazier and Stewart-Ingersoll, have raised questions on the theory's emphasis on material capability (economic and military might) of a state over socio-political relations in a region.[14]

This theory is more descriptive about regional powers and less predictive about strategic interdependence. It deals less with subtle issues of globally interconnected security issues such as cyberspace, aviation, nuclear proliferation and climate security, which travel across security complexes. Future relations between complexes and the extent to which external transformation takes place are still to be explored.

Countries situated between more than one RSC are labelled insulators, whereas those between multiple powers within a complex are called buffers. For instance, Nepal is regarded as an insulator between East and South Asian complexes, but may develop into a buffer between China and India if an Asian supercomplex takes a perfect form. Some insulator states such as Turkey hold the potential to become regional powers in the long run, but RSC is insufficient in explaining such transformation.[15] Thus this theory needs regular updating to be applied to empirical studies. 

Despite agreement with neorealism upon the idea of bounded territoriality, the RSC theory emphasises regional, not global, contours of power. Neorealism explains strategic interactions in terms of maximisation of power (offensive realism) and strategies of survival (defensive realism).[16] It assumes that 'distribution of power' determines 'patterns of relations', but the RSC theory treats these as independent variables.[17] It proposes that—instead of distribution of power—securitisation and desecuritisation shape patterns of relations (amity and enmity) between a subject country, regional power and great power. In future research, more insightful would be to analyse how such powers negotiate strategic issues within and between RSCs.


[1] Buzan and Wæver, Regions and Powers.
[2] In particular, David A. Lake and Patrick M. Morgan, Regional Orders: Building Security in a New World (Penn State Press, 1997).
[3] Barry Buzan and Ole Wæver, 'Macrosecuritisation and Security Constellations: Reconsidering Scale in Securitisation Theory', Review of International Studies 35, no. 2 (2009): 253–76.
[4] Tuva Kahrs, 'Regional Security Complex Theory and Chinese Policy towards North Korea', East Asia 21, no. 4 (2004): 64–82.
[5] Buzan and Wæver, Regions and Powers.
[6] Kahrs, 'Regional Security Complex Theory'; Barry Buzan, 'Security Architecture in Asia: The Interplay of Regional and Global Levels', The Pacific Review 16, no. 2 (2003): 143–73.
[7] D. Frazier and R. Stewart-Ingersoll, 'Regional Powers and Security: A Framework for Understanding Order within Regional Security Complexes', European Journal of International Relations 16, no. 4 (2010): 731–53.
[8] See Frazier and Stewart-Ingersoll (2010) for a discussion about 11 conventionally designated RSCs.
[9] Buzan and Wæver, Regions and Powers.
[10] Buzan, 'Security Architecture in Asia'
[11] Barry Buzan, 'The South Asian Security Complex in a Decentring World Order: Reconsidering Regions and Powers Ten Years on', International Studies 48, no. 1 (2011): 1–19.
[12] Buzan and Wæver, Regions and Powers.
[13] Evgeny F. Troitskiy, 'Central Asian Regional Security Complex: The Impact of Russian and US Policies', Global Society 29, no. 1 (2015): 2–22.
[14] Frazier and Stewart-Ingersoll, 'Regional Powers and Security.'
[15] See Barrinha (2013) for a detailed discussion on Turkey’s position.
[16] John J. Mearsheimer, 'The False Promise of International Institutions', International Security 19, no. 3 (1994): 5–49.
[17] Buzan, 'Security Architecture in Asia'


Barrinha, A. (2013). The Ambitious Insulator: Revisiting Turkey’s Position in Regional Security Complex Theory. Mediterranean Politics19(2), 165–182.
Buzan, B. (2003). Security Architecture in Asia: The Interplay of Regional and Global Levels. The Pacific Review16(2), 143–173.
Buzan, B. (2011). The South Asian Security Complex in a Decentring World Order: Reconsidering Regions and Powers Ten Years on. International Studies48(1), 1–19.
Buzan, B., & Wæver, O. (2003). Regions and Powers: The Structure of International Security. Cambridge University Press.
Buzan, B., & Wæver, O. (2009). Macrosecuritisation and Security Constellations: Reconsidering Scale in Securitisation Theory. Review of International Studies35(2), 253–276.
Frazier, D., & Stewart-Ingersoll, R. (2010). Regional powers and security: A framework for understanding order within regional security complexes. European Journal of International Relations16(4), 731–753.
Kahrs, T. (2004). Regional security complex theory and Chinese policy towards North Korea. East Asia21(4), 64–82.
Lake, D. A., & Morgan, P. M. (1997). Regional Orders: Building Security in a New World. Penn State Press.
Mearsheimer, J. J. (1994). The false promise of international institutions. International Security19(3), 5–49.
Troitskiy, E. F. (2015). Central Asian Regional Security Complex: The Impact of Russian and US Policies. Global Society29(1), 2–22.

Also see:
Ghimire, S. (2018). Rising powers and security: a false dawn of the pro-south world order? Global Change, Peace & Security, 30(1), 37–55.

Monday, December 24, 2018

बेतारेको प्रभाव र नाङ्गी गाउँको परिवर्तन

एसएमएसदेखि एटिम र गुगलदेखि आइपडसम्मका सेवाबाट रत्तिभर टाढा रहन नसक्ने अहिलेको सहरी पुस्तासँगै एक्काइसौँ शताब्दीलाई 'साइबरको युग' भनेर चिनिन्छ । अहिले त सूचना र प्रविधि मानिसको मौलिक अधिकारसरि नै स्थापित हुन थालेको चर्चासमेत बग्रेल्ति भेटिन्छन् । तर पनि हाम्रो मुलुकमा प्रविधिको पहुँचदेखि पाखा पारिएका थुप्रै भेगहरू छन् । पश्चिम नेपालको म्याग्दी जिल्लामा रहेको नाङ्गी गाउँ भौगोलिक रूपमा काठमाडौँदेखि धेरै दुर्गम रहेपनि सूचना प्रविधिको हकमा संसारैसँग सुगम भइसकेको छ ।

प्रविधि र जीविकाको अन्तरसम्बन्ध अनुसन्धानको क्रममा सन् २००९ को शरद् ऋतुका केही दिनहरू नाङ्गीमा बिताउँदाको हाम्रो अनुभव निकै चीरस्मरणीय रहृयो । समुद्री सतहदेखि ८९९ मिटरमा रहेको म्याग्दी सदरमुकाम बेनीदेखि नाङ्गी पुग्न अभ्यस्त गोडाहरूलाई करिब ४-५ र नयाँ पाइलाहरूलाई ६-१० घण्टासम्मको ठाडो उकालो थियो । अनि उकालीमा साथ थिए अनुसन्धान सहकर्मी अशोक राई र सहायकहरू उषा भण्डारी अनि नानु रेग्मी । बेनीबाट वृद्धभत्ता पोको पारेर आशलाग्दो अनुहारमा कुवापानी उक्लिरहेकी पार्वती बराल, ७९, भेटिइन् । भन्दै थिइन्, "तेस्रो बाटो खन्खनी पैसा तिरेर गाडीले दौडाउँदो रै'छ । ठाडो बाटो भने स्याँस्याँ र सुँसुँ, आफै नउक्ली नहुनी । के विकास गरेका भनुँ यसलाई?" उमेरले चारबीस भेट्नै लागे पनि उनका गोडाहरू हामीभन्दा टाठा थिए । हामी उनको उमेरको एक चौथाइमात्रै खाएकाहरूले जीवन बुझ्न अझै बाँकी नै थियो ।

Saturday, September 1, 2018

अब चीनको पनि दातृ निकाय

विगत ७० वर्षमा ‘अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय विकास’मा ९५ बिलियन अमेरिकी डलर खर्चेको चीनले अबचाहिँ दातृ निकाय बनाउने घोषणा गरेको छ । भारत र चीन दुवैका कुनै विशिष्ट दातृ निकाय छैनन् । यिनले सरकारी तहमै समझदारी गरेर अल्पविकसित मुलुकलाई करोडौँ रकम सहायता बाँड्दै आएका छन् । तर, चीनले अब अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय विकास सहायता निकाय (आइडिसिए) भनिएको उच्चस्तरीय संस्था बनाउँदैछ । एसियाका हिमाली देशदेखि अफ्रिकाका समथर तटीय मुलुकसम्म विकास सहायता दिँदै आएको चीनको यो कदमले अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय तथा घरेलु अर्थराजनीतिमा पक्कै प्रभाव पार्नेछ ।

वैदेशिक सहायता मामिलामा पश्चिमा शक्तिराष्ट्रसँग बिरलै सहकार्य गर्ने चीनले पूर्वाधार निर्माण र आर्थिक लेनदेनमा आधारित सहायता दिँदै आएको छ । उसले यस्ता अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय सहायता प्राय: आफ्नै मुलुकका कम्पनीका माध्यमबाट पुर्‍याउने गर्छ । तर, पूर्वाधार बनाउने चिनियाँ कम्पनीहरूको क्षमतामा बारम्बार प्रश्न उठ्ने गरेका छन् । चीनभित्रै पनि यस्ता सहायता परियोजनाको टेन्डर स्वीकृतिमा हुने अनियमितता निरन्तर विवादको विषय बनेको छ ।

गत वर्ष फेब्रुअरीमा राष्ट्रपति सी चिनफिङले चीनको अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय सहायतालाई जरैदेखि सुधार गर्नुपर्ने मत पार्टीसमक्ष राखेका थिए । चिनियाँ सहयोगलाई उसको रणनीतिक उद्देश्यसँग मेल खाने गरी परिचालन गर्नुपर्ने उनको विचार थियो । यो प्रस्ताव केही साताअघि मात्रै मूर्त संस्थामा रुपान्तर भएको छ । राष्ट्रपति सीको कदमको निहितार्थ सहायता कोष र तत् अन्तर्गतका परियोजना व्यवस्थापन तथा पद्धति सुधार गर्ने भन्ने छ । अर्कोतिर, आफ्नो बेल्ट एन्ड रोड इनिसिएटिभ (बिआरआई) लाई पनि यही पुनर्संरचनाका माध्यमबाट रणनीतिक लाभ दिने बेइजिङको योजना छ । पश्चिमा मुलुकले संसारभर एकरूपी विकासे मोडल लादेको आरोप चीनले लगाउने गरेको छ । त्यसैले उसले न सहायता ‘दान गर्ने’ पश्चिमा विचारलाई अनुमोदन गरेको थियो, न त आपैँmले कुनै सहायता नियोग खोलेको थियो । बेइजिङको विचारमा विकास सहायता ‘दान गर्ने’ नभई ‘साझेदारी गर्ने’ विषय हो । त्यसैले उसले ‘डोनर एजेन्सी’ नभई ‘पार्टनरसिप एजेन्सी’को अवधारणामा जोड दिने गथ्र्यो ।

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Politics of Peacebuilding: Emerging Actors and Security Sector Reform in Conflict-affected States

Safal's recent book, published by Routledge in 2018, examines and compares the diverging security approaches of the UK, China and India in peacebuilding settings, with a specific focus on the case of Nepal.

Rising powers such as China and India dissent from traditional templates of peacebuilding and apply their own methods to respond to security issues. This book fills a gap in the literature by examining how emerging actors (China and India) engage with security and development and how their approaches differ from those of a traditional actor (the UK).

In the light of democratic peace and regional security complex theories, the book interprets interview data to compare and contrast the engagement of these three actors with post-war Nepal, and the implications for security sector governance and peacebuilding. It contends that the UK helped to peacefully manage transition but that the institutional changes were merely ceremonial. China and India, by contrast, were more effective in advancing mutual security agendas through elite-level interactions. However, the ‘hardware’ of security, for example material and infrastructure support, gained more consideration than the ‘software’ of security, such as meritocratic governance and institution building.

Reviewers agree that this book will be of interest to students of peacebuilding, development studies, Asian politics, security studies and International Relations in general. The book is now available for pre-order on Amazon (, Routledge (, Angus & Robertson (, Booktopia ( and other major booksellers.

Contents1. Introduction

Concept and Practices
2. Traditional Approach to Peacebuilding: Politics of Security Reform and Peace Infrastructures
3. Emerging Actors and Contestations in Security and Development
Case Studies4. Tick-box Peacebuilding? UK support to reforming security sector in Nepal
5. Understanding the Indian Approach: Delhi's Engagement with Nepal
6. Deciphering the Chinese Approach: Beijing's Engagement with Nepal
Discussions and Conclusions7. Contrasting the Engagement of China, India and the UK with Nepal
8. Synthesis and Conclusions

लहडी नेताका उधारो वार्ता

पुँजीवाद र जहानियाँवाद चरमोत्कर्षमा पुगेको प्रमाणस्वरूप आजको विश्वले दुई लहडी नेता उपहार पाएको छ : डोनाल्ड ट्रम्प र किम जोङ–उन । ६ महिना अघिमात्रै किमले अमेरिकालाई चोरऔंला ठड्याएका थिए : परमाणु बम हान्ने बटन सधैं मेरो टेबलमा छ, अमेरिकाले युद्ध सुरु गर्ने हिम्मत नगरोस् ।
लगत्तै ट्रम्पले ट्विट गरे : उत्तर कोरियाजस्तो क्षीण र भोकमरीग्रस्त राज्यलाई कसैले भनिदिओस् कि मसँग पनि परमाणु बमको बटन छ, जुन किमको भन्दा धेरै ठूलो र शक्तिशाली छ र चल्छ पनि ।

दुवै नेताले यी कुरा सार्वजनिक खपतका लागि भने वा साँच्चै धम्काउनलाई, उनीहरू नै जानुन् । तर विश्व समुदाय यसबाट त्राहिमाम हुनु स्वाभाविक थियो, किनकि दुवै नेता उरन्ठेउला थिए । यिनले लहडै–लहडमा अविवेकी कदम चाल्छन् भन्ने प्रमाण प्रशस्तै थिए । झोँक, आक्रोश र सनकमा निर्णय लिने यी नेताका अधीनमा संसारै ध्वस्त बनाउन सक्ने परमाणु बमको चाबी थियो ।

६ महिनामै यिनको सम्बन्धमा कायापलट भयो । दुवैले ‘लौ मिलौं, कुरा गरौं’ मात्रै भन्दा पनि विश्वभरकै मिडियाको लेन्स यिनीतर्फ तेर्सिनु स्वाभाविक थियो । तर अरू के–के कुराले यिनलाई सिंगापुरसम्म वार्ताको लागि डोर्‍यायो त ? वार्ता सकिएपछि यिनले के पाए ? संसारले के पायो ? यी प्रश्नको चर्चाले भोलिको कूटनीतिक रेखाचित्र कोर्न मद्दत गर्छ ।

Sunday, February 25, 2018

म्यादी भर्ना : जोख्न बिर्सिएका जोखिम

कुल ९८ हजार २ सय ३८ म्यादी प्रहरीले हालै सम्पन्न प्रदेश तथा प्रतिनिधिसभा सदस्यको निर्वाचनमा सघाए । गएका केही निर्वाचनलाई हेर्दा म्यादी प्रहरी व्यवस्थापनमा दुई खाले समस्या देखापरेका छन् । पहिलो, तिनमाथिका भौतिक सुरक्षा चुनौती । दोस्रो, तिनको कमजोर व्यवस्थापनले उत्पन्न गराएका सुरक्षा चुनौती । यो लेखमा म्यादी प्रहरी भर्नाले उब्जेका चुनौती र द्वन्द्वको विश्लेषण गरिएको छ ।

गएका चुनावमा म्यादी प्रहरीको जागिर आर्थिक आकर्षणमात्रै बनेन । छोटो समयको लागि प्रहरी सेवामा आएका केही युवा गम्भीर दुर्घटनामा पनि परे । गएको मंसिरमा दार्चुलामा गस्तीका क्रममा भिरबाट लडेर म्यादी प्रहरी रवीन्द्र ठगुन्नाको मृत्यु भयो । भीमफेदीमा सवारी दुर्घटनामा दुई महिला म्यादी प्रहरीले ज्यान गुमाए । तथापि यो दुर्घटनाचाहिँ कार्यसम्पादनको क्रममा भएको थिएन । म्यादी प्रहरीले कर्तव्य पालनकै सिलसिलामा सिरहा र दाङमा घातक दुर्घटना बेहोर्नुपर्‍यो । सिरहामा आदर्श कुँवरलाई लागुऔषध तस्करले चलाएको गोली लाग्यो । दाङमा भने बम विस्फोटमा परी विनोद चौधरीले ज्यानै गुमाए । सीमित समयको लागि भर्ना गरिने हुँदा म्यादी प्रहरीलाई यस्ता घटनाबाट बच्न पर्याप्त तालिम दिने समय पुग्दैन । तर कतिपय स्थानमा यिनका आधारभूत अधिकार पनि हनन भएको देखियो । जस्तै, भोजपुर जिल्लाको मानेभञ्ज्याङमा पुरुष प्रहरी सहायक निरीक्षकले पुरुष म्यादी प्रहरीमाथि नै बलात्कार गरेको समाचार आयो ।

उदीयमान शक्ति : हर्ष कि विस्मात् ?

बेल जति नै रहरलाग्दो गरी पाकोस्, कागलाई फरक पर्दैन । किनकि उसको चुच्चोले बेल फुटाउन सक्दैन । हाम्रा छिमेकीहरू सैन्य सामथ्र्य र आर्थिक ऐश्वर्यले लटरम्म हुनथालेका छन् । कमजोर चुच्चो भएका साना मुलुकलाई तिनको उदय हर्ष बन्छ कि विस्मात्? उत्तर जान्न तिनका रणनीतिक चरित्र केलाउनु
जरुरी छ।

बेलको स्वादचीन र भारतलाई एकै ठाउँमा राख्ने हो भने यिनको कुल गार्हस्थ उत्पादन १३ ट्रिलियन अमेरिकी डलर बराबर छ। यसको अर्थ विश्वकै उत्पादनको १६ प्रतिशत हिस्सा यी दुईले मात्रै धान्छन्। यिनको सशस्त्र फौजको संख्या ५६ लाख छ। त्यो भनेको संसारसँग भएजति फौजको पाँच भागको एक भाग हो। यिनले अर्थतन्त्र र सैन्यतन्त्रमा फड्को मारिरहेका छन्। यससँगै अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय सुरक्षा मामिलामा यिनको भूमिका फराकिलो बन्दैछ। तर धेरैले ख्याल नगरेको कुरा यिनको अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय उदयको मेरुदण्ड भनेकै साना मुलुक हुन्।

बितेको एक दशकमा चिनियाँ सेनाले ४४ विदेशी फौजसँग संयुक्त सैन्य अभ्यास गरेको छ। तीमध्ये धेरै साना मुलुक छन्। चीनले संयुक्त राष्ट्र संघको शान्ति कोषमा आर्थिक अनुदानको हिस्सा बढाउँदैछ। गएको १० वर्षमा उसले उक्त कोषमा ७० लाख अमेरिकी डलर दिएको थियो। यो रकम अन्तत: द्वन्द्वग्रस्त मुलुकको शान्ति निर्माणमा खर्च हुने हो, जहाँचीनको योगदानले बोलवाला पनि बढाउनेछ। राष्ट्रसंघीय सुरक्षा परिषद्का बलशाली स्थायी सदस्यमध्ये शान्ति सेनामा सबैभन्दा धेरै फौज पठाउने मुलुक पनि चीन नै हो।

सेनाले पाल्ने ‘सेतो हात्ती’

शासकहरूले धेरैथोक फौजी निकायमाथि भर गर्दा नागरिक निकाय कसरी कमजोर हुन्छन् भन्ने उदाहरण हाम्रै इतिहासमा छन् । २०३१ सालतिर तरुण बुलेटिन (पछि‘नेपाली सेना : नागरिक नियन्त्रणका चुनौती’ पुस्तक) मा छापिएको लेखमा बीपी कोइरालाले राणाकालीन प्रसंग उठाएका छन् ।
शासक सेनाको भर पर्थे । नागरिक विभागका काममा फौजीकै बोलवाला थियो । विस्तारै जिल्ला अधिकारी र विभागका अधिकारीहरू पनि सबै सेनाबाट नियुक्त हुनथाले । त्यो र अहिलेको व्यवस्था तुलना गर्न मिल्दैन । तर आज पनि नागरिक विभागहरूले गर्नुपर्ने धेरै काममा सेना संलग्न छ । सडक निर्माण सम्बन्धी परामर्शदाता र चाहिए सब–कन्ट्रयाक्टर पनि नियुक्त गर्न उसलाई अधिकार दिइएको छ । फरक यत्ति हो, यो कामलाई अहिले विधिको जलप लगाएर ‘लोकतान्त्रिक’बनाइएको छ ।

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

धाउनैपर्छ र दिल्ली ?

दिल्ली जाऊन् या बेइजिङ, बलियो विषयवस्तु नभए पनि जानैपर्छ भन्ने मानसिकता
कूटनीतिक दासता हो ।

नेपाली प्रधानमन्त्रीहरू भारत भ्रमणमा जाँदा अक्सर राजघाट पुग्छन् । गान्धी स्मारकमा माला अर्पन्छन् । लैजाँदा त कार्यकर्ता, सल्लाहकार, आफन्त र उपहार थुप्रै लिएर जान्छन् । तर फर्किंदा प्रतिफल कति ल्याउँछन् ? यो विमर्शकै विषय हो । किनभने कतिपय प्रधानमन्त्रीले सत्ता धान्ने दक्षिणी टेको बलियो बनाउनमात्रै २ करोड रुपैयाँसम्म खर्च गरी ९० जनाको लस्कर लिएर दिल्ली लम्किएको उदाहरण छ ।

हामीकहाँ बालुवाटारको ढोका छिरेपछि दिल्ली र बेइजिङको ढोका ढक्ढकयाउनु अनिवार्यजस्तै बनेको छ । अहिलेलाई यो लेख दिल्ली–केन्द्रित छ । किनभने पदमा पुगेको २० दिन नपुग्दै दक्षिण जान प्रधानमन्त्री शेरबहादुर देउवाले खुट्टो उचालिसकेका छन् । यहाँ २०६३ सालपछि भएका प्रधानमन्त्रीका भारत भ्रमण, तिनका उपलब्धि र आर्थिक–कूटनीतिक उपादेयताको चर्चा गरिनेछ ।

०६३ को परिवर्तनपछि भारतीय प्रधानमन्त्री मनमोहन सिंहले नै चार नेपाली प्रधानमन्त्रीहरू भेटे । नरेन्द्र मोदीकै कार्यकालमा चौथो प्रधानमन्त्री दिल्ली जाँदै छन् । गिरिजाप्रसाद कोइरालाको भ्रमणमा भारतीय ध्येय उनको राजनीतिक उचाइ थप्नु र लोकतन्त्र फर्केकोमा खुसी व्यक्त गर्नु देखिन्थ्यो । अमेरिकाले दोस्रो विश्वयुद्धपछि युरोपमा गरेजस्तै युद्धोत्तर पुन:निर्माणको ठूलै ‘मार्सल प्लान’ बनाइदिने दिल्लीको प्रस्ताव थियो । तर तत्कालीन भूराजनीतिक समीकरणमा त्यो प्रस्ताव सफल भएन । सानातिना अनुदान, कृषिमल र छात्रवृत्ति सम्झौता भए । थाँती रहेका परियोजना छिट्टै अघि बढाउने भनियो ।

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Is a home-grown security sector reform possible?

Security sector reform (SSR) has been a topic of debates since the 1990s, notably because of the lack of local ownership and other challenges related to the implementation of SSR policies on the ground. In this context, this article succinctly discusses what determined SSR outcomes and whether the ‘infrastructures for peace’ framework can complement the orthodox SSR model. It first frames SSR debates, revisiting the experiences of post-conflict countries before introducing the idea of ‘infrastructures for peace’ and discussing its potential to contribute to SSR efforts. Finally, it reflects on the possibilities of bridging orthodox SSR and ‘infrastructures for peace’ approaches.

SSR in practice
Experiences of post-conflict countries reflect negotiations between internal realities and external intervention models. SSR policies are expected to contribute to state building and peace building processes. At a policy level, they are expected to lead recovery processes towards democratisation and participatory state institutions. At an institutional level, they are designed to create new bodies and restructure existing ones with mandates based on public participation and meritocracy. However, the effective and successful implementation of SSR policies has remained a daunting task in several countries.

For example, SSR policies in Afghanistan emphasized training and security assistance over governance and accountability. The ‘imperatives of winning the war’ and counterterrorism efforts were prioritized over SSR and peace building principles. [1] SSR in Bosnia and Herzegovina was imbalanced because defence restructuring was substantial while police reform had limited impact. Nepal and Kosovo showed just the opposite result. Internal political horse-trading shaped the depth and breadth of police and army restructuring in both places, as did fragmented donor interests in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The sustainability of SSR policies in Georgia and Liberia remains doubtful because of the replication of international standards. Indifference towards public participation was observable in Liberia, where international authorities performed technical jobs and blamed local political actors for unresolved political issues. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Security Sector Reform in Afghanistan

"Security mechanisms in Afghanistan have been technically re-engineered,
but their sustainability looks arguable."

The thorny Afghan security sector reform (SSR) programme has been a high-profile failure when resources and results are compared (see studies such as Barakat & Zyck, 2009; Murray, 2011 and Sedra, 2006, 2013). Conflicting internal power groups and competing external roles was further aggravated by fragmented and incomprehensive approach in SSR in Afghanistan. Donors divided their responsibilities (the US for the military, Germany for the police, Italy for justice, the UK for illegal narcotics, and Japan for DDR) but their jobs overlapped at times. Germany trained ‘professional’ police, later the US involved in creating patrolling police. Police reform programmes streamlined only after the European Union Police (EUPOL) mission arrived in 2007 which worked with the US military’s Combined Security Transition Command–Afghanistan (CSTC-A) (Murray, 2011). After 2008, the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) took charge of all military and police training and the EUPOL looked after civilian police training. Leadership and ministerial capacities received attention only after this period (Sedra, 2013).

The US government tried to boost parliamentary oversight capacity since 2008 through Afghanistan Parliamentary Assistance Program. But it decanted huge money into the military and police than in the development (US security assistance in 2011 was 20 times higher than its development assistance) (Murray, 2011). Military model was applied to police reform and recruitment measures; training and deployment were emphasised over penal and legal reform. It capitalised effectiveness of agencies over their democratic governance and accountability (Murray, 2011; Sedra, 2006). National security overrode human security where pouring in of large chunk of resource into counter-insurgency ventures were mistaken for SSR. Besides, the ‘pressure for withdrawal in donor countries’ and ‘imperatives of winning the war’ (Sedra, 2013) eclipsed the gamut of SSR principles and efforts were unilaterally guided by anti-terrorism not peacebuilding principles.

Murray (2011) and Sedra (2006, 2013) are critical of the strategic planning formulated in NATO and EU headquarters with less input from host government and public dialogues. Local adaptation of SSR was not possible without understanding primordial orientation, political history and cultural inheritance. Informal legal practices and cultural orientation were at odds with the ‘liberal’ mindsets of the donors. Consequently, constitutionally enshrined civilian control remained ineffective in everyday decisions.

Conventional ‘train-and-equip’ (Sedra, 2013) form of security restructuring obscured democratic governance, human rights, parliamentary oversight and sustainability. DDR programme demobilised 61,000 soldiers till 2005 and collected 36,000 SALWs with inclusion of large number of deserting rebels into the police (Sedra, 2006). But compared to police and penal bodies, Afghan National Army fared well in terms of organisational skills and morale. Exception is a perception which believes that the SSR failed to depoliticise and de-ethnicise the security sector (ibid). In nut-shell, existing security structure was technically re-engineered but its sustainability looks costly for the Afghan economy because a serious resource crunch is imminent.
* * *
For a comparative analytical perspective, see: DoI: 10.1080/21647259.2016.1156813

Recommended citation: Ghimire, S. (2016). Making Security Sector Reform Organic: Infrastructure for Peace as an Entry Point? Peacebuilding.

Barakat, S., & Zyck, S. A. (2009). The Evolution of Post-conflict Recovery. Third World Quarterly, 30(6), 1069–1086.
Murray, T. (2011). Security Sector Reform in Afghanistan, 2002-2011: An Overview of a Flawed Process. International Studies, 48(1), 43–63.
Sedra, M. (2006). Security sector reform in Afghanistan: The slide towards expediency. International Peacekeeping, 13(1), 94–110.
Sedra, M. (2013). The hollowing-out of the liberal peace project in Afghanistan: the case of security sector reform. Central Asian Survey, 32(3), 371–387.