African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 383

Full Length Research Paper

Beyond classical peace paradigm: A theoretical argument for a ‘Glocalized Peace and Security’

Samuel Marfo
  • Samuel Marfo
  • Department of Social, Political and Historical Studies, University for Development Studies, Faculty of Integrated Development Studies, Post Office Box 520, Wa Campus, Ghana
  • Google Scholar
Halidu Musah
  • Halidu Musah
  • Department of Social, Political and Historical Studies, University for Development Studies, Faculty of Integrated Development Studies, Post Office Box 520, Wa Campus, Ghana
  • Google Scholar
Dominic DeGraft Arthur
  • Dominic DeGraft Arthur
  • Department of Social, Political and Historical Studies, University for Development Studies, Faculty of Integrated Development Studies, Post Office Box 520, Wa Campus, Ghana
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 17 November 2015
  •  Accepted: 05 March 2016
  •  Published: 30 April 2016


Throughout ages, one of the greatest needs of humans has been a peaceful and secured society devoid of violence. In pursuit of this agenda, different approaches including classical peace paradigm have been employed at different times in the world history. Ironically, these peace and security architectures largely tend to be state centric, where peace and security are construed in terms of military might and states monopoly of violence. Arguably, the dynamics of contemporary world has proved that nation states are all vulnerable to natural and physical calamities such as earthquakes, typhoons and infectious diseases (example AIDS and Ebola), criminal net-works operating across the globe manifested in violent demonstrations as experienced in Egypt, terrorist attack in America, arbitrary kidnapping and bombardment in Nigeria, and narcotic drugs trafficking among others. These developments suggest that nation states have to ‘think beyond the box’ of national boundaries. Data gathered through critical review of secondary sources demonstrated that classical peace paradigm is deficient and global peace is also not attainable. This paper therefore makes a case for ‘glocalized peace and security architecture’, an approach which is domestically relevant and internationally feasible.


Key words: Classical peace paradigm, globalization, peace and security, glocalized peace and security.


Issues of peace and security continue to dominate both domestic and international politics due to the upsurge of networks of criminality and chains of natural disasters in the global environment. People throughout the world, in developing and developed countries alike, live under varied conditions of insecurity due to violence and conflict, international networks of terrorists and criminals, pandemics and  natural  disasters  (Brown   et  al.,  2007; Commission on Human Security, 2003).

In pursuit of peace and security agenda, different approaches have been employed at different times in the world history. For instance, as noted by Oliver (2008), orthodox or traditional theories (idealism, realism, liberalism, etc.) have different perspective of how peace and security could be achieved in the state and the world as a whole. Each theory (school of thought) has its own inherent strengths and weaknesses.  The irony is that the various peace designs largely tend to be inward-looking, focusing on state power and to a large extent have not engendered the needed peace and security both domestically and internationally. Our contemporary world has been greatly dented and still suffers from destructive conflicts. Violence of all forms has afflicted all continents and fragmented or undermined the integrity of several nation-states including Somalia, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Bosnia, East Timor, Kashmir Region of India and Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Libya and Syria among others. Tremendous harm has been done to ordinary people and innocent communities, and somehow these innocent people will have to find a way to move beyond the atrocities that they have endured and rebuild their lives (Murithi, 2009).

The hitherto classical approach to threat founded on realist political philosophy of state power and conflict settlement has largely been challenged by most contemporary sub-national conflicts such as civil wars (Liberia and Sierra Leone in the 1990s), ethnic violence (Rwanda in 1994), violent agitations (Tunisia and Morocco in 2011), and popular demonstrations (Mali in 2014; Burkina Faso in 2014/2015) among others and proved less effective. The complexity and enormity of today’s security threats call for a deeper reflection on strategies of peace and security. Natural catastrophes such as deadly diseases including Ebola as plagued some West African States notably Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in 2014, destructive typhoons in Philippines in 2011/2013, destructive social conflicts around the globe, network of terrorists activities by al-Qaeda as witnessed in America in 2001, the arbitrary bombardment, kidnapping and execution of people in Nigeria by Boko Haram Islamist Group, and ruthless attacks on defenceless students, tourists and civilian population in Somalia and Kenya by al-Shabab, demand that states have to think beyond the ‘box’ or boundaries of national security in which security is narrowly defined on the basis of military might, monopoly of violence and containment.

This paper theoretically seeks to make a case for a ‘glocalized peace and security architecture,’ a comprehensive peace and security design which is both domestically or inward-looking relevant and internationally or outside-looking practicable. It attempts to suggest an approach which can foster a peaceful co-existence among states without necessarily endangering domestic politics in a seemingly chaotic global environment. The paper argues that classical peace and security paradigm offers an important set of tools to understand peace and security frameworks for states, especially in the wake of arbitrary terrorists’ attacks as manifested in Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia and France among others, which cannot be ignored. Nonetheless, state-centric approach to peace offers a part of analysis and understanding pertaining to global  threats  to  peace and security and there is the need to integrate this approach to the over-all peace and security agenda. In line with the objective, the paper is structured into six major parts. Part one looks at the introduction to the study while part two critiques classical peace and security paradigm, its strengths, weaknesses and response to criticisms. Part three looks at the conceptual explanation of globalization, peace and security and glocalized peace and security. Part four captures the method adopted in gathering the relevant data while part five discusses the theoretical argument for glocalized peace and security architecture. The last part, part six is devoted to the conclusion and references.

Classical peace and security paradigm

Classical approach to peace and security is mainly an inward-looking design where peace and security are construed in terms of military might and states monopoly of violence (CHS, 2003). This approach has been fashioned out by states on the basis of realist peace agenda. The thrust of realist philosophy is that, the drive for power and the domination of others for self-advantage is a universal and permanent motive throughout world history (Kegley, 2009). What exist (ontology) according to realist is the state. The state therefore is the focus of analysis in terms of international relations.

Classical peace paradigm stresses on victor’s peace. By implication, peace and sustainability are based upon victor’s hegemony. Peace therefore is construed as a zero-sum game (Oliver, 2008). Realists have inclined to Hobbes idea of state of nature and on this basis have formulated their theory   of international relations, believing that, states are in constant war of survival (Bruce and Oneal, 2001). The philosophical ideas of classical peace are underpinned by realist concept of peace through strength.  In practice this has manifested in the stockpiling of arms by states and the institutionalization and capacity building of security operatives (Barash and Webel, 2009).

Classical approach to peace and security to some extent has contributed to world agenda of peace. For instance, Realist theory of international relation has given us an understanding as to what pertains on the international setting and the need for state security (Oliver, 2008).  The incessant quest of Germany for political power and to lord over European states in the 20th century for instance, could not have come to an end had it not been war, for that matter violence (Jordan, 2007). This at least brought some sanity on the international setting as well as the security within the European states in particular. In the current state of terrorists’ activities and drug trafficking among others, state security cannot be ignored.

The use of war, for that matter violence, as an instrument of peace may be contested by many people.

We may for instance, question the morality and the justification for the UN to use force as part of its conflict resolution mechanisms. We may equally argue if the use of force could be valid and applicable in some situations to preserve peace, typically the situation of Rwanda in the 1990s where the UN supposedly look-warm respond resulted in the genocide of about 85000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus (Chesterman, 2001). The reality is that wars have frequently shaken up the existing socio-political order and have resulted in many changes, both positive and negative.  Through violent struggles, most African countries including Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania and Zimbabwe have liberated themselves from the shackles of colonialism (Van Rensburg, 1981).

Classical peace philosophy of mutually assured destruction among states, to some extent brought relative peace to the global world in the second half of the 20th century though it did not suggest any plan for the establishment of peace. This could also explain why the so-called ‘Cold War’ between the then (nuclear) super powers USA and USSR did not explode into violent confrontation even though it manifested in violent confrontations (proxy war) in some countries  including Lebanon, Chechnya, Sri Lanka and Democratic Republic of Congo (Murithi, 2009). Curle (1995) has described the Cold War as horrible, absurd and disastrous which benumbed global good sense and political judgment, which cannot be ignored. Nonetheless, it was in a way constructive as it brought some amount of relative peace to the world arena.

Regardless of the positive contributions of classical approach to peace and security, its philosophy and over-all practice is embedded with several weaknesses to suggest a more holistic approach to global threats to peace and security in the face of current realities. Classical approach to peace and security is shrouded with a number of flaws which calls for a redefinition of peace and security. The belief that humans are inherently violent and driven for power (human nature) which forms the basis of realist agenda for peace is much challenged. The contention by critics including Oliver (2008) is that it is difficult to understand how the behaviour of individuals at the micro level could be transferred to the state or the macro level. This makes classical peace and security approach theory of international relation questionable.

The focus on state security and the perceived threat on the international arena underlining classical peace approach generally, has resulted in the intensification and stockpiling of arms by states. This often fuels international conflicts. State-centrism has manifested in frequent questionable attacks by states, all in the name of security and humanitarian assistance as demonstrated by United States, United Kingdom and France air strike against Iraq in the 1990s under the cover of Operation Provide Comfort (Chesterman, 2001). Draconian law, outright aggression, human right abuse and immigration control among others, all in the name of security against terrorism are a new global order.

The conviction that states are the sole actors on the international setting and the deliberate disregard of other non-state actors makes the whole idea of peace pretentious. In contemporary times, most multilateral corporations and other non-state organizations such as Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have been proven to be wielding power even more than states. A fall in oil production for instance, leading to high world oil price often results in chaos and insecurity within most nation states, especially developing states including Ghana. As noted by the Commission on Human Security (CHS) (2003), states are important but not the sole actors. The report indicated that regional and international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society are all involved in managing security issues including the fight against HIV/AIDS, the ban against landmines and massive mobilizations in support of human rights. A peace agenda which neglects the contributions of non-state actors can only be considered as a narrow-minded peace.

The perceived monopoly of violence by states which often result in abnormal state behaviour is much challenged in contemporary times. Internal clashes among the populace and violent clashes between civilians and the state in most countries especially in Somalia, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Thailand, Libya, Nigeria and Egypt among others either for autonomy, better living conditions, secession or mere terrorist attack have exposed the flaws in the state monopoly power philosophy. Although states still wield power, yet, the notion of state monopoly of violence is now a fallacy. Pursuing peace and security agenda mainly on the basis of realist philosophy is an implication that states are still thinking within the narrow framework of national sovereignty, an error in our contemporary dynamic world.

In response to critics of classical realism, modern realism also known as neo-realism sees power as a possibly useful means, with states running risks if they have either too little or too much of it. Neo-realists believe that sensible statesmen try to have an appropriate amount of power. Power is therefore not viewed as an ultimate or end to itself as assumed by classical realism. Neo-realism contents that in crucial situation, the ultimate concern of states is not for power but for security. It rejects the assumption that human’s innate lust for power constitutes a sufficient cause of war. It argues that the competition for scarce resources and the lack of an arbiter under conditions of anarchy, resulting in the struggle for power is the cause of conflicts but not necessarily due to the evil born in humans (Waltz, 1988). These revisions by neo-realism are very important as they seek to widen the mechanisms for peace and security in a supposedly chaotic environment. Nonetheless, the conviction that states in an anarchic order must provide for their own security and threats, the emphasis on  mistrust,  suspicion,  self-help  and  survival underlining neo-realists thought, are manifestation that neo-realism is equally power-driven. In practice, there is no significant difference between classical realism and neo-realism. As pointed out by Waltz (1988:624-5), ‘realist theory, both old and new alike, draws attention to the crucial role of military technology and strategy among forces that fix the fate of states and their systems’.



Globalization has become an emerging term in both domestic and international politics. Ironically, the term lacks a universally accepted definition and has become a subject of controversy among scholars from the field of political science, development studies, economics and conflict, peace and security studies. Globalization is generally touted as the process of integrating world economies, technologies and socio-cultural and political forces (World Bank Policy Report, 2002). According to Schaefer (2005), globalization is the worldwide integration of government policies, cultures, social movements, and financial markets through trade and the exchange of ideas. Olufemi and Marcheta (2005) have pointed out that, the term globalization evokes images of the triumph of the free market system, massive capital flow, global information revolution, innovations in science, new-transnational cultural expressions and rapidly shifting demographic conditions. It is largely understood as a universal process characterised by democracy and capitalistic values that are sweeping the post-Cold War era.

Schaefer (2005) has indicated that, globalization is not universally welcomed as many critics see it as the domination of business without borders, benefiting the rich particularly, the very wealthy industrial countries at the expense of the poor in less developed nations. Nonetheless, it has an attendance benefits. He asserted that many developing nations are taking their place in the world of commerce and bringing in much needed income. He argues that the communications revolution helps people to stay connected and gives them access to knowledge that can improve living standards and even save lives. This of course cannot be denied. Goldman (2005) (Oliver, 2008:86) equally has indicated that globalization is associated with the spread of technology, communication and, of course, a dominant neo-liberal economic model taken to be unifying processes that build upon the liberal argument of peace through trade. Globalization is seen as contributing to peace because of its inherent qualities which promote liberalisation, democratisation, development, human rights and free trade. It is largely perceived as an integrated force necessary  for   building  up  peace  and  security  among nations. Critics, however, see this proposition as a Western liberal agenda, and an extension or a successor to imperialism and colonialism that oppressed Third World nations for centuries (Schaefer, 2005). Critics of globalization asserted that the benefits of free trade are disproportional in favour of the developed nations although nations stand to gain when freely interact through trade. As noted by Oliver (2008), there is some evidence that globalization provides disincentives to war and promotes humanitarianism and pluralism, and it has also produced conflicts, as well as other ills such as environmental degradation, poverty and social disintegration. The World Bank Policy Report (2002) indicated that globalization produces winners and losers both between countries and within them.

The arguments above suggest that globalization can provide an avenue for peace and at the same time an instrument of destruction of societies which needs to be creatively confronted. The ability to maximize the benefits of globalization through interdependence, international cooperation and support, and at the same time productively managing its attendance conflicts in domestic politics lies in the purview of ‘glocalized peace and security architecture’, which has been the focus of this paper.

Peace and security                                                                                                  

Peace and security are contested concepts. According to Barash and Weber (2009), peace like many theoretical terms, is difficult to define. They however, argue that, like happiness harmony, justice and freedom, peace is something we recognize by its absence. Traditionally, peace has been equated to the absence of war and other forms of large-scale violent human conflicts which Galtung refers to as negative peace (Barash and Weber, 2009:4). Some authorities including Murithi (2009) contend that negative peace or pacifist peace is a one sided peace. They opine that a holistic peace also referred to as positive peace postulates the presence of negative peace (absence of war or violence) together with social, economic and political justice.  By implication, peace in its elaborated sense can be explained as a web of safety, welfare, justice, prosperity and respect. It is construed as a state of being devoid of destruction, fear, harm, threat or physical attack together with socio-economic justice.

Like peace, security is also all-encompassing term involving freedom from military threat to national sovereignty (state security) as well as freedom from want- human-centred security (Boutros-Ghali, 1994; UNDP, 1994). In essence, threats to security go beyond military threats to sovereignty of states and touch on the vital core of the people also referred to as human security. Human security concerns itself with empowerment - aiming at developing the capabilities of individuals and communities to make informed choices and act on their own as well as protection of the people, by shielding them from all manner of menace which affect their development. It focuses on good governance, education and healthcare and access to economic opportunities (The Commission on Human Security (CHS, 2003).

Peace and security are bedfellows and essentially preconditions for sustainable development (Brown et al., 2007). For instance, the arbitrary bombardment, abduction and execution of people in certain parts of Nigeria by Boko Haram militants (Daily Graphic, 2015) have rendered parts of the country insecure. This equally has robbed the peace of the people.

Glocalized peace and security

Glocalization is a hybrid concept involving ‘global’ and ‘local’. Local can be used interchangeably with indigenous- an act or practice which is peculiar to a given people, community or a country (Marfo, 2014). Sates are different by virtue of their levels of income and development, their geographical location and natural/scientific resource base, and the composition and diversity of their populations as well as the agglomeration of the aspirations and visions of these populations. Such differences also explain the difference in security set-ups of states and how peace is pursued.

The idea of global on the other hand presupposes what exists everywhere.  Global could therefore be used synonymously with terms such as ‘international’ or ‘universal’. With reference to peace and security, global peace and security may imply ‘peace and security that exist everywhere’. Given the fact that we do not have a world government or supra-state to enforce the tenets of peace and security, thinking of world or universal peace and security would be something which could be more of an illusion than reality. By implication it is relatively easy to pursue peace and security within states (state security) rather than among states (global security). However, as indicated by Bruce and Oneal (2001), in reality, states are not the only actors on the world scene even though they are the most commonly considered in the world politics. They argue that other actors or entities including international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) exist, and whether their purpose is overtly political or not, they may affect national and international politics profoundly. This also makes classical peace paradigm deficient. Consequently, in designing any domestic peace and security scheme by states, their sense of duty to other actors on the international scene cannot be ignored. As noted by Rise (2007), in a globalizing world that must contend increasingly with transnational security threads, weak states hobbled by poverty  and corruption  do not only   pose   deadly   risk  to  their  own  citizens,  but  the consequences can and do spill-over borders into neighbouring countries and even to far-flung regions of the world.

The pursuance of global peace and security will largely fail simply because, globalization though integrating states together through trade and migration among others, does not necessarily tear down the socio-cultural, economic and political barriers that tend to separate people of different states. States still retain their sovereignty. A security design which is relevant to a supposedly ‘all’ (universal) states, may not necessarily be good for a given state, and may require an adaptation. For instance, the promotion of same-sex marriage by the international community under the facade of human rights as a means of promoting peace and security both within and across nations has incurred the displeasure of some local members and religious bodies in Ghana and Australia among others. Local community members in Ghana only believe and practice heterosexual sex construed as a union between a man and a woman who have undergone through all the practices and customs and have been accepted by the society as married couples. Community members do not accept neither do they tolerate ‘man to man’ or ‘woman to woman’ partners as this practice is considered outrageous. In 2014 for instance, some supposedly same-sex partners were chased from their communities in Accra the capital of Ghana by irritated local people who perceived their sexual relations as abominable. If globalization means an automatic adoption of an idea spearheaded by the international community, then in Ghana same-sex marriage is found to be a negative force fomenting tension and insecurity in the country. The Criminal Code of Ghana, Act 29/60, Section 105, criminalizes act of sodomy and other unnatural carnal knowledge. According to Aviles (2015), in Australia, the Presbyterian Church has voiced its disapproval and has firmly decided to withdraw from a proposed Marriage Act purported to legalise same-sex marriage. According to Aviles, this has petted the Church against the state authorities and has equally divided the country’s parliament.

Blanket importation of peace design in the name of globalization can have disastrous consequences on domestic politics and needs a rethinking. The South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process as influenced by ‘Ubuntu’, an indigenous South African ethical principle is a classic case of how a golcalized peace and security can be achieved. South Africa subscribes to the Western classical approach to conflict resolution also known as the global conflict resolution mechanism which stresses on retributive justice. However, in the post-conflict reconstruction and peace building process, it became necessary for the TRC to adapt the retributive Western conflict resolution and reconciliation mechanisms in order to ensure a meaningful conflict resolution and co-existence among the divided people in South Africa brought about by  long standing atrocities. In view of this, in the process of the Commission’s work, Desmond Tutu, the chairman constantly referred to the principle of Ubuntu, which focuses on the ethics of love, empathy, sharing, caring, forgiveness, cooperation and restoration in dealing with common problems which underline the essence of humanity (Murithi, 2006) as opposed to the more retributive justice characterizing the Western conflict resolution mechanism. Ubuntu is a tacit principle which indicates that a person is a person through other persons (Ramose, 1999).

South Africa’s peace building process was far from perfection yet, it can be said that the adaptation of the global conflict resolution mechanisms to the needs of the local people provided both the perpetrators and victims opportunities to apologize and forgive respectively rather than resorting to revenge or purely retributive action. This contributed to the success of the TRC which has become a show case globally. The principle of Ubuntu implies that we can create a healthy relationships based on the recognition that within the web of humanity, everyone is linked to everyone else.


This paper takes a theoretical look at glocalized peace and security by proposing that states have to think beyond the box of national sovereignty, military might and conflict settlement which over the years have dominated international politics. On the basis of the objective of the paper, the historical approach was adopted. In view of this secondary sources pertaining to the global political discourse and developments from published books, journal articles and official websites were critically reviewed and formed the bases of what could be termed as a road map to glocalized peace and security architecture. The paper was motivated by the Kantian Perpetual Peace Triangle Concept. Kant in his attempt to develop a theory of global peace and security proposed the adoption of three interactive phenomena namely; International Organizations, Democracy and Economic Interdependence (Bruce and Oneal, 2001:157). The Kantian Peace Triangle was found to be useful in this paper as it does not limit the search and the possible achievement of meaningful peace and security solely within states but equally included the need for external collaboration and support. This conforms to what this paper terms as ‘glocalized peace and security architecture’.


This section of the paper discusses the changing nature of the world and the justification or the need for states to think beyond national boundaries. This is the thrust of the paper.

Sources of threats

Sources of threats to peace and security of nations in contemporary times are many and varied and therefore demands a more cooperative spirit by states, rather than a single effort from a state. The proliferation of weapons especially small arms and light weapons, terrorists activities (the 9/11/2001 attack on US as a case of reference); destructive social conflicts (Algeria, Libya, Rwanda, Syria, Mali, Cote d’Voire, etc.); internet  fraud; ritual murder (“sakawa” in Ghana); refugee crisis especially in Africa, Middle East and Asia; annual floods in Ghana, Pakistan and India; intermittent fire outbreaks in Ghana, America and Australia for instance, and environmental degradation among others, are of major concern. These sources of threats fundamentally have shaped the peace and security of societies. These sources of threats demand a more all-encompassing pragmatic and cooperative approach, both bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

Globalization and ICT

Globalization of the world - the process of integrating world economies, technologies and socio-cultural and political forces, to a large extent has rendered states borderless complicating security problems. The increase interconnectedness of states through free flow of goods and services due to globalization has exposed states and individuals around the world to common threats and vulnerability (Brown et al., 2007). The role of cell phones, fast moving planes, the internet and satellites among others, have facilitated criminal activities and escape from justice (example: al-Qaeda, Islamic State and Boko Haram network operatives). The advent of communicable diseases such as avian flu and Ebola which span across nations and continents through contact suggest that no country is immune to natural disasters. These developments demand in-depth security approach and a call for institutional collaboration both within and across states.

Conflict dynamics

Conflicts in today’s world are no longer limited between states (inter-states conflicts) but most especially, within states (intra-states conflicts) demanding a new approach to conflict resolution. Somalia, Nigeria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, South Sudan and Syria are among countries presently experiencing turbulent intra-state conflicts. The hither-to existing conflict resolution bodies including the UN, AU, EU and ECOWAS, etc. which were established primarily to deal with inter-state conflicts appear to have over-lived their usefulness. The search for a more dynamic conflict resolution mechanism or new approaches capable, especially, of dealing with sub-national or intra-states conflicts is imperative. According to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program for instance, of the 31 wars in the world in 2005, all were armed conflicts fought within nations between communities divided by ethnicity, language, religion, and or geography. Nearly all military deployments, UN peacekeeping operations, and peace building missions in recent decades have taken place in settings of intra-state conflict (Cortright, 2008:5). These developments challenge the hitherto state-centric philosophy emphasizing on containment. A re-definition of security to encompass human security which is human-centred is a key to most of today’s deadly agitations and confrontations.

National security and human security dichotomy

Earlier conception of threat which focuses primarily on military threat of a sovereign state to another is much challenged by frequent insecurity emanating from socio-economic forces. In the 1994 Annual Report of the UN, entitled ‘Building Peace and Development’, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the then UN Secretary General indicated that the definition of security in the altered context of today’s world is no longer limited to questions of land and weapons but now encompasses economic well-being, environmental sustainability and the protection of human rights. The 2011 Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt turmoil popularly known as the Arab Spring was fundamentally rooted in unmet or unfulfilled socio-economic needs including employment and poverty as well as issues of marginalization, etc (Alcinda, 2011; Maggie, 2011). This demands a re-thinking or a new perspective of threats as opposed to classical view of threats construed crudely as military threats to national sovereignty. Effective maintenance of peace and security calls for a comprehensive institutional reforms that embrace democratic ethos of freedom of speech, good governance, rule of law, economic empowerment as well as environmental security.

Military-civilian dichotomy

Just as today’s wars are no more fought between nation-states or within geographically designated “war fronts”, so are the victims of today’s violent conflicts mainly not soldiers but mostly civilians. The use of civilians as human shield, as well as the large numbers of casualties of direct and indirect war demands that the approach to peace and security issues must be transformed. The advances in military technology in recent times have made wars themselves more deadly, especially for nearby civilians. Military deaths were roughly the same in World Wars I and II (about 17 million in each war), but civilian deaths in World War II (approximately 35 million) were about seven times greater than in World War I (Barash and Weber, 2009).  Cortright (2008) writes that the number of people dying in war in recent years has been extremely high. He asserted that more than 80 percent of the casualties in today’s conflicts are civilians, and the number of refugees and displaced persons has increased sharply.  We can think of the civilian death toll associated with the activities of the militant Islamist Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Tuareg rebels in Mali and the al-Shabab militant in Somalia and its extended atrocities in Kenya. We need a thorough understanding of the lethal nature of contemporary weapons and strategies adopted in waging conflicts, as well as productive means of resolving conflicts and managing refugee crisis without the recourse to violence.

Challenge of common sense

Contemporary developments challenge classical notion of conflict actors and call for a shift in conflict mapping or analysis. Wars are no longer fought on conventional basis as the enemy in most instances is unknown.  Global fight against terrorists is a point of reference. The attackers of the US on 9/11/2001 were purportedly styled students. This calls for a comprehensive understanding of peace and security issues and a new perspective of threats to security.

Besides, parties’ in contemporary destructive conflicts are no longer only limited to soldiers but involving people of diverse social, economic, religious and political backgrounds. The deadly attacks on US on 9th September 2001 as indicated earlier, was said to have caused by professed/styled students, with Osama Bill Laden, the wealthy man as the main architect. The arrest of Eric Amoateng, Member of Parliament (MP) from Ghana in US in 2005 for heroin, and the security boss of Kotoka International Airport (Ghana), Solomon Adelaquaye in US with Afghan heroin together with 2 Nigerians and a Columbian in May 2013, is a manifestation of today’s complex criminal network of operation. A new view of conflict and criminal actors is considered important. This demonstrates that the safety of individual state depends on the extent to which it collaborates and commits itself to international bilateral, multilateral and regional security and peace norms and designs. By implication, states have to ‘think beyond the box’ of classical myopic view of threats to peace and security.

Cost of peace and security

Today’s problems mostly overwhelm (over-tax) individual states demanding external assistance and cooperation. The concern of the international community about the 2011 Ivorian crisis was a food for thought. Terrorists activities around the globe, typhoon disasters, earthquakes, as well as the AIDS pandemic are a major concern to the international community as they threaten the stability of most nations especially, war-torn countries in Africa. The 2014 outbreak of Ebola disease  which  has claimed the lives of scores of people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in particular in West Africa, and witnessed overwhelming international support, calls for a closer collaboration beyond national boundaries. The need to develop new avenues of cooperation to reduce both natural and social hazards within and between states cannot be overemphasized. This demands a paradigm shift of classical approach to threats. 


This paper suggests that the hitherto classical peace and security paradigm pursued by states on the basis of Realist agenda (state-centric peace or inward looking peace), offers an important set of tools to understand peace and security frameworks for states. These insights are an important part of any discussion of peace but only a part. This paper therefore makes a case for ‘glocolized peace and security architecture’. The dramatic changes which we are witnessing in contemporary societies call for a critical look at issues pertaining to peace and security beyond the framework of realist paradigm. Fisher (2002) has pointed out that the world today continues to be besieged by a host of destructive and apparently intractable conflicts between groups, factions, and nations that induce incredible costs in human and material terms and sap the resources so badly needed for human development. In support of Fisher’s assertion, Kegley (2009: xvii) argues that, ‘the globe is undergoing a constant and rapid change. Only informed interpretations of world conditions and trend trajectories and cogent explanations of why they exist and how they are unfolding can provide the tools necessary for understanding the world and making it better’. Trans-border crimes notably drug and child trafficking; armed robbery and terrorists activities; natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and diseases (EBOLA and HIV/AIDS) which over-tax communities and nation-states resources necessitate external or global assistance; globalization of the world - diffusion of culture and technologies; quick means of transport and communication due to the advent of ICT which facilitate crime commission and means of criminal escape; and easy access to means of destruction as a result of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, calls for individuals and collective groups  participation as well as international cooperation among states in our quest for a meaningful and sustainable peace and security. Peace and security are complex social tasks and demand a multi-faceted approach. For a meaningful peace and security to be achieved, states have to think beyond classical peace and security paradigm construed in terms of military threat to national sovereignty. As noted by the WBPR (2002: 125), the internationalization of terrorism is an instance of how global threats have outpaced global policy. The  report   further  indicates  that  the  spread  of terrorists organizations across national boundaries have made national-level, counter-terrorist activity less effective. Approach to glocalized peace and security postulates institutional reforms and sectorial collaboration within states, as well as more commitment and cooperative attitude among states.


The authors hereby declare that no conflict of interest exists among them.


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