TFR 58 – The New Challenges to International, National and Human Security Policy


The Westphalian order is in transition. Indeed, Carl Bildt suggests that the world may be at the outset of nothing less than a Reformation. Yet time has telescoped; we are likely to see the kinds of changes that took centuries from Martin Luther until the end of the Thirty Years War taking place across mere decades today. The pervasive sense of insecurity is real, as real as the need for new responses, new institutions, and new ideas.

Indeed, the evolution of this report itself reflects both the breadth and depth of contemporary security debates. The original question posed for this task force was the changing norms governing the legitimate use of force. That is a central question for national security experts and foreign policymakers more generally within the United States. Supporters of the Bush preemption doctrine already know how these norms should be revised; indeed, the 2002 Bush National Security Strategy could be seen as a preemptive strike on this very question. Europeans and Japanese are far more inclined to contemplate changing norms of the use of force for humanitarian protection purposes, if they countenance change at all.

But more fundamentally, each author found it very difficult to address the legitimate use of force without a wider examination of the threats we face to national and international security. That question, in turn, highlighted the extent to which the definition of security itself is up for grabs at a time of profound change in the international system. Indeed, all three essays grapple with this definition. How to integrate traditional understandings of state security-whereby the principal threat to a state's survival was posed by another state and the security of a state was largely synonymous with the security of its people-with an appreciation of the magnitude and importance of what Kazuo Ogura calls "global security issues"-terrorism, environmental degradation, international crime, infectious diseases and refugees? These issues cross borders with disdain for the divisions of national and international authority.

All three essays also accept the need for new approaches and new institutions, spending equal amounts of time on diagnosis and cure. And they recognize diverging emphases among the Trilateral countries precisely at a time when these countries need to pioneer new divisions of labor and possibilities for collaborative action. They also highlight the growing power of global publics to constrain as well as sanction international action

To help organize the many ideas and proposals put forward, it may be useful to think about five basic dichotomies. These are: state security versus human security; hard versus soft interventions; legality versus legitimacy; preemption versus prevention; and states versus non-state actors. These dichotomies recur, in various guises, in each author's analysis. They help identify important differences among the Trilateral countries and between the Trilateral countries and the rest of the world. And they provide a rough road-map to the obstacles and tensions that national, regional, and global debates about security challenges and the best ways to address them will have to address.

A key difference that emerges from these three essays merits separate attention, particularly for the Trilateral Commission. Carl Bildt's and Kazuo Ogura's essays reflect a security agenda that differs in important ways from the prevailing U.S. agenda. Much of my essay reflects an awareness of these differences and a corresponding effort to prescribe ways for the United States to realign itself with its major allies while still recognizing and pursuing its core interests. However, I also identify anti-Americanism as an "ism," like communism or fascism, that is gaining its own momentum as an ideology that radically oversimplifies a dichotomy between what America is presumed to be and what traditional culture, religion, and power structures are proclaimed to have been. This kind of anti-Americanism empowers populist demagogues in many societies and makes it increasingly difficult for governments that wish to work with the United States to do so. It is particularly dangerous in a world in which non-state actors can both complement and combat states.

Anti-Europeanism in the United States manifests some of the same characteristics. It is easily exploited by opportunistic politicians, creating an unhealthy culture of blame and externalization of domestic problems that can in turn fuel unilateralism and possibly a return to isolationism. A critical question for leaders of Trilateral nations will be to sort out and address the extent to which shifting public sentiment reflects this kind of manipulation versus what Carl Bildt refers to as the "drifting apart of the dominating agendas" of different parts of the world.

The world faces genuine threats that are global in magnitude and will require a coordinated global response. Different nations may, of course, assign different priorities to those threats. But true statecraft, of the type required to maintain and create order out of entropy, will require developing rules and institutions that mediate genuine differences while facilitating cooperation in the pursuit of genuine common interests. And true leadership in articulating and pursuing these common interests is likely to require the political courage necessary to stand up to popular stereotypes of nations and civilizations as well as race and religion.


Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
Carl Bildt, Chairman, Nordic Venture Network and Senior Advisor, IT Provider, Stockholm
Kazuo Ogura, President, The Japan Foundation, Tokyo

Table of Contents

Anne-Marie Slaughter
A North American Perspective - Old Rules, New Threats: Terrorism, Proliferation, and Anti-Americanism
Anne-Marie Slaughter
A European Viewpoint - Peace and War in the World After Westphalia: Reflections on the Challenges of a Changing International Order
Carl Bildt
A Pacific Asian Perspective - Coping with Threats to Human Security
Kazuo Ogura

  • Topics: Security
  • Region:  North America, Europe, Pacific Asia
  • Publisher:  The Trilateral Commission
  • Publication Date:  © 2004
  • ISBN:  0-930503-86-4
  • Pages:  66
  • Price:  $10 US plus shipping and handling
  • Source:  Brookings
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