IRELAND SECURITY & DEFENCE - Part 4 - National Security Strategy Statement

Part 4-National Security Strategy Statement

In the post-Cold War era the scale of military threats was considered receded and the logic of balance of power as a necessary condition for peace was considered to be undermined. ‘This brought about a reappraisal in security studies’ (Hough 2008, 20). As a result, the term national security moved from purely a military perspective to other security definitions to include: political security, economic security, energy and natural resources security, homeland security, cyber security, human security, and environmental security. However, there are claims that these new definitions are merely a rebranding of domestic agendas to shift resources away from defence national security to other pet categories (Holmes 2015). However, whichever definition of National Security is taken a guide is provided by Nuechterlein (Drew, D. Snow, D 1988, 29). He advises breaking down national security interests into four levels of intensity to provide guidance to their priority. These being:

  • Survival Interest. Where the physical existence of the state is in jeopardy and is one in which the state would use military force to protect itself from attack. ‘If a state cannot survive, no other interest matters’;
  • Vital Interests. These are circumstances when serious harm to the nation can result unless strong measures, including the use of force, are employed to protect the interest’ The threat posed by the PIRA, loyalist, and Salafist Jihadi terrorists fall within this level. Attacks on a state’s critical national infrastructure (CNI) from a cyber-attack would nowadays also fall within this category of intensification;
  • Major Interests. Where the use of armed force is not deemed necessary to avoid adverse outcomes; and,
  • Peripheral Interests. Situations where the nation as a whole is not particularly affected by any given outcome.

Europe is bordered with deadly military conflicts, immigration into Europe from troubled zones is bringing conflicts into the European homelands, and, nowadays the increase in speed in which events reverberate from one side of the world to the other can have major repercussions for Ireland’s Vital Interests. Ireland’s national security is no longer protected by time and space, and ‘the idea that we must return to a glorious age in which nations are ruled by laws and liberalism is a fantasy, a fantasy that allows us to believe that we can return to it. It is a nostalgia for things that never were.’ (Friedman 2021).

Realists conclude that violent conflict is an inevitable feature of international politics (Hough 2008, 57) and the first two decades of the 21st Century had proven Realists correct. Since I first produced  this essay a year ago Russia invaded Ukraine and the war has reverberated around the world.

Globalists were of the opinion that by opening China to global trade it would result in China succumbing to western liberal influences and ‘would play by established rules’ (Davies 2020, 8). However, any understanding of Chinese culture would inform that China plays by its own set of uniquely Chinese rules (Clissold 2014, 67). For the Chinese Communist Party economic growth and prosperity are intrinsic to its legitimacy and indivisible from national security (Davies 2020, 25). China is advancing its global power as it seeks to replace the United States, while Russia is determined to challenge key American interests (Gertz 2021). The Chinese Communist Party to maintain its rule utilises its intelligence services at home and abroad, while the Russians utilises its intelligence services in its own unique way. These intelligence services are unhindered by normal Western accountability. Espionage conducted by human and cyber has risen to levels of professionalism with increased intensity and complexity; this will be the subject of Part 5.