geändert / updated: 17/04/08


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(Seizure; 03-03; p.4)

The securitisation of politics?

Political scientists always focus on forms of power projection and their legitimisation. Different methods are applied to that end. Especially the so called Copenhagen school's way is rather helpful to explain the current differences in developments in the USA and at least Germany (cf. for the following: Buzan, B, Wæver, O and de Wilde, J: Security: a new framework for analysis. Boulder (Colorado) and London 1998).

The main achievement of this method is to differentiate between topics that are processed "politically" and topics that are processed "securitised"; such, it is about processes of communication in the field of security politics.

"Securitisation" therefore can be defined as a special process of communication:
• a topic is presented as an existential threat that allows to break agreed rules in regard to another actor in a security complex;
• a significant audience accepts the topic as existential threat and extraordinary measures to overcome it;
• thereby the topic is lifted out of the usual political process - characterised by rule-abiding, choices-allowing and argument-debating processing - and into the sphere of "security" (cf. ibid., p. 25f.).

An analysis of this kind thus does not that much examine realist's power balances but the formulation and acceptance of perceptions in the field of security politics (cf. ibid.).

Applying this to the processes of communication in Germany in respect to the Iraq war, one finds clearly that neither foreign nor German - if they ever intended to do so - politicians or media-makers succeeded in transforming the topic into a "security issue".

The contrary has to be feared in regard to the USA: the presidential war declaration as well as the pre-war statements of the Bush-supporters presented the topic as threat to national security that allows even the breaking of international agreements, treaties and a breech - according to the argumentation of respected specialists in international law - of the binding regulations of the United Nations Charta.
The activities of some media-makers were at least not in the way of the Bush-supporters, even if it must be stated that an analysis from a distance cannot but provide hints and no full-scale picture.
One may nevertheless hope that the Bush-supporters do no longer succeed in presenting political as security issues.

(end of article)

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