Negative-positive Security and the United States

  •  Mohammad Agus Yusoff    
  •  Fakhreddin Soltani    


The traditional approach to security is rooted in a strategy of balance of power among great powers and hence national security was based on situational interpretation of the concept among the great powers. Two negative and positive approaches have been used by states to interpret the concept of domestic security and national security. During the Cold War, the USA and the USSR applied negative approaches, and by generalizing the interpretation of their national interests to their spheres of influence, internationalized the concept. In other words, their security was not limited to national borders, and survival was defined in more vast manner. By the end of the Cold War, a positive approach was undertaken by the United States through emphasizing the democratic peace theory. The events of September 11th, 2001, showed that new forms of challenges such as terrorism have replaced traditional threats to security. To manage the crises sprung out of new challenges, they needed a different kind of approach. This article will explain the security approaches which were applied by the United States during three periods; the Cold War, post-Cold War, and after the events of September 11th.

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