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Atlantic Future

The Future of the Atlantic Hemisphere – Frank Mattheis participates in dissemination event in Washington, DC

Atlantic Future

Participants of the Atlantic Future dissemination event at JHU

On 1 December 2015 the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University hosted a one-day event to disseminate the results of the research project ATLANTIC FUTURE among Washington, DC policy makers, academics and think tanks. After three years of collaborative research involving 13 partners from Europe, North America, Africa and Latin America, the project has produced a stock of knowledge on the connections and linkages across the Atlantic.

The panels of this event engaged with the particular characteristics that underpin the construction of an ‘Atlantic Hemisphere’ but also pointed out the junctures that can cause fragmentation. GovInn senior researcher Frank Mattheis presented results from the work package on interregionalism and regionalism, and participated in a panel discussion on evolving human security challenges in the Atlantic space.

The event was part of a series, including a dissemination event in November in Rio de Janeiro and the final event on 10 December in Brussels.

Kirsty Agnew

Security Governance

Caption

Traditional thinking in international relations and policy analysis has focused on national security as the prime (and, at times, sole) objective of foreign policy.

At the dawn of contemporary international relations’ theory, Hans Morgenthau already defined national security as the supreme goal of international politics, regardless of other principles or moral objectives.

In the past decades, such a focus on national security led to a generalized emphasis on conventional threats to national security such as military invasion (particularly during the Cold War) and, more recently, on terrorism, nuclear disarmament and the general risks associated with the availability of weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, these are all factors able to threaten the integrity of states, hence, their national security.

At least since the turn of the millennium (and especially after the military missions in Kosovo and Iraq), new voices have emerged arguing that not only is national security inappropriate to lead the behaviour of states in a globalized world, but also that foreign policies inspired by national security can easily exacerbate violations of human rights, individuals’ safety and personal well-being. Against this backdrop, the concept of human security has been proposed as a more compelling guiding principle for international relations.

Within this framework, issues such as poverty, famine, environmental degradation, migration, small weapons and human rights violations are some examples of what can undermine human security, even when they do not challenge national security. By giving centre stage to the safety of individuals, human security requires a conceptual shift from the notion of ‘threat’ to that of ‘vulnerability’. This area includes our work on new security approaches, multidimensional challenges (e.g. wildlife crime, human trafficking, etc.) and environmental threats to human development.

Current running projects: 

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John Kotsopoulos