ILLIBERAL SECURITY COMMUNITIES - A revised concept and the empirical example of ASEAN

Term Paper (Advanced seminar) 2004 75 Pages

Politics - International Politics - Topic: Peace and Conflict Studies, Security


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Concept’s Beginning and Why We Need a Concept of Illiberal Securities
2.1. The Deutschian Concept - Integration and Security Communities
2.2. The ill-fated marriage between Concept of Security Communities and the Liberal Democratic Peace Theorem

3. Pluralistic Security Communities Revisited
3.1. Precipitating Conditions for the Emergence of Pluralistic Security Community
3.2. After Cooperation: The Genesis of a Pluralistic Security Community
3.2.1. Structure: Power and Knowledge
3.2.2. Process: Institutions, Norms, and Social Learning
3.2.3. The Security Community’s Pillars: Trust and Collective Identity
3.3. How Do We Know a Security Community When We See One?

4. An Illiberal Security Community in Southeast Asia?
4.1. Prologue: How Southeast Asia became a Community Region
4.1.1. Before ASEAN: Two Stillbirths of Regional Cooperation
4.1.2. The Disparate Beginnings of ASEAN
4.2. ASEAN – A Security Community Building Institution?
4.3. The ASEAN Norms: Centrepiece of a collective Identity?
4.3.1. Behavioural Norms of ASEAN
4.3.2. Procedural Norms of ASEAN
4.4. ASEAN’s Collective (Security) Identity: 2 Mini-Case Studies
4.4.1. Case Study I: ASEAN and the Cambodia Conflict
a) The Conflict’s Background
b) ASEAN’s Reactions to the Vietnamese Norm Violations
4.4.2. Case Study II: ASEAN and the Mischief Reef Incident in the Context of the Spratly Dispute
a) The Conflict’s Background
b) ASEAN’s Reactions to Norm Violations in the course of the Spratly Dispute
4.4.3. Conclusion of the Case Studies

5. Conclusion

1. Introduction

The here to be presented idea that also a regions merely consisting of illiberal states might follow the path of peace via the building of a security community is all but uncontested. When I presented the concept of illiberal security communities for the first time[1], people felt deeply uncomfortable with it. There were two main reasons for the obvious disapproval. Either the theorem was refused because of its notion of community or due to its illiberal component.

The first group of opponents can be labelled as adherents of the (neo-) realist school. They reject the mere idea of inter-state communities ― a concept that goes far beyond self-interest driven (counter-) alliances which, for realists, represent the only possibility of international cooperation. This quite fundamental critique targets primarily the basic concept of security communities that was first developed by Karl W. Deutsch and his colleagues in 1957[2], and which served as ‘row material’ for the here presented, modified version. The Deutschian theorem of security communities challenges the realist paradigm in two respects. Firstly, it negates the axiomatic relationship between anarchy and war, and refuses moreover the inevitability of the war prone security dilemma, which conceptualises international relations as an inherently belligerent, vicious circle of arms races and power accumulation[3]. Secondly, by stressing the notion of community, the Deutschian analysis incorporates the by realists ignored ‘societal’ factors - such as loyalty, collective identity and the power of communication in creating trust - as being conductive to a stable peace among community members[4].

The second, more diverse group of critics could be roughly regrouped under the liberal tent. Irrespective of the metatheoretical tradition – whether rationalist or constructivist – and of the distinct theory they adhere[5], they share several basic assumptions, which, on the one hand, fully converge with the idea of security communities but which are on the other hand irreconcilable with the concept of illiberal security communities as it will be presented here. Accordingly, they accept the principal possibility that a group of states may turn into a security community. That is following Deutsch - when they become integrated to a point where they hold dependable expectations of peaceful change coupled with the development of a ‘we-feeling’, which render the use of force within this group even less likely.[6] However, having internalised the theorem of democratic peace[7], these scholars refuse the modified version, which claims that also groups of illiberal states can become a security community and therefore benefit from a stable regional peace. Yet, the mentioned scholars reserve this way to peace for democratic states of the industrialised west. Especially those, adhering to a rationalist variety of liberalism stress that what is (in their view) leading to a security community - above all economic interdependence and pluralistic domestic systems allowing their societies to become interdependent as well – is lacking in third world regions hosting mostly illiberal states. Amazingly, even constructivist liberals could not imagine that the same processes they see as responsible for the emergence of a democratic security community might also lead to illiberal counterparts. Following Adler’s argumentation, they put down that security communities do not develop because members share just any kind of values but because they exactly share liberal values. Thus, constructivist liberals refuse the mere idea of illiberal security communities as well.

Whereas the objections of these two camps were gapping as regards contents, both fully converged with a further point of critique which fundamentally questioned the here to be presented concept. The audience agreed in doubting the relevance of a however natured theorem of illiberal security communities with regard to both the theoretical and empirical aspect.

This brings me to the reason for which I bored the favourably disposed reader almost two pages with my critics without having revealed my own concept. It is for better disclose my puzzle and the relevance of the following approach as well as its empirical application on the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN). The purpose of this article is namely, to challenge the three above mentioned points of critique. I will proceed in the following way. At the first place, the article briefly lines out the ill-fated marriage between the democratic peace theorem and the concept of security communities. It will be argued that its predominantly liberal interpretation has deprived the latter of its intrinsic analytical value. At the second place, it will be tried to revise the concept of (democratic) security communities in order to expand its explanatory scope far beyond the inter-democratic relations. By drawing on recent constructivist approaches it will be developed an eclectic framework, which is also applicable to groups of merely illiberal states. It will mainly be argued that security communities - which are socially constructed by nature - emerge around shared values that ideally lead to a “we-feeling” and a collective identity. In opposition to liberal interpretations, I will set up the thesis that it is basically irrelevant of what normative content these values are of - as long as they match with the security community’s most important value and norm, respectively: non-use of force and pacific dispute settlement. In a last step, the article seeks to partially apply the before developed framework on the states of ASEAN. By arguing that at least the ASEAN founding members have turned into a security community I do not only challenge liberal assumptions but realists – which have hitherto clearly dominated the Asian studies – as well.

2. The Concept’s Beginning and Why We Need a Concept of Illiberal Securities

The concept of security community is not only an integration theory, but a theorem of regional peace. Thus, a further development of the security community framework is equivalent to isolate, define and – in the best case – to causally link variables prone to assure (regional) peace. The underlying question is: what does make security relations stable, and therefore, conductive to permanent peace?[8] I am not at all the first in raising this question. It is rather a fundamental puzzle of International Relations. However, against the backdrop that there has been an extended literature about security communities one could raise the legitimate question, whether revisiting the concept would be like reinventing the wheel. To be sure, it is not. Actually, the original, that is, the Deutschian notion of security communities was developed in the late 1950ies and got dusty in the academic drawers. As Adler and Barnett stated, it was often cited but never closer examined. Only after decades the theorem was rediscovered. Above all, the findings of what is called “democratic peace”[9] gave this concept a new tail wind. Since then, the concept of security communities has been predominantly used in the same breath with the theorem of democratic peace.[10] Unfortunately, this equitation deprived the concept of security communities of its own analytical value and constrained the concept’s scope of empirical application to the inter-democratic relations. This section is striving to firstly introduce the concept’s Deutschian origins. Then it seeks to briefly line out the reasons for which most scholars reserve the emergence of security communities for democratic states of west.

2.1. The Deutschian Concept - Integration and Security Communities

Deutsch’s work has to be seen as embedded in a wider research context. Deutsch was specifically concerned with the identification of the conditions under which, and the processes leading to the emergence of the stable and peaceful relationship among states of the North Atlantic World. Willing to explain the evolvement of cooperation between exactly these states, he developed a – somewhat linear appearing - theory of integration. At the end of a successful integration process stands a security community. In his view, the major objective of integration consists in the establishment of a stable peace order; hence, integration is seen as inseparable from security communities. The concept identifies four main objectives of inter-state integration :[11]

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

In addition, Deutsch et al presume strong background conditions determining whether the integration process will be successful[12]. Firstly, the potential groups’ units have to be of mutual relevance to each other. For Deutsch, the mutual relevance is quantifiable in terms of the relative volume transboundery transaction flows. Secondly, successful integration processes must be positive-sum-games in which benefits have to be distributed equably. Thirdly, the mutual responsiveness, e.g. via presence of relevant communication channels, is crucial for a successful integration process. Thirdly, Deutsch assumes as a last precondition the presence of a certain degree of collective identity, or at least loyalty in the persuasion of common interests.

Deutsch sees two different products of successful integration processes. Depending on the degree of merger and integration between the units in question there can be either amalgamated or pluralistic security communities. Amalgamated security communities have to meet a large set of conditions. Their most distinctive feature is that previously independent units merge formally into a single unit with a common governance structure[13]. However, in the following we are only concerned with pluralistic security communities (PSCs). They correspond merely to the minimal definition of security communities, which are in existence when a group of states, which retain their legal independence and sovereignty “has become integrated to point, where integration is defined as the attainment of a sense of community, accompanied by formal or informal institutions or practices, sufficiently strong and widespread to assure peaceful change among members of a group with ‘reasonable’ certainty over a ‘long period of time’. [14] Members of a security community hold thus “dependable expectations of peaceful change”[15] of relations within the group. [16] This clearly implies the absence of war and of significant organised preparations vis-à-vis any other member. Members do engage neither in military build-up, nor in arms races directed against another member within the community. However, the renouncement of the use of structural force as a means to resolve intraregional conflicts does not imply the absence of interstate disputes or conflicts of interest! It is about the “ability to manage conflicts within the group peacefully, rather than the absence of conflict per se, which distinguishes a security community from other types of security relationships”.[17] Following Deutsch, PSCs are more facilely to build and to maintain than their amalgamated counterparts. Nevertheless, he set three main conditions for their emergence .[18] Firstly, the core values of the potential members have to be compatible. Secondly, the concerned governments and other relevant actors[19] have to be able to react quickly, adequately and peacefully on the perceptions, needs and actions of their partners. Thirdly, there has to be mutual certitude of expectations and predictability, which encompasses the political, the security, and social as well the economic sector. Actually, the two last points stress mutual accountability and responsiveness, which, in turn are facilitated and provided by common – formal or informal – institutions.

The innovative moment of this concept consists in his eclectic approach. Whereas he doesn’t ignore material factors at all, he also takes ‘ideational’ factors into consideration. Common institutions, transaction flows, and above communication processes that take place within and are sources of common norms, values and shared identification, which in turn, brings the members of the PSC to a point, where war against each other is no longer an option to be considered. Deutsch sees communication as the cement of communities[20] and together with transactions as creating

“a matter […] of “we feeling”, trust, and mutual consideration; of partial identification in terms of self-images and interest; of mutually successful predictions of behaviour […] in short, a matter of a perpetual dynamic process of mutual attention, communication, perception of needs, and responsiveness in the process of decision making.”[21]

Even more fundamental is his community notion in international relations it self, which, as mentioned above, posed an early challenge to realism and its belief in the inevitability of war. While for realists changes in the international system - often violent in its nature - occur due to shifts in the distribution of power and therefore (material) capabilities, the charm of the Deutschian concept is however that - without denying materialist triggers – it claims by contrast the possibility of peaceful changes in world politics, which proceed not necessarily because of material factors, but take place within a strong normative environment. “[T]he idea of security community denotes the possibility of change being a fundamentally peaceful and sociological process, with its sources lying in the ‘perceptions and identifications’”, wherefore international relations “can be conceptualized as a process of social learning and community-formation”[22]. To sum up, Deutsch made – more or less explicitly – the effort to demonstrate the sociological and intersubjective processes that may underlay the emergence of cooperation among states.

However, there remain points of critique. Apart from the objection that the “concept of security communities never generated a robust research agenda”[23], one should also be careful to not consider Deutsch as more constructivist than he actually was. Although he mentioned variables as trust and social learning, it remained somewhat unclear as how independent these were considered. Moreover, Deutsch was preoccupied with measuring interdependence and quantifying transaction flows, whereas he “overlooked the social relations that are bound up with and generated by those transactions”[24]. He ignored thus, what constructivists would call today the ‘mutual constitutiveness’ between agents and structure. As Adler and Barnett put it, his model was inattentive to “the mixture of self-interest and self –image that motivates their [states, PB] behaviors, […] to the complex and causal way in which state power and practices, international organizations, transactions, and social learning processes can generate new forms of mutual identification and security relations”.[25]

In due consideration of ASEAN as empirical subject, a further point deserves scrutiny. Deutsch, seeking an explanation for the emergence of cooperation and stable peace among the developed states of the North Atlantic region, displayed strong Kantian dispositions. There is an obvious theoretical overlapping between his concept and (neo-) liberal theories of IR in general, and with the theorem of democratic peace in particular by assuming that democracy and (economic) interdependence are leading to peace, and to the emergence of PSCs, respectively. This brings us to next point of examination, that is, the reconsideration of the Deutschian theorem in the context of the Democratic Peace.

2.2. The ill-fated marriage between Concept of Security Communities and the Liberal Democratic Peace Theorem

Neither Deutsch, nor rationalist or constructivist oriented liberals, which re-discovered the concept of security communities, have ever taken into consideration that such an arrangement could also develop in the Third World. This can be put down to an empirical and a theoretical reason.

As Acharya points out, the developing world is rather a disappointing theatre for investigators looking for a group of states that have become integrated to a point that Deutsch would call them a security community[26]. As several studies state, the Third World was and is the arena of the majority of violent conflicts after 1945. Conversely, wars in the developed west have been rare. Additionally, there were no wars between the highly interdependent and institutionally well linked western democracies at all.

These empirical findings underpin the theorem of Democratic Peace, wherein the concept of security communities experienced its revival. Liberal scholars produced an enormous literature in explaining why democracies do not fight each other. While all liberals suppose that the domestic political system of democracies - in contrast to autocratic systems - possess distinct characteristics conductive to peaceful behaviour in foreign politics, rational liberals stress above all economic interdependence and joint membership in international organisations as having pacifying effects in inter-democratic relations. Constructivist liberals recently added that next to the mentioned features - all representing following Risse empirical indicators of what already Deutsch called a PSC[27] - three mutually reinforcing factors explain the “democratic peace in the contemporary security community of [the western, PB] major powers”.[28] These are (1) collective identity, (2) stable and interdependent interactions across societies creating strong social interests in each other’s well-being and (3) strong institutionalization of relationships creating social order and enduring norms among the members of the community. This view highlights thus the role of intersubjective links in the chain of causality from liberal democracy to peaceful interstate relations.[29] For them, the democratic peace “is not simply because of objective causality, which leads from objective characteristics of states into peaceful motivations or restraints against aggression, but because social imagination and intersubjective construction of reality”[30]. Surprisingly, constructivist liberals assume exactly liberal democratic values as a necessary condition of the emergence of such a normative, thus security community. Some scholars use explicitly the term democratic security community, which is striving to show, that only liberal democracies are able to build such an arrangement and therefore be prone of stable, regional peace.[31] As Adler pulled out: “Members of pluralistic security communities hold dependable expectations of peaceful change not merely because they share just any kind of values, but because they share l iberal democratic values”[32]

Among the well known counter-arguments against the Democratic Peace in general, which are sufficiently discussed elsewhere[33], two arguments suggest particularly that it is an ill-fated marriage between the security community and the democratic peace theorem. Firstly, the argumentation ‘there is peace among democracies because they build a security community’ and ‘security communities, which can only emerge among democracies create regional peace’ seems to be somewhat tautological. Taken in this sense, it reduces the concept of security communities to tool of description for another, namely the democratic peace theorem. This however, deprives the first of its intrinsic analytical value. Secondly, these liberal interpretations do not convincingly explain why, for the emergence of a PSC, exactly liberal-democratic values have to be shared. Does the normative content of collectively held values –the basis of the required group identity - really matter? Against the backdrop that democracies are not per se more pacific than other systems, this questions is of importance[34]. Empirical findings show that democracies, while reluctant to fight each other, have no scruples to fight other, that is, non-liberal states. Hence, the pacific behaviour is limited to democratic dyads. By using the dyadic approach however, one could find cases of illiberal dyad’s relations being similarly pacific. Probably, nor objective characteristics of democracies, nor the normative content of the shared values underlying a security community building process are that robust as postulated in explaining peaceful state behaviour.

Anyway, the liberal democratic interpretation of security communities prevailed until today. This renders the concept largely useless for the study of Third World states. From a liberal perspective, regions of the developing word such as Southeast Asia, which display merely illiberal states, little economic interdependence and transnational interconnectedness must be particularly inhostible for the emergence of PSCs.[35] Too rashly, scholars as well as western politicians adopting this view concluded that illiberal regions have no prospects of peace as long they do not turn into western-style democracies. Furthermore, these states are often perceived as threatening the international (or the western?) stability and peace because they are seen as naturally more aggressive. In this context the Democratic Peace argument became even a political imperative leading western politician to engage in the – sometimes belligerent – “democratisation” of illiberal states.[36]

By contrast, this article claims in the following that illiberal regions can as well turn into security communities. Drawing on recent constructivist approaches – but without ignoring material factors conductive to peace – it will be developed a somewhat eclectic approach to security communities. By freeing the concept from its strong normative Kantian or (neo-) liberal core, respectively,[37] this framework will regain its intrinsic analytical value, and its explanatory scope will be extended beyond the inter-democratic peace. Hence, that modified concept of PSCs will be able to shed some light on the hitherto mainly ignored peace among the merely illiberal states of Southeast Asia - an empirical playground where the (rational) mainstream IR theories have largely failed. One important argument will be that PSCs emerge around collectively held values, which ideally thicken to a collective identity. But in contrast to liberal constructivists it will argue that also values other than liberal-democratic can serve as such a PSC ‘kit’.

3. Pluralistic Security Communities Revisited

Karl W. Deutsch stated elsewhere that war – an unfortunate institution like incest, cannibalism, and slavery – is an artificial volcano, made by humans and thus removable by humans, too. War begins in the heads of individuals; hence the path towards peace can only be of cognitive and normative nature.[38] Adopting this view, security communities - understood as such a path towards regional peace - are here assumed to be socially constructed, thus imagined or cognitive community regions.[39] Roughly spoken, regions have turned into a security community

- when people or states, respectively, within this cognitive region come to acquire mutual responsiveness and predictability,
- when they have come to know each other as trustworthy ,[40]
- when they display an increased sense of we-ness , that is, a certain degree of a collective identity developed via shared norms and values,
- and when they above all renounce to war, from which follows that they settle their disputes otherwise, hence via peaceful means.

Accordingly, the building of a PSC is supposed to be largely a process of collective self-imagination and identity formation. In this respect, we can link the idea of security communities with two core assumptions of constructivist approaches to IR. Firstly, with the presumption that “key structures in the states system are intersubjective, rather than material” and secondly, that “state identities and interests are in important part constructed by these social structures, rather than given exogenously to the system by human nature or domestic politics”.[41] Simply put, group of states do no longer wage or even consider war against each other because they begun to perceive each other as ‘friends’, belonging to the same however natured normative community. Yet, PSCs do not fall from heaven. Therefore, the next section seeks to specify under which conditions and by which processes a PSC comes into being.[42]

3.1. Precipitating Conditions for the Emergence of Pluralistic Security Community

The obvious precondition for a PSC is that states have first to engage in regional cooperation. The appeal of this model lies in its initially ‘eclectic’ approach to the question why states begin at a certain juncture to cooperate. To make a long story short, it could be anything that leads states to “orient themselves in each other’s direction” with the desire to coordinate their relations.[43] Structural changes, the common perception of external threats or the perception of common interests, e.g. the need for regional action to manage economic, demographic or other challenges might as well be trigger mechanisms as the development of new interpretations of social reality.

This initial cooperation is not supposed to result out of an already given collective identity but to follow the state’s logic of expected consequences[44]. Accordingly, “there is no expectation that these initial encounters and acts of cooperation produce trust or mutual identification”[45] at this early stage. Nevertheless, they represent the necessary preconditions for the emergence of a PSC by providing various occasions for face-to-face interactions, dialogue and coordination processes. As mentioned above, the triggers of these encounters might be various. In addition, the motives for which states envisage regional cooperation with each other have not to be necessarily the same: “[c]ommon endpoints can have very disparate beginnings”.[46] To sum up, the triggering mechanisms that make PSCs to come off the ground can consist of both, material and normative elements.[47]

3.2. After Cooperation: The Genesis of a Pluralistic Security Community

Inter-state cooperation that follows ‘individual’ cost-benefit calculations can be easily observed in almost all world regions. However, only few of them turn into security communities. As mere ‘rational’ cooperation obviously does not suffice, the following sections seeks to identify structural and process categories, which facilitate the development of trust and collective identity, which are the most defining features of PSCs. Hence, when actors have become involved in a series of social interactions, which - in turn - have begun to transform the environment, in which they are embedded,[48] two questions have to come under scrutiny: How does regional cooperation achieve eigenvalue so that it would be carried forward even if those strategic-instrumental reasons (e.g. external threat) for which states might have engaged in that cooperation would cease to exist? Where and by which processes do trust and a collective identity develop?

3.2.1. Structure: Power and Knowledge

Before examining process related factors, which lead to the emergence of a PSC, structural variables conductive to the community building deserve examination.

The power argument – crossing theoretical borders – suggests that the presence of a or some powerful states might facilitate the emergence of PSC by building its core while being able to push forward, e.g. in terms of material incentives, and sometimes even coerce other ‘surrounding’ states to maintain a common stance. However, the power issue requires a careful examination. First of all, the notion of power should be differentiated into soft and hard power.[49] While hard power might be useful to enforce initial cooperation, it could be an obstacle rather than a trigger factor in terms of community building. In contrast to most other scholars, it is argued here that the PSC formation phase requires a distinct power management that excludes the presence of a coercive hegemon.[50] A grouping around a coercive hegemon is more likely to form an outside-directed alliance without the need of trust and a shared identity. The latter however, represent defining characteristics of a PSC, which is primarily inward-looking[51]. Hence, the creation of a PSC requires (potential coercive) hegemons to transform themselves into at least benevolent hegemons and that they finally substitute a high profile by a low profile in foreign policy vis-à-vis the other community members because (a) trust and collective identities are nothing that could be enforced, (b) coercive behaviour is incompatible with PSC’s fundamental norms of non-use and non-threat of force, and (c) formally unequal inter-actor power relations lead to unequal patterns of cooperation that are inconsistent with PSC cooperation patterns (cp 3.4.). By contrast, the change to a low profile by the stronger state(s) provides a climate in which a sense of we-ness among formally equal members can grow.

Provided self-restraint behaviour, major powers can use their power resources to exercise non-coercive leadership that may be very conductive to emergence of a PSC. Against this backdrop, we can assume that soft power plays a crucial role in the PSC construction. That is, belonging group of states can be attractive to others because of the image and the virtues that are attached to the ‘powerful core’. Indeed, in a non-conventional understanding, power encompasses furthermore the ability to determine authoritatively shared meanings that constitute the sense of we-ness and practices as well as it aptitude to set the conditions for access to the community.[52]

“[P]ower can be magnet; a community formed around a group of strong powers create s the expectation that weaker states that join the community will be able to enjoy the security and potentially the security and potentially other benefits that are associated with that community. Thus, those powerful [core, PB] states […] do not create security per se, rather because of the positive images of security or material progresses that are associated with powerful and successful states, security securities develop around them”[53]

Knowledge – defined as shared meanings, collective causal beliefs and understandings - constitutes the other structural trigger in the PSC genesis. It is treated here as a structural category, since knowledge, the control over knowledge and information is an important dimension of power[54]. The underlying idea is that the diffusion of new ideas and information can result in new patterns of behaviour and therefore represent an important determinant of international policy coordination. Thus, while acknowledging systemic and domestic constraints on state behaviour also knowledge, which helps to constitute and constrain state action is of importance in explaining international cooperation. With regard to the emergence of PSCs, we are especially concerned with ‘cognitive structures’, which facilitate practices that are “tied to the development of mutual trust and identity, and analytically tied to conflict resolution”.[55] In order to identify ideas and values, which might lead more likely to the emergence of a PSC than others, most authors assume[56] that liberal-democratic ideas and values have to be to be shared by the group. With respect to the question, whether the quality of ideas itself matters for the development of dependable expectations of peace - apart from the ‘mere’ fact that they are shared[57] - Adler states unambiguously:

“Members of pluralistic security communities hold dependable expectations of peaceful change not merely because they share any kind of values, but because they share liberal democratic values and allow their societies to become interdependent and linked by transnational economic and cultural relations”.[58]

Here, this – in a way ‘transatlantic-centric’ - conception of security communities is not shared in its absoluteness. Based on the assumption that security communities are socially constructed and that they rest on “shared practical knowledge of the peaceful resolution of conflicts”[59], it seems to be secondary whether the (normative) content and substance of the ideas nourishing the particular knowledge of war-renouncement is of liberal nature or not. What matters, is the ‘mere’ presence of what Risse calls a “common lifeworld”[60] and that intersubjective causal beliefs and meanings emerge, which in turn represent the social structure that provide states of a developing PSC with the basis and the (in the beginning diffuse) ‘prescription’ for appropriate behaviour that is consisting here in the settlement of conflicts without the means of war. Shared meanings – constituted e.g. by interaction and communication – engender collective identities (the sense of we-feeling in Deutschian terms), which might shape the persuasion of state interests or even interests themselves.[61] Meanwhile, whereas it is convincing that open liberal societies might trigger the community building process effectively, one should not elevate its presence to a precondition. With regard to illiberal regions it especially matters that political elites and epistemic communities develop an intersubjective knowledge and a shared identity at all, which will also have its effects on the peoples and might even lead to non-state (transnational) transaction increases and selective liberal practices[62]. But this should be seen rather as a result and as attendant circumstances, respectively of the PSC building process, than as a precondition. As Adler put it, shared cognitive structures provide meaning and direction to material structures and power resources and help thus to constitute and reproduce common interests.[63] Irrespective of the normative content basis, shared knowledge must be at least compatible with peaceful conflict resolutions. In this context, regions of illiberal states might just as well develop into a PSC via other kinds of shared meanings, such as a shared developmentalist ideology [64] or even out of shared racial aspirations.[65] To conclude, shared knowledge and the commonality of values per se as the basis of a common identity that might make it difficult to legitimise and justify aggression, rather than the objective content of these values. Hence, also regions with a high dose of authoritarian politics (and a low level of interdependence as starting basis) are able to build security communities, that is to say around other than liberal values and on the ground of other minded shared knowledge.


[1] In the course of the summer term 2004 I presented a draft of the theoretical part of this paper to the Colloquium of the Centre for Transatlantic Foreign and Security Policy Studies, Free University of Berlin.

[2] Even though the very first notion of security communities was introduced by Richard van Wagenen in the early 1950s, it is noncontentious that Karl W. Deutsch is the ‘father’ of this concept. Deutsch and his associates were the first in developing a comprehensive theoretical framework of it that was furthermore empirically applied, Deutsch: 1957. For a short overview see Adler/Barnett 1998: 6-9.

[3] Hertz 1950: 157.

[4] Deutsch 1968: 272f.

[5] The theoretical scope would range from the ‘classical’ liberalism and neoliberalism over neoliberal institutionalism on the one side to constructivist institutionalists and liberalists on the other side.

[6] Deutsch et al 1957: 5.

[7] FN democratic peace

[8] Väyrynen 2000.

[9] There is an expanded literature about democratic peace. It is noteworthy that this literature is internally varying. Hence, the variables stressed to explain the empirical findings of democratic peace differ considerably although almost all scholars can be labelled as liberals. For a good overview see Hasenclever in Schieder/Spindler 2003, exemplary works in this realm are Czempiel 1996, Russett/Oneal 2001 and Risse-Kappen 1995b.

[10] See Risse 1995, for instance.

[11] Cf. Deutsch 1968: 272.

[12] Cf. ibid: 273.

[13] Deutsch et al 1957: 6.

[14] Cp. Deutsch in Rosenau 1961: 98, Acharya: 16.

[15] Deutsch et al 1957: 5.

[16] Ibid: 5, emphasises added.

[17] Acharya 2001: 16.

[18] Deutsch 1968: 279.

[19] Apart from governmental actors, Deutsch stresses above all perceptions and behaviour of elites.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Deutsch et al 1957: 36.

[22] Acharya 1998: 200.

[23] Adler/Barnett 1998:8.

[24] Ibid: 9. For a critical reconsideration of the Deutschian notion of integration and security community see also Dosch 1997: 56f.

[25] Adler Barnett 1998: 9.

[26] Acharya 1998:

[27] Risse 2003: 5 [online].

[28] Ibid:

[29] Kivimäki 2001:5.

[30] Ibid: 6.

[31] Vasquez 1966: 288-289. See also Adler 1992.

[32] Adler 1992: 293.

[33] See once again the excellent overview provided by Hasenclever 2003.

[34] Authors as Ernst-Otto Czempiel for instance interpreted Russett’s findings that the random possibility of the absence of wars between democracies amounts to only 0.0000000000000000002% (1816-1980) by suggesting that democracies are not only among each other but naturally less aggressive than other regimes. On the one hand, one can easily doubt Czempiel’ interpretation by mentioning a large set of wars fought by democracies against non-democratic perceived regimes. On the other hand, in terms of the so-called Popper paradox, the low random possibility of inter-democratic wars does not prove that democracy is per se a necessary condition for a security community or peace. Cf. Russet 1996: 345 and Kivimäki: 7.

[35] Acharya 1998: 1999.

[36] Bill Clinton for instance pointed out that the democratisation of authoritarian regimes would “serve all of America’s interest – from promoting prosperity at home to checking global threats abroad” because “democracies rarely wage a war on one other. Clinton cited in Gowa 1999:3.

[37] For sure, the framework of security communities stresses exactly the importance of normative factors. But this does not mean that the concept itself needs to be normatively biased as it is until now in its liberal interpretation (“western-centric” bias).

[38] Deutsch 1973: 5.

[39] Cf. Adler 1997, Adler/Barnett 1998. Indeed, most scholars tended to ”define regions on the basis of geography because of the assumption that proximity generates common interests” and thus lead automatically to regional cooperation that might result in the formation of a PSC. But if this would be true, there would be much more cooperation among states of regions, which instead have been conflicting since considerable times (e.g. states of the Middle East).This argument thus does not explain why security communities remain merely the exception than the rule in world politics. Furthermore, there obviously exist regions and PSCs, respectively, which cannot be explained at all with geographic proximity (e.g. the transatlantic ‘region’). The sole fact that people argue emotionally about whether a certain states is ‘belonging’ to a region or not (e.g. Turkey to Europe) highlights that “regions are socially constructed and susceptible to redefinition”. Hence, it is not the geographic dimension per se but among all, the normative basis, which makes a region to a (community-) region and a security community. Ibid.: 33, on this point see also Mols 1996: 77.

[40] Adler 1997: 254, emphasises added.

[41] Wendt 1994: 385.

[42] Cf. for the following Adler 1997, Adler/Barnett 1998, Acharya 1998, Acharya 2001, Risse 2000, and Checkel 2001.

[43] Adler/Barnett 1998: 38.

[44] The logic of consequentialism assumes agents (states) as acting on the basis of their given (national) identities and seek to realise their (fixed) interests by strategic behaviour during and through the interaction process. Hence, by instrumental rationality, actors strive to opti- or maximise their preferences. Next to this, there are two other ideal types of logics of action. The logic of appropriateness comprehends the actor as rule follower and role player. That is, actor’s behaviour follows rules that associate particular identities to particular situations. Thus, states act after a normative rationality by trying to do the right thing (defined e.g. by international norms). Those logics of action imply that either actors know about their interests or about the situation and the applying norm. If they do not know, the logic of arguing comes in, where actors engage in truth-seeking and persuasion aiming to seek a consensus what the situation is about, which would be the right behaviour and what identities and interests, respectively, actors hold. Here, these different logics of action are understood as ideal types, which probably never exist in purity and – more important – are not mutually exclusive. Cp. March/Olson 1998: 309f, Risse 2000: 3ff, and Risse 2002: 898ff.

[45] Adler/Barnett 1998: 38.

[46] Ibid: 39.

[47] Cf. Acharya 2001: 35f. and Adler/Barnett 1998: 50-52.

[48] The latter: Ibid.

[49] On the issue of hard and soft power cf. Nye 2002.

[50] For the different types of hegemony cf. Kubbig 2001: 661-686.

[51] This means that irrespective of the presence or absence of an external threat, a PSC is primarily aiming to peacefully change the intramural relations whereas the alliance is functionally directed against the “enemy”. Thus, it seems to be plausible that when the enemy disappear, the ‘strategic’ alliance does so as well, unless it developed into a security community (as NATO did probably). But this metamorphosis doesn’t work when the hegemon retain its coercive high level profile. He would have to accept the others as formally equal and himself at least as a primus inter pares.

[52] Cp. Adler/Barnett 39.

[53] Ibid: 40.

[54] Haas 1992: 3.

[55] Adler/Barnett 1998: 40.

[56] As pointed out earlier, Deutsch was holding the same point of view. For more recent works see for example Risse-Kappen 1995: 31 or Vasquez - explicitly using the term ‘democratic security community’ - 1995: 288f. For ‘classical’ (neo-) liberal perspectives on the linkage between interdependence and peace in general see Keohane/Nye 1977 and Rosecrance 1986. For a non-realist critical review of the liberal argument see Haas 1987 or more currently Kivimäki 2001.

[57] Adler/Barnett 1998: 40.

[58] Adler 1992: 293.

[59] Adler 1997: 257.

[60] Risse 2000: 14.

[61] Cp. For instance Wendt 1994: 384-396 and Adler 1997: 250.

[62] The creation of regional free trade zones could be considered as such a ‘selective’ liberal practice.

[63] Cp. Adler op. cit. in note 50: 276.

[64] Adler/Barnett 1998: 41.

[65] Here, ‘racial’ is understood in a neutral way and seen in the context of the attempt made by Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia in 1963 to create a racially aligned regional organisation (MALPHILINDO). This project was not prone to be successful and it was substituted by the creation of ASEAN in 1967. Cp. Dosch 1997: 18f, 305.


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Title: ILLIBERAL SECURITY COMMUNITIES -  A revised concept and the empirical example of ASEAN