in front of People and Custodian annual national conference in Sälen, there is reason to warn against tendencies to avdemokratiserad ”säkerhetisering”. We see today several examples of political attempts to classify different political issues as security threats in order to secure increased resources or increased political priority without democratic review and budgetary trade-offs.
It is both good and important to widen the concept of security. Climate change, digital påverkansoperationer and food security are examples of non-military security threats that need to be addressed.
that certain issues are considered to be so important to national security interests that they should be removed from the ordinary democratic processes and political trade-offs. Statsvetarna Ole Wæver, Barry Buzan and Jaap de Wilde already showed in the 1990s how some state actors were successful in providing some issues – often military – a status that gave them a disproportionate amount of resources. Such attempts to säkerhetisering, however, can in itself be a threat to democracy, and thus, paradoxically, constitute a potential security threat.
It would be welcome if the security policy debate also included the thoughts and sharp proposals on how we are to maintain an open democratic conversation as possible – even in the context of severe security threats.
Many politicians, experts and analysts tend to – not least in the People and Defence national conference in Sälen – be good to point to various security threats. It is not unreasonable in itself. But it is dangerous if and when this leads to attempts to put the issues ”over” democracy. For who is pointing at and protecting us against these avdemokratiserande forces? Who väktar – to make a nod to Plato and Juvenalis – the guardians?
There are several historical examples of this approach: In the ancient Rome was the senate in a time of war, elect one of the consuls to dictator, for a limited period of time could control as he wanted to without interference from representative bodies. And when Chile went from dictatorship to democracy in the beginning of the 1990s, there was a proviso: that the appropriations for the armed forces would amount to the sums that were not negotiable in the nascent democratic budgetary processes.
But there are also several current Swedish and international examples of säkerhetisering:
• Statements from Pär Holmgren, the Green party's top candidate for the european Parliament , that it could be necessary to abolish the democracy in order to solve the climate crisis. (This is despite some not unreasonable explanations from the Holmgren – doubly unfortunate because it has given klimatskeptiska högerdebattörer an opportunity to turn the focus from the important issue of climate change.)
• Trump's statement to declare a state of national emergency with the occasion of the migrants are on their way to the U.S. border from Central america – in order to free resources to the great wall against Mexico. In a corresponding manner, showing the statements from the Swedish civilization, Mattias Karlsson, Sweden, find themselves in an existential struggle for survival, the attempt to make immigration and multiculturalism to security threats – against the idea of a homogeneous and unified national cultural identity. This säkerhetisering of refugees has gone furthest in Orbán's Hungary, where the issue has lost all sense and balance.
• Högerkrav on Swedish nato membership , which would mean a substantial drop in the Swedish democratic influence over the size of the defence and the security policy choices. There are both pros and cons of Swedish nato membership. Russia's aggressive behaviour highlights the need of a good Swedish defense readiness, which is difficult for us to maintain the brand themselves. But a Swedish nato membership would also – in addition to the risk of increased sub-regional instability and to be drawn into Trump's or Erdogan's invention – lead to a requirement for sharply increased military spending, at the expense of school, health care, security systems, etc.
at the same time, there are plenty of examples of issues that do not have säkerhetiserats despite the fact that they contribute to widespread death, injury and ill health. The number of deaths in road accidents is many times more than those who die in terrorist attacks. Yet trafiksäkerhetsfrågorna (unlike the counter-terrorism) not säkerhetiserade in the sense that they are exempt from the usual budgetöverväganden. The same thing applies to smoking, industrifetter or sedentary, which, after all, constitutes a serious threat to the population of the earth. On the contrary, they are subject to an open and fair folkhälsopolitisk discussion that we would never dream of ”lifting away from the partisan wrangling”.
When president George W Bush launched the Iraq war and ”the War on Terror” tried a number of independent journalists ask a number of critical issues to the responsible politicians and military commanders. They were met not rarely, by the harsh comments to guard himself very carefully, so that they are not acting in a way that could do that they were guilty of supporting the enemy. So, in retrospect, probably most analysts agree that it would have been good with more critical issues before this nearly two decades long and protracted war escalated out of all control.
”Truth is war's first victim”, it's usually hot. But need it be so? It would be welcome if the security policy debate also included the thoughts and sharp proposals on how we are to maintain an open democratic conversation as possible – even in the context of severe security threats.
Democracy is difficult. The demands on politicians to have both the right and get the right. It is easy to experience frustration that others do not realize how important your own priorities are. Some frustreras to be resisted by the ”establishment” or ”elite”. Other than that the voters vote for politicians who run in many ways a malicious policy. For the environment. For the cohesion of a society. For international stability. For jobs and the economy. But on the basis of the like to exclude these issues from the democratic review is completely wrong. Even if it is about security threats. Or ”security threats”.
And who will decide if, how much and in which way these important efforts should be done if there is no democratic oversight or control? Is there any example from history where avdemokratisering not have led to the abuse of power, but carried out in a responsible, moderate and considerate way? Ultimately, it is difficult to see any other legitimate solution than that set out in our constitution: ”All public power in Sweden emanates from the people”. It also applies in the field of defence and security policy.